Hill: Renault verdict 'a crying shame'

Former Formula 1 world champion Damon Hill has slammed the FIA's decision to give Renault a suspended ban, labelling the penalty a "crying shame for the sport"

The French outfit escaped a ban despite being found guilty of having fixed the result of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, something the governing body considered a breach of "unparalleled severity".

"However, having regard to the points in mitigation mentioned above and in particular the steps taken by Renault F1 to identify and address the failings within its team and condemn the actions of the individuals involved, the WMSC has decided to suspend Renault F1's disqualification until the end of the 2011 season," the FIA said in its verdict on Monday.

Hill feels Renault's penalty was too lenient, but he admitted he was expecting it to be so.

"I'm not surprised they've let Renault off," Hill was quoted as saying by the Times newspaper.

"It's a crying shame for the sport."

He added: "You have to put this in the context of inconsistencies in the way in which the FIA has treated breaches of the regulations over the years and, knowing what we know, we cannot dissociate this from the power play going on behind the scenes for control of Formula 1.

"Formula 1 has to ask itself, is it just a very expensive form of entertainment or a proper sport? There is a whole book on what's wrong with Formula 1. It's called Bernie's Game and the history of this episode is typical."

FIA president Max Mosley said the penalty was fair, claiming it was the harshest the FIA can impose.

"I think it's the right decision," Mosley said. "I think the blame has been placed where the blame should be placed. The penalty that we've imposed is the harshest one we can impose, which is disqualification, complete exclusion from the sport.

"The penalty for Renault is disqualification but suspended for two years, so what that means is that provided they don't do something silly in the next two years, they don't have any problems.

"However, because Renault have demonstrated that they had absolutely no moral responsibility for what took place it would be wrong in the circumstances to impose an immediate penalty."

Former Renault team boss Flavio Briatore, however, received the hardest hit after he was banned from F1 for life.

Mosley believes the FIA was left with no other choice.

"The penalty for Briatore is that he can no longer be associated with the team, he can no longer be associated with the series, he can no longer come to the paddock at any FIA championship event and he can no longer manage drivers in Formula 1," said Mosley.

"It's sad to see a career end like that, but what else could we do?"

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