FIA decision not strong enough


The FIA has announced its decision on crashgate:

  • Renault has a 2 year ban, but suspended
  • Renault to pay costs of FIA investigation
  • Briatore banned for an unlimited timefrom all FIA involvements and drivers signed to his management will not have their superlicences renewed
  • Symonds banned for 5 years

The FIA have not quite made a strong enough decision here regarding Renault. The team must be extremely relieved that they have only got a 2 year suspended ban plus having to pay the costs of the investigation. However, this weak punishment does not send the right signals out to the other teams as is inconsistent with other decisions (e.g. McLaren in spygate) and will create doubt in audiences minds as to whether other cheating is going on. I think this will encourage other teams to push the envelope and bend rules and if they get caught, they only need to quickly get rid of a couple of ‘rogue’ employees and make a full apology.

The punishment I think should have been stronger. I can understand giving them a suspended ban, but I am shocked that a far more severe financial punishment was not given. McLaren were fined $100 million for a crime deemed by everyone as less damaging to the sport than crashgate and Renault get away with paying just investigation costs! They should have had a fine at least as large as McLaren and also possibly be stripped of their 2008 constructors points and so have to pay back their prize money. This would be a strong enough punishment for a terrible act of cheating that would hit Renault hard, but not cripple them but will also deter other teams from cheating.

I know Renault will say that it was only 3 employees of several hundred, but it was the boss, the technical head honcho and one of the drivers at fault. Renault, as employers, must take responsibility for this, as the rules state, and so should have got a stronger financial punishment.

The FIA have singled out Briatore more than Symonds as he continued to deny his role in the affair and their punishments reflect this and I think seem strict enough to deter others. Piquet Jr is a very lucky boy to have his immunity and most think it is unfair he has it. Briatore, I believe, will have to step down as Chairman of QPR as the English Football Association rules state that he can’t hold this position if disqualified by another sporting regulatory body. He will not be happy about that, but I’m sure he can comfort himself with his millions in the bank. However, as I wrote recently, why did he take the risk of sacking Piquet Jr?!

Alonso has been cleared of any involvement. People will still be suspicious of course, but no evidence was raised or found so his reputation will not be damaged. However, if he is involved or linked to anything else, everyone will bring this and the McLaren incident up very quickly.

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5 responses to “FIA decision not strong enough

  1. Jake,

    We shared a good natured exchange on JA’s blog when I suggested that the outcome would be orchestrated by Max for his and the FIA’s/WMSC’s own ends.

    One- nil I think.

    All the best.

    • Hi, I love good natured exchanges! Is that One-nil to me? 😉

      I think if the decision was orchestrated by Max’s and FIA/WMSC’s own needs then they would definitely have imposed a financial penalty to increase the FIA’s coffers. Giving a strong financial penalty is the one easy thing the FIA could do to help themselves and send a clear message to the teams and audiences that cheating will not be tolerated.

      I am being critical of the FIA for once, you should be happy! 🙂

      So maybe one-all?

      • Seriously, I find it all but impossible to accept that this wasn’t more about Max getting rid of Briatore than anything else.

        I wish the FIA/WMSC were seen as even handed, but it has now reached the stage that it matters not what they do, but how they are perceived, which of course is anything but even handed.

        Whoever takes over must see this as a priority to restore faith amongst the fans.

  2. Link to Max Mosley giving a weak explanation as to why no financial penalty was given: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8267173.stm

  3. Hi Jake, re. our last excahnge of views on JA’s site, there was no option for me to reply to, “….pretend I am Jenson Button’s best mate …..and I hear from him that Ross Brawn and Barrichello have been cheating….” Also I have been away for a few days. So, it’s a bit late, but this is what I would have replied to you, earlier this week.

    Firstly, in your analogy involving Button, you have omitted a very relevant fact i.e. even for the non-cynical, least suspicious among us, the sequence of events at Singapore 2008 looked like it was extrememly fortunate for Alonso!!!

    To anyone who is a little more suspicious/cynical, the timing of Piquet’s crash must have seemed dodgy, contrived, planned (choose an adjective). Your hypothetical scenario involving Button completely misses that point.

    Secondly, I don’t think we need a parallel story anyway, whether it involves Button or any other driver, because we have a real situation to discuss.

    Minor point perhaps, I haven’t referred to the FIA as “rubbish”, one of your other replies to me mentioned “rubbish” but did not specifically say that I accused them of being rubbish. I mention this just to clarify, and yes I know I’m being pedantic!!

    My issue with the FIA is still: –

    What did Whiting know after Brazil 2008?

    Why were the FIA/Mosley not more active in following up Piquet snr’s allegations at Brazil 2008? The strange circumstances of Singapore 2008 were there for all to see, this was not a vague rumour with little or no possibility of following it up eg Renault’s telemetry and radio conversations were available.

    After all, we are dealing here with race-fixing, potential implications for race/championship results and safety of marshals, other drivers, spectators in the worst instance. The FIA/Mosley told eveyone as long ago as Monza (I think) that they viewed this as far more serious, if true, than Stepney/McLaren etc in 2007.

    This is not a case of dodgy wings, floors, diffusers or fuel systems, it’s far more serious than that and should have been investigated.

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