With the “Crashgate” investigation gathering steam, it is apparent that Renault executives have found the case against team bosses Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds to be damning enough to warrant their expulsion from the team.
There has been a steady flow of leaks during this inquiry, and each additional bit of information that has been publicized has only made the picture murkier, rather than clarifying matters.
The Daily Mail has released a long transcript of the Team Renault’s radio transmissions from last year’s Singapore Grand Prix. Although the staccato banter between Briatore, Symonds and unnamed engineers reveals much concern around Alonso’s fuel strtegy, and Piquet’s track position, there’s no smoking gun here that would unequivocally implicate Briatore and Symonds in a crash conspiracy. In fact, just prior to the crash, the following exchange was recorded, in which Symonds, Briatore and an engineer are exhorting Piquet to pass Barrichello.
Pat Symonds: “Okay right [Engineer], you’ve gotta push him really bloody hard now if he doesn’t get past Barrichello he’s a, he’s going nowhere, he’s got to get past Barrichello this lap.”
Flavio Briatore: “Tell him, push.”
Engineer: “Nelson no excuses now you’ve got to get past Barrichello you’ve got four clicks straight line advantage come on you’ve got to push now you must get past him.
Moments after that, Piquet crashes, and the following exchange occurs:
Multiple voices: “Nelson’s off. F***ing hell. Nelson’s had a crash I would say that would be a red flag its huge [all speaking at the same time].”
Nelson Piquet Jnr: “Sorry guys. I had a little outing.”
And Briatore’s reaction to the incident is, “F***ing hell… my every f***ing disgrace, f***ing, he’s not a driver.” Either his response to the crash is so much window dressing, or he’s clearly infuriated by this turn of events.
There also seems to be a certain amount of confusion as to where all of this leaves Alonso. Witness the following exchange:
Flavio Briatore: “What position we are now in the all this?”
Pat Symonds: “To be honest, I don’t know Flavio. It’s got to have been good for Fernando but I honestly don’t know where he is.”
Although the net result was a win for Alonso, this hardly seems like a flawlessly executed plan, deliberate or otherwise. In fact, it almost appears that they took the win despite their best efforts, rather than because of them.
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