Regardless of your feelings of the rights and wrongs of the penalties applied to Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds, it was difficult not to be moved by the quiet, dignified resolve of those that stepped up to the mark in the aftermath.
Bob Bell, the softly spoken, good-humoured technical director and now new team principal, sat in the unfamiliar pitlane perch and wore a rueful smile as Romain Grosjean did a near carbon-copy in first practice of the infamous Turn 17 crash of Nelson Piquet.
In Singapore, we'd watched uncomfortably as the team removed the ING livery from the cars, surely a humiliating experience. As you would expect, the blokes in the team just hunkered down and did what they've always done, put one foot in front of the other and react to the demands typical of any grand prix weekend. Fernando Alonso's podium finish was testimony not only to his own skills but also the slick operation of this most battle-hardened of teams.
It's a team that's a little in limbo at the moment in terms of its future direction, following the catastrophic collapse of a management structure that had been in place since well before the days it was owned by Renault.
It's ironic that the almost total autonomy granted to the team by the parent company should have been the thing that caused the damage, for back in Renault's previous incarnation as an F1 team in the 1980s, it was its corporate ways that denied it ultimate success.
It came closest in '83, when Alain Prost had led for most of the season but was pipped at the post by the exotically-fuelled Brabham-BMW of Nelson Piquet. The Renault preparations for that final race summarised everything that was wrong about them; they had ignored Prost's impassioned plea to respond to the recent speed of the Brabham with technical development, they'd invited a bus-load of French journalists to Kyalami to help the team celebrate the assumed championship victory. The mechanics could barely get their work done, surrounded as they were by corporate guests. Everywhere Prost looked all he could see was blind, inappropriate, stupid confidence. Alone among the team, he knew he was going to lose.
In the next garage along was Brabham; plenty of room for Herbie Blash, Charlie Whiting and crew to move there, no guests, no media. Gordon Murray had The Clash playing at full volume, the crew were in T-shirts and shorts. Clash wasn't just the name of the band, it was of that of the cultures between the two teams: corporate, respectable, buttoned-down, big-company inflexibility versus chancy, improvisational, adaptable racing unit. Big and stupid versus small and smart.
So when Renault returned as a constructor by buying out the free-spirited Benetton team in the early part of this decade, and enlisted the services of the team's former chief Flavio Briatore to run it on their behalf purely as a racing team, it was possibly as a reaction to the sour experience of the '80s. While it did yield two world championships it has ultimately proved an intrinsic part of Renault's current corporate embarrassment. It's ironic that a Piquet burst both bubbles.
Finally, I have this one nagging thought about 'crashgate'. Renault was rightly penalised for subverting the course of last year's race. But thinking back to '06, when the team was in the midst of a world championship fight, there was mid-season a new interpretation made by the governing body concerning mass dampers, a feature thought up by the team, given the all-clear and around which they had configured their car.
Its sudden ban totally screwed the competitiveness of the car on grounds that still make no sense - but which certainly had the effect of making the championship fight a closer one than it would have been. To any objective analysis, that looked like something that could have subverted the course of a championship. 'Don't do as I do, do as I say,' as the phrase goes...
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