Whistle-blower key to Renault case
|By Jonathan Noble||Wednesday, September 23rd 2009, 08:56 GMT|
An unidentified whistle-blower within the Renault Formula 1 team was key for providing the evidence that revealed there had been a conspiracy for Nelson Piquet to deliberately crash in last year's Singapore Grand Prix.
Renault's initial investigations that took place around the time of this year's Belgian Grand Prix led it to believe that there were only minor pieces of evidence to suggest the matter was even worth investigating.
However, during interviews that took place with team members, an individual revealed the details of the case.
He stated that Piquet had approached Symonds after qualifying to suggest the idea of a deliberate crash, and that the idea had been worked upon once Symonds mentioned it to Briatore.
The World Motor Sport Council's findings stated: "This version of events was put to Pat Symonds and Flavio Briatore. Mr Symonds did not deny the events. Mr Briatore consistently denied any involvement and did not recall the alleged discussion."
Renault admitted to the FIA that in light of the whistle-blower's evidence it made the decision not to dispute the charges and accept that there had been a conspiracy.
The findings of the WMSC hearing state: "The evidence (gathered by Renault F1 and the FIA) supports the assertion that the whistle-blower is one of the many people employed by Renault F1 (over 700 people) who had nothing to do with the conspiracy... the whistle-blower's actions demonstrate that this conspiracy did not go to the heart of the team, but was restricted to the actions of 2 or 3 people."
Renault stated that it would not identify the whistle-blower because it did not want the individual to "become the subject of press attention."
The FIA requested, however, that it be able to interview the whistle-blower to gather evidence ahead of Monday's hearing.
Interestingly, Piquet stated in a letter from his lawyers to the FIA that he did not propose the crash plan, and instead was first aware of it on Sunday morning when he was summoned to a meeting with Symonds and Briatore.