F1 »

Briatore thanked Piquet for crashing 'as a joke'

The full transcript of the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) hearing into the Renault 'Singapore-gate' race-fixing scandal has revealed that Flavio Briatore confessed under questioning that he might have discretely said thank you to Nelsinho Piquet for crashing during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix – 'as a joke maybe'.

Having already stepped down from his role as managing director of Renault F1 in disgrace in the wake of the allegations made by Piquet – who was sacked by Briatore earlier this summer, prompting a bitter war of words between the pair in the full glare of the global media – the flamboyant Italian was banned by the WMSC from any involvement in motorsport at all for an indefinite period, including driver management.

That has led to the 59-year-old threatening to take legal action against the FIA for loss of reputation as he continues to protest his innocence [see separate story – click here], but following the materialisation of a fourth member of the team aware of the conspiracy – dubbed 'Witness X', and a figure whose identity is known only by FIA President Max Mosley and a few key legal advisors [see separate story – click here], the WMSC professed itself convinced of Briatore's guilt in the matter.

According to the transcript, when interrogated by stewards over the weekend of the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps late last month, 'he insisted that as far as he was aware, the crash had not been deliberate and had not been part of a plan; he accepted that a meeting took place on the Sunday of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix in his office between himself, Mr. Symonds and Mr. Piquet Jnr; he denied that there had been any discussion at that meeting of a deliberate crash; [and] he denied any knowledge of the short follow-up meeting at which Mr. Symonds was said to have instructed Mr. Piquet Jnr to crash at Turn 17 on Lap 14.'

He told the stewards: “I never talk with Nelsinho, I never talk about to crashing the car, he's never coming to me tell me 'Flavio, Jesus Christ, I crash the car, you won the race, can you renew my contract?' You know if somebody do you a favour like that I just you renew the contract.”

The transcript adds that Briatore's explanation of the pre-race meeting was to 'encourage Mr. Piquet Jnr to focus on the race instead of his recent contract negotiations', and that the QPR co-owner had been adamant 'that he was not involved in deciding race strategy either in general or at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix'.

Perhaps most interestingly of all, however, is the revelation that Briatore 'initially denied having discretely said “thank you” to Mr. Piquet Jnr after the race, though then suggested that he might have said it “as a joke maybe”'.

Last week, it emerged that Briatore's first reaction to Piquet's accident – in which the Brazilian fortunately escaped injury – had been: “F***ing hell...my every f***ing disgrace, f***ing, he's not a driver.”

To read the FIA WMSC transcript in full, click here

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Flavio Briatore (ITA) Renault Team Principal, Australian F1 Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, 27-29th, March, 2009
John Watson driving the McLaren MP4B at the 1982 Caesars Palace Grand Prix, Las Vegas
Guy Moll at the 1934 Grand Prix Automobile de Montreux   [pic credit:Agence de presse Meurisse/Bibliothèque nationale de France]
2014 FIA European F3 champion Esteban Ocon is to test with Lotus F1
12.10.2014- Race, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
12.10.2014- Race, the start
12.10.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
12.10.2014- Vitaly Mutko (RUS) Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation
12.10.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
12.10.2014- Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 in the press conference after the race
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 celebrates Manufactor title of Mercedes with the team
12.10.2014- Race, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E22
12.10.2014- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
12.10.2014-  Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10 with a fan
12.10.2014- Fabiana Flosi (BRA)
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
12.10.2014- Max Chilton (GBR), Marussia F1 Team MR03 and all the Marussia F1 Team show a panel for Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03

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.


September 23, 2009 4:51 PM

in fact, it would be a quite understandable joke, and probably would be said by ANY team manager to a driver who had caused a situation where their team leader was in a position to benefit greatly

whatever - Unregistered

September 23, 2009 10:07 PM

Briatore for FIA president. Just the man for the job. Unemployed and full of sh.ite. Talks like a bumbling fool and knows nothing about F1. Should do well then.

© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

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