Briatore: Renault did nothing wrong
|By Jonathan Noble
||Friday, September 11th 2009, 16:00 GMT
Renault boss Flavio Briatore has insisted that his team has done nothing wrong amid the Singapore Grand Prix race-fix controversy - after boldly predicting the truth of the matter will come out in public soon.
The flamboyant Italian broke his silence about the accusations made against him at Monza on Friday, as he told a select group of media that his decision to take criminal action against the Piquets was proof about how sure he was his team is innocent of the claims made by Nelson Piquet.
"The fact that we put a plan for blackmail [action] against the two Piquets, means I think we are very confident that the truth will come out," said Briatore.
Renault is to face the FIA's World Motor Sport Council in Paris on September 21 to answer charges that it deliberately caused a crash in last year's Singapore Grand Prix to help Fernando Alonso win.
Speaking about the looming WMSC action, Briatore said: "You know what? Whatever happens, if someone goes against the rules, they go against the rules. If I tell you to go rob a bank – afterwards, you decide whether to rob the bank or not.
"I don't feel I have any responsibility, and we don't feel we have done absolutely anything [wrong]. In the case of Piquet we go to the World Council. But the fact already that we have put a criminal plan to Piquet is because we have enough confidence to be successful - the team and myself."
The matter appears to revolve around an alleged pre-race meeting that took place in Briatore's office hours before that race – where Piquet claims that he was asked to crash early in the race to bring out a safety car.
Briatore declined to comment on the specifics of the events that took place that day, but said he had never known of any occasion where a driver had been asked to crash on purpose to help a team.
"No. Never. Fernando only won the race because Massa had a problem, Kubica had a problem," he said. "There were six or seven problems.
"I think Barrichello stopped in the same place as Piquet. What is possible on lap 14, with 40 laps to go, to determine somebody winning the race? There was another pitstop, another safety car. On lap 14, how is it possible to know what is going to happen?"
Briatore also hit out at the way that details of the evidence against Renault had been leaked to the media – something which he thinks has been damaging for his team and the sport. The FIA has already begun an investigation into identifying who distributed the confidential information.
"The bad press I think was completely unfair - some leaks in the press to accuse somebody before they had the possibility to defend themselves," he said.
"I think this is really not honest, this is really damaging and this really takes the sport in dispute [sic]. We probably don't know where it's coming from, but this takes the sport in dispute [sic] because at the moment it is the accusation about Renault with no possibility for us to defend ourselves, because we respect our word to the FIA.
"We don't want to do any comment and all the comment is around you guys, seeing what is leaked in the press. I don't want to put any comment. I just put, this is making damage for Renault and puts the image of Formula 1 and the sport in dispute.
"All these things, if there is an allegation then you go to the World Council and you discuss in the World Council. You don't need to discuss in front of the public opinion and put 500 people working for the team in this kind of danger."
Briatore also offered some words on how he felt about Piquet, as he said that all he had wanted was for the Brazilian to deliver performance when he raced for the team.
"I feel Nelsinho is a very spoiled guy," he said. "Every time he is racing it is because he owns the team as well. He is very fragile. We tried everything. What you want is only performance."