Archive for the ‘Renault’ Category


Renault Confirm Kubica

October 7, 2009

Renault have confirmed Robert Kubica will be joining the team from 2010.

The 24-year-old Pole will replace Fernando Alonso, who will join Ferrari, at the French team.

Kubica first tested in F1 for Renault in 2005, and after joining BMW Sauber as a test driver in 2006, he made his Grand Prix debut in Hungary that year, and has driven for the team since, collecting eight podiums, one pole position, a race win and 129 points.


For the full story, see my report on


Suspended Sentence for Renault, Lifetime Ban for Briatore

September 21, 2009

The World Motor Sport Council issued Renault with a two-year suspended sentence today, as it reached its verdict over “crashgate”.

Former team boss, Flavio Briatore, who left Renault last Wednesday, was given a lifetime ban from all FIA-sanctioned motorsport, and anyone who is managed by Briatore will not receive their Superlicence for 2010 if they are associated with him. Currently, Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Heikki Kovalainen and Romain Grosjean are all managed by Briatore.

Pat Symonds, the team’s former director of engineering, received a five year ban from FIA-sanctioned events. The FIA stated that Symonds had acknowledged his involvement in the conspiracy and expressed his regret, unlike Briatore, who continued to deny his involvement.

The FIA said that the team “had accepted, at the earliest practicable opportunity, that it committed the offences with which it was charged and cooperated fully with the FIA’s investigation. It had confirmed that Mr. Briatore and Mr. Symonds were involved in the conspiracy and ensured that they left the team.” The FIA also said that the team had apologised “unreservedly” and had offered to pay the costs incurred during the FIA’s investigation, as well as Renault, the parent company of Renault F1, “making a significant contribution to FIA safety-related projects.”

The FIA added: “The World Motor Sport Council considers that offences of this severity merit permanent disqualification from the FIA Formula One World Championship.  However, having regard to the points in mitigation mentioned above and in particular the steps taken by Renault F1 to identify and address the failings within its team and condemn the actions of the individuals involved, the WMSC has decided to suspend Renault F1’s disqualification until the end of the 2011 season. The World Motor Sport Council will only activate this disqualification if Renault F1 is found guilty of a comparable breach during that time.”

Renault’s team president, Bernard Rey said: “Today, we fully accept the decision of the Council. We apologise unreservedly to the F1 community in relation to this unacceptable behaviour. We sincerely hope that we can soon put this matter behind us and focus constructively on the future.”

Fernando Alonso, who attended the hearing, was found to have had no involvement. Nelson Piquet retained his immunity given to him by the FIA for disclosing information.

Piquet said he bitterly regretted his actions, and that he does not expect this to be “forgiven and forgotten.”

He said: “Mr Briatore was my manager as well as the team boss, he had my future in his hands but he cared nothing for it. By the time of the Singapore GP he had isolated me and driven me to the lowest point I had ever reached in my life. Now that I am out of that situation I cannot believe that I agreed to the plan, but when it was put to me I felt that I was in no position to refuse. Listening now to Mr Briatore’s reaction to my crash and hearing the comments he has made to the press over the last two weeks it is clear to me that I was simply being used by him then to be discarded and left to ridicule.”


Briatore and Symonds Leave Renault

September 16, 2009

Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds today left Renault after the team announced it would not be disputing the allegations that driver Nelson Piquet deliberately crashed at last year’s Singapore Grand Prix.

The Renault team issued a statement saying:

“The ING Renault F1 Team will not dispute the recent allegations made by the FIA concerning the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

“It also wishes to state that its managing director, Flavio Briatore and its executive director of engineering, Pat Symonds, have left the team.

“Before attending the hearing before the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on 21 September 2009, the team will not make any further comment.”

Piquet’s crash resulted in a safety car, and as teammate Alonso had already pitted he was able to take the lead, and eventually win the race.

After Piquet was dropped from Renault following the Hungarian Grand Prix in July, it emerged that he had allegedly been told in a meeting with both Briatore and Symonds prior to the race, to cause the crash, where, and on what lap.

A statement made by Piquet, telemetry details and radio transmissions were leaked to the press at the Italian Grand Prix last weekend, which led to Renault’s announcement that it would take legal action against Piquet and his father.

Despite the fact both have left,  Renault will still appear in Paris on Monday, as it is the team who are charged with the race fixing allegations.


Renault to Race in Valencia

August 17, 2009

Renault will race in this weekend’s European Grand Prix after their suspension was overturned by the FIA International Court of Appeal in Paris today.

The team had been issued with a one-race ban after releasing Fernando Alonso from his first pitstop in Hungary with a loose wheel.

The team said that there had been no conscious wrong-doing and that the two mechanics who dealt with the wheel had been unable to notify the pit wall to notify Alonso of the situation.

Renault admitted unsafe conduct, and the court upheld the appeal, issuing the team with a reprimand and a $50,000 fine instead.

The team issued a statement on their website saying: “The ING Renault F1 Team welcomes the decision of the FIA’s International Court of Appeal to lift the team’s suspension from the European Grand Prix. However, the team acknowledges that sporting regulations were breached during the incident in the pit lane of the Hungarian Grand Prix, which compromised safety. The team therefore accepts the decision of the FIA to issue a reprimand and a $50,000 fine is fair and balanced.”

It is expected an announcement will be made over who will replace Nelson Piquet as Alonso’s teammate after he revealed over the summer break that he had been dropped from the team.


Renault Suspended from European Grand Prix

July 27, 2009

Renault have been suspended from the next round in Valencia following an incident in yesterday’s Hungarian Grand Prix, where Fernando Alonso lost his right-front wheel.

The stewards in Budapest said that Renault had knowingly let Alonso leave the pits with a loose wheel, which he subsequently lost out on track whilst hobbling back round to the pits.

The incident came a day after Felipe Massa’s crash where he was hit on the helmet by a spring from the suspension of Rubens Barrichello’s car, and a week after the death of Formula Two driver Henry Surtees, who was hit on the head by the wheel of another competitor’s car. The events of the last week have raised concerns over the safety of motorsport.

The suspension means Alonso will not be driving in his home Grand Prix next month.


Alonso Snatches Pole in Hungary

July 25, 2009

Fernando Alonso will start tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix from pole, after an eventful qualifying session at the Hungaroring this afternoon, that saw Felipe Massa crash into the tyre wall of turn four.

Out of the ten drivers who made it through to the top ten shoot-out, only nine took part, after Massa’s crash at the end of quali two. It is believed that a piece of Rubens Barrichello’s rear suspension hit the Ferrari driver’s helmet, causing the crash. Quali three was delayed while marshalls got Massa out of the wall, and he was airlifted to hospital, as is standard practice in Formula One, having been treated by medics at the circuit. The Brazilian is said to be in a stable condition, but it is uncertain whether he will race tomorrow.

There was more drama to come at the end of quali three, as just before the chequered flag, the live timings were lost, leaving fans and even the drivers and their teams wondering who had finished where.

After asking the other drivers if they knew where he had come, it was Alonso who took pole, having looked strong in both quali two and three. Sebastian Vettel took second, less than a tenth of a second off the pace of the Renault, followed by teammate Mark Webber in third. Lewis Hamilton will start the race in fourth. The McLaren team have been rejuvenated following upgrades to the MP4-24, and they topped the time sheets in all three practice sessions ahead of this afternoon’s qualifying.

Current championship leader Jenson Button starts in eighth, following his only hot lap in Q3. Rubens Barrichello in the sister Brawn will start thirteenth.

Nico Rosberg, who was on form throughout qualifying, topping the time sheets in quali one, will start fifth, with Heikki Kovalainen in sixth, Kimi Raikkonen in seventh and Kazuki Nakajima in nineth.


Renault Join Threat to Quit F1

May 13, 2009

Renault have become the fourth team to threaten a pull-out at the end of the 2009 season unless plans for the £40 million budget cap are abandoned.

Yesterday Ferrari issued a statement declaring “No F1 in 2010 if the rules change.” Today, Renault boss Flavio Briatore said: “If the decisions announced by the FIA are not revised, we have no choice but to withdraw from the world championship at the end of 2009.”

The FIA’s plans hope to encourage new teams to enter their cars into the 2010 season, however, the proposals will ultimately mean that the teams who are able to limit themselves to the budget cap will have more technical freedom than those who don’t, subsequently splitting the field in two.

One of the advantages that would be available to capped teams would include a flexible rear wing, which, currently outlawed in the 2009 regulations, could see a capped team next season with a two second per lap advantage over an uncapped team.

Renault F1 team president, Bernard Rey has said the team cannot be in a championship where there are two different sets of rules operating together. A statement issued by the team said : “[The team] is also of the firm view that all entrants in the world championship must adhere to and operate under the same regulations.”

Yesterday, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo warned the budget cap would lead to a two-tier championship that could potentially be “fundamentally unfair and perhaps even biased”.

As it stands, with entries opening for sign-up to the 2010 season on May 22nd, and lasting until the 29th, the line up on the grid next March could look somewhat different to the line up five races ago, with the likes of Ferrari, Renault, Toyota and Red Bull not being there.

The threats of the last two days do not seem to be idle on either team’s part, posing a question over what is going to happen next. The teams are likely to meet with Max Mosley in the next week to discuss the plans, and the current dissatisfaction over their feelings that the FIA have failed to discuss the rule changes with them is also likely to be on the agenda.