Formula One: Renault on probation - Briatore and Symonds banned

Andrew Hopkins

In recent weeks, there's been a lot of fuss about an accident that happened in F1 racing. Last season in Singapore, Nelson Piquet Jr deliberately crashed into a wall in order to bring out the safety car and help team-mate Fernando Alonso. The accident had been planned right from the start. Renault admitted that Flavio Briatore, Pat Symonds and Nelson Piquet Jr had hatched a plan together to manipulate the outcome of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix and help team-mate Fernando Alonso by deliberately staging an accident. No other team members were complicit in the affair.

On Monday, the sport's governing body, the FIA, found Renault guilty in the Crashgate Scandal. However, the penalty of exclusion from the Formula One World Championship was reduced to probation. The rule breaches were so serious that disqualification from the Formula One World Championship was on the cards. In view of Renault's willingness to come clean, the team has been put on probation until the end of the 2011 season.

Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds have been excluded from all FIA events and championships. In addition, they are not allowed to lead any team nor manage a driver, as any FIA licences already granted to such persons would be withdrawn immediately. As a result of his admission of guilt, Symonds' ban is to last five years. Briatore faces indefinite exclusion. This is not just because of the severity of the breaches but also because of his denial of liability.