Piquet puts Formula One in quandary

MONZA, Italy - Race-fixing allegations have put Formula One's credibility at stake and the governing body must take a firm stance, according to Williams co-owner Patrick Head.

Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet has alleged that his former Renault team ordered him to crash in Singapore last September to bring out the safety car and help Spanish teammate Fernando Alonso win the race.

Former champions Renault have been summoned by the sport's governing body to a hearing in Paris on September 21 to answer charges of fixing the race and fraudulent conduct.

They in turn have commenced criminal proceedings against Piquet and his father, accusing them of false allegations and attempted blackmail.

Piquet, 24, was dropped by the team last month after failing to score a point in 10 races. He said in a statement last week that he had told the governing body the truth.

Head, whose team have been linked to a possible Renault engine deal next year, said he did not know the details of the case but there had been considerable speculation at the time.

"We thought it was a pretty extraordinary thing to put Alonso 15th on the grid with only 12 laps of fuel on board," he said.

"It seemed an extraordinary decision.

"If young Nelson was asked to deliberately crash or spin his car, regardless of his contractual position, in my view, he should have said no at the time," the Briton added.

"If that did happen, then the people responsible should be dealt with pretty firmly. - Reuter