F1 »

Coulthard: Briatore and Symonds will be back

Whatever the conclusion of the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) on the salacious 'Singapore-gate' scandal currently engulfing Formula 1, the two men arguably at its centre – Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds – will find a way back into the top flight one day, reasons 13-time grand prix-winner David Coulthard.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Briatore and Symonds had sensationally left their respective positions of managing director and executive director of engineering at Renault F1 [see separate story – click here], with the former claiming he did so 'to save the team'.

That has prompted fevered speculation inside the paddock that there must be some truth behind Nelsinho Piquet's assertion that he was instructed by his two bosses to deliberately crash out of last year's Singapore Grand Prix, thereby enabling team-mate Fernando Alonso to triumph in the sport's inaugural night race – and likely also prevented Renault from pulling the plug on its F1 project at season's end.

Whilst the WMSC is due to rule on the Enstone-based outfit's fate on Monday (21 September) – with the potential ramifications should the team be found guilty of the charge of 'race-fixing' stretching as far as expulsion from the world championship altogether – both Briatore and Symonds are gone. Coulthard contends that they may not be absent for long.

“I think it's been well-documented,” the Scot told Crash.net Radio of the latest controversy to rock the top flight. “Singapore last year was the catalyst; Nelson Piquet Jnr obviously left the team and then decided to share some information with the FIA. They did an enquiry, and the end of that enquiry is that before the hearing on Monday where Renault have to step forward and explain themselves, both Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds have left the team.

“You have to presume that that's because there are some grey areas or something that wasn't discussed with Renault beforehand. We'll find out in time. I think they will both have their opportunity to say something publicly on it if they want to, for sure the FIA will enlighten us as to what happened and there will be some information that comes out of the event on Monday. People don't leave organisations unless there's a reason – either they did act inappropriately or they just felt it was for the greater good.

“Pat I'm sure will end up somewhere else, because he's got a very long and successful history in motorsport. Flavio I'm sure will have a finger in some pie in Formula 1 – he's been a great entrepreneur and had a great deal of success, and he's never claimed to be passionate about the sport individually. It was more about the business side, and if he's made an error of judgement then obviously he's taken the penalty for that, but I think we have to keep in perspective that these guys are all under a great deal of pressure – and sometimes that makes them make bad decisions.”

Other 'victims' of the fall-out look set to include Piquet – who Coulthard's BBC F1 colleague Martin Brundle has described as being henceforth 'unemployable' [see separate story – click here] – and Renault itself, which has suffered considerable losses in terms of car sales since the onset of the global credit crunch last year and whose CEO is known not to be a particular motor racing aficionado. If the French manufacturer was ready to leave before, so goes the school of thought, then nothing will be able to convince it to stay now.

“I can't possibly know,” the Twynholm native stated of Renault's future. “I hope [they don't leave], but we just need to be patient and see what happens. It would be very bad for the sport if Renault pulled out – they've been a great supporter of Formula 1 and motorsport and have used it to good effect for the promotion of their vehicles, but these are difficult times and, if they are on the edge, something like that could push them over. Time will tell whether [Piquet] pops up at another team or not. You can't write the final chapter in the book; we just have to wait and see.”

by Russell Atkins

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
David Coulthard (GBR) Reb Bull RB4, Hungarian F1, Hungaroring, 1st-3rd, August, 2008
22.06.2017 - Press conference, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
22.06.2017 - Press conference, Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
22.06.2017 - Press conference, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
22.06.2017 - Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB13
22.06.2017 - Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32
22.06.2017 - Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB13
22.06.2017 - Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB13
22.06.2017 - Renault Sport F1 Team RS17, detail
22.06.2017 - Red Bull Racing RB13, detail
22.06.2017 - Red Bull Racing RB13, detail
22.06.2017 - Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
11.06.2017- Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB13
11.06.2017- Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB13
11.06.2017- Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB13
11.06.2017- Podium Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB13
11.06.2017- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
11.06.2017- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

autogyro - Unregistered

September 19, 2009 4:24 PM

Ever the optimist. There is no good in playing down this issue David. You may think to do so helps the sport, it does not. Ordering a crash is a criminal act where ever such an act is undertaken. Briatore should be in prison if guilty.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.