FIA President Max Mosley is adamant that the two-year suspended ban meted out by the World Motor Sport Council to Renault over the 'Singapore-gate' scandal was 'the harshest [penalty] we can impose' – but others are not convinced.
A common school of thought in the Formula 1 paddock is that Renault escaped a hefty fine or, even worse, expulsion from the championship outright purely because the governing body knows it can ill-afford to scare off another manufacturer following the departure of Honda and BMW in the last ten months – and, by all accounts and given the loss of its title sponsor ING and likely loss of its lead driver Fernando Alonso too, the French car maker barely needs any excuse at all to get out.
Based upon the fact that Mosley had described Renault's transgression – in which the Enstone-based outfit's former managing director Flavio Briatore and executive director of engineering Pat Symonds instructed Nelsinho Piquet to deliberately crash out of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, in so doing prompting a safety car period that enabled team-mate Fernando Alonso to triumph in the top flight's inaugural night race from a distinctly disadvantaged grid position – as the most serious in F1 history, that the punishment was so comparatively mild has struck some observers as more than a touch disingenuous.
Moreover, the penalty comes less than two years after McLaren-Mercedes was fined a sporting record $100 million for having been found in possession of confidential Ferrari data in the infamous 2007 espionage controversy – a draconian ruling that many felt was more the result of a long-standing personal antipathy between Mosley and former McLaren team principal Ron Dennis than anything else. In the current case, Renault received no fine at all.
So here's your chance to have your say – did the punishment for the crime?
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