Formula One's teams' organisation, FOTA, has criticised the disclosure of information relating to the alleged fixing of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, claiming that it may prejudice the outcome of any investigation.
Rumours that the result of the race, F1's inaugural night event, might have been rigged first began to emerge in the wake of the latest round of the 2009 series, in Belgium, leading to the FIA announcing that it would be launching an official investigation. In the last 24 hours, however, a statement attributed former Renault driver Nelson Piquet Jr - and leaked by an anonymous source - has given the matter increased seriousness, the Brazilian claiming that he was told to crash around lap 14-14 of the Singapore race in order to facilitate a potential victory for team-mate Fernando Alonso.
Renault F1, and managing director Flavio Briatore, have since issued a riposte confirming that they would be pursuing legal action against Piquet and his three-time world champion father, claiming that the pair attempted to blackmail team management into keeping Jr on board for the remainder of the 2009 season. Piquet was replaced by Romain Grosjean from the European GP in Valencia.
FOTA, meanwhile, has seen fit to criticise the leaking of information about the matter, not only because of the implications it may have for those directly involved, but also for the wider perception of the sport itself.
"FOTA today express concern at the leakage of information, which may or may not be relevant to the FIA current enquiry into the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix," a brief statement issued at Monza read, "All parties to the dispute should have the right to a fair hearing carried out in private and not in the public arena, which is producing adverse publicity damaging to the corporate image and credibility of Formula One.
"FOTA believes that differences within the sport should be handled in a professional manner and condemns the habit of intentionally releasing confidential documents to
influence public opinion. Confidential documents should remain under the control of the competent authority."