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Hill critical of latest scandal to rock F1

Damon Hill says Formula 1 has 'a lot of soul searching to do' if it is to survive having its reputation tarnished yet again by the latest scandal to rock the sport.

Renault's race-fixing allegations, increasing dubbed as 'Crashgate', is the latest negative association to take its toll on Formula 1 in recent times, following on from the McLaren 'spygate' affair, Max Mosely's private life and the imminent threat of a breakaway series.

Each controversy has done its bit to harm the sport's reputation in some way, although many are arguing Renault's involvement in asking Nelson Piquet Jr to crash in order to help team-mate Fernando Alonso win the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, has been the most scandalous.

With this in mind, British Racing Drivers' Club president and 1996 F1 World Champion Hill admits the sport needs to sort a lot of the 'issues' it is currently riddled with.

"It's not a very good episode," Hill told BBC Radio 4. "There are clearly a lot of issues, and have been in the past, and it has a lot of soul searching to do. It's a huge sport, there's a huge amount of interest, and sometimes controversies actually add to the interest. But you want it to be for the right reasons.

"I'm concerned the sport is going to suffer as a genuine challenge, which is what I always felt it should be and would like it to be, of skill and competitiveness."

With Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds having already resigned for their part in the case, Renault go up before the World Motor Sport Council on 21st September (Monday) to discover its fate.

Hill goes on to admit that, in a career spanning eight seasons, he has never heard of a driver being asked to crash deliberately, adding such an action can see you 'entering into the realms of the unknown'.

"That is definitely something that was not considered," said Hill when asked about the safety implications of their actions. "If it is what's happened, and we're assuming Piquet's allegations are correct, it was probably not taken on board as seriously as it should have been.




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PhilW

September 18, 2009 7:08 PM

Firstly, Damon Hill was World Drivers' Champion and is currently the president of the British Racing Drivers' Club, which puts him in a pretty strong position to comment on the state of F1: a damn sight more so than any of us. And secondly, he wasn't issuing statement, he was being interviewed by the national broadcaster who clearly recognise his experience and status. Perhaps they couldn't remember where they'd written your phone number so couldn't call you for the interview.



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