Alonso dismisses Renault crash conspiracy


MONZA, Italy – Two-times world champion Fernando Alonso on Thursday dismissed and distanced himself from all claims that his Renault team conspired to fix the outcome of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.FERNANDO_ALONSO_Amid the usual bedlam and clamour of the Monza paddock, where the sight of police and investigating lawyers has not been uncommon during previous Italian Grand Prix weekends, the 28-year-old driver said he could not believe anything he had heard.

The Spaniard told reporters: "I’m very surprised. I just cannot imagine this situation (happening) at all, so, as I said, I’m surprised — and it’s time to think of another job now, here in Monza, and with another grand prix, because I’m not spending any more time on this.

"I will not comment too much about this because the team (Renault) said that as a team we will not comment. For me it’s not even the time to think about, or to pay attention to, this."

Renault have been called to appear at an International Motoring Federation (FIA) World Motor Sports Council hearing on September 21 in Paris to explain events that took place in Singapore prior to the race in which Alonso was victorious, having benefited from an early pit-stop before his then team-mate Nelson Piquet crashed.

It has been widely reported that Piquet may have spun into a wall of the street circuit deliberately on lap 14, two laps after Alonso pitted.

One paddock veteran said on Friday that he had been told by Renault team members that it looked as if Piquet had ‘practised’ by doing something similar in an earlier practice session, braking too early and then powering the car too soon.

Alonso said he knew nothing of any plans to fix the outcome of the race or of any planned accidents.

Asked if he was surprised, he said: "Yeah, of course."

He went on: "After the hearing, everything will be clarified. It will be the time to say something, but now it makes no sense."

Asked directly if he knew of any alleged plans to ask Piquet to crash in Singapore, he said: "No."

He said also that he knew of no meetings that took place to discuss such a plan despite further widespread claims that a meeting, involving Piquet, team boss Flavio Briatore and engineering chief Pat Symonds, took place on the morning of the race.

Alonso said he gave his team chief and former manager Briatore his full support.

He said: "Flavio has been always a nice boss with me. He’s a friend. He has supported my career since the time when I was in Minardi. I think Flavio is one of the good people here and he has all my support."

It is understood that Alonso was interviewed by the FIA’s investigations team at last month’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Alonso, it is said, accepted the strategy formulated by the team for his early pit-stop because he wished to have an ‘aggressive’ approach to the race. It is believed he had sufficient fuel to have gone for more laps before pitting.

Transcripts of radio communications between Renault team members during the race are reported to have confirmed that Symonds showed no concern at others’ worries about Alonso’s strategy.

Piquet is said to have claimed that he was asked, during the pre-race meeting, to crash deliberately to help Alonso win – a claim that has been vigorously denied by Symonds and Briatore, who have said that the idea came from the Brazilian.

Later Thursday, a transcript which was claimed to be of Piquet’s evidence was leaked.

In it Piquet said he agreed to crash, at a specified point of the track, to safeguard his career prospects.

He said he was given clear instructions of when and where to spin into the wall of the spectacular Singapore street track.

The transcript quoted Piquet saying: "I was asked by Mr. Flavio Briatore, who is both my manager and the Team Principal of the ING Renault F1 Team, and by Mr. Pat Symonds, the Technical Director of the Renault F1 Team, to deliberately crash my car in order to positively influence the performance of the ING Renault F1 Team at the event in question.

"I agreed to this proposal and caused my car to hit a wall and crash during lap thirteen/fourteen of the race."