Alonso unaware of alleged Renault plan
|By Jonathan Noble
||Thursday, September 10th 2009, 10:53 GMT
Fernando Alonso knew nothing of the alleged plan for Nelson Piquet to crash deliberately at last year's Singapore Grand Prix in a bid to help him win the race, AUTOSPORT has learned.
While the focus of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council hearing later this month now appears to revolve around what took place in a pre-race meeting between Piquet, Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds, it has emerged that Alonso was not involved in any of the tactics.
AUTOSPORT understands that Alonso was interviewed at the Belgian Grand Prix as part of the FIA investigation into exactly what took place in Singapore last year.
Sources have revealed that he told the stewards, plus representatives of the Quest agency and lawyers Sidley Austin LLP, that he was unaware that Piquet planned to crash deliberately early in the race.
It is understood that Alonso told the investigators that he had accepted his strategy to stop so early in the race simply because he wanted an 'aggressive' approach to the event.
A report submitted ahead of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council hearing into the matter, which takes place in Paris on September 21, confirms that Alonso "knew nothing of the alleged plan to cause a deliberate crash."
Sources have also revealed that race engineers at Renault were also unaware of any plan for Piquet to crash - with some of them having also been interviewed in Belgium.
It is understood that one engineer even questioned Piquet after the Singapore race about exactly what happened when he spun into the wall on lap 14 of the race. The Brazilian replied that he had simply lost control of the car.
There was also some debate on the pit wall during the race when Alonso was brought into the pits on lap 12 of the race - which was earlier than his fuel load would have allowed him to go.
Radio transcripts of the race, which have been obtained by the FIA, show that director of engineering Symonds did not share the concerns of fellow team members about making such an early stop – telling the team: "No, no, it's going to be alright."
Piquet claims that in the pre-race meeting in Singapore he was asked to crash deliberately in the race to help Alonso win, while Symonds and Briatore are both adamant that the idea came from the Brazilian driver himself.
Renault has said it will issue no comment about the matter prior to the FIA hearing later this month.