Renault nailed for 'crashgate'

PARIS - The Renault Formula One team were handed a two-year suspended ban by the International Automobile Federation yesterday for ordering driver Nelson Piquet junior to crash in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

PARIS - The Renault Formula One team were handed a two-year suspended ban by the International Automobile Federation yesterday for ordering driver Nelson Piquet junior to crash in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

The verdict was handed down by the sport's governing body after a one-and-a half-hour hearing at its Paris headquarters.

Renault were in the dock for conspiring with Piquet junior to cause a deliberate crash to help the Brazilian's teammate, Fernando Alonso, win the race.

The French outfit could have faced permanent exclusion from the sport over 'crashgate', as the affair became known, but escaped that ultimate sanction after the departure of Piquet, team boss Flavio Briatore and chief engineer Pat Symonds.

As well as Renault's suspended ban, Briatore himself was handed an "unlimited" ban from the sport while Symonds was suspended for five years.

Piquet junior and Alonso were among those who appeared before the FIA hearing after which the 26 members of the World Motor Sports Council met to decide what action to take.

Spanish driver Alonso was cleared of any involvement in the conspiracy. - Sapa-AFP

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