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Discussion in 'Motorsport' started by prisonermonkeys, Aug 30, 2009.
Does this mean McLaren should get their £100 million back and have a suspended sentence instead? After all what they did didn't actually endanger anyones life.
Isn't Webber managed by Flav? Jeez, gonna suck to be him right now.
First of all, we have to ask: who are we really punishing here?
Does Renault deserve a greater penalty than they were given? Personally, I'd say no. Consider this for a moment: Renault is made up of more than just Alonso, Piquet, Briatore and Symonds. There are dozens of race engineers, mechanics, PR people and an entire army of workers who keep the team moving on a race weekend. And then there's Renaut itself, the car company, staffed by tens of thousands. And what was their crime? Absolutely nothing. They didn't plan this. They didn't stand up to be counted with Briatore and Symonds. They are only guilty by association.
On the other hand, there is Briatore and Symonds. Or, if the verdict is anything to go by, just Flavio Briatore. Either Symonds took a last-minute deal, or the council decided that Briatore planned it and that Symonds was simply doing as he was told, like Nelson Piquet Jnr. Briatore, it seems, orchestrated this little episode. He did not do it with the knowledge or consent of people like Carlos Ghosn, and he did not inform everyone in the team of what he was doing.
So, who are we really punishing?
Personally, I think the WMSC got this one right. Why should Renault as a team and a company suffer because Briatore decided to fix the race? That's not justice, that's collateral damage! Briatore is the one who should be on the receiving end; while Renault are guilty to a certain extent, what did they do to deserve a ban or an exclusion that Briatore didn't do on his own? The terms "Renaut" and "Flavio Briatore" may be used interchangeably, but they are not one and the same. Briatore deserves this, not the dozens of people who form the ING Renault F1 Team.
Renault are going to suffer a lot more anyway because they've lost two key experienced personnel who have brought 4 world championships about.
And like I suggested...Alain Prost as a replacement is the ultimate punishment!
Renault, fix a race result = Two year suspended ban, one personnel gets life time ban from FIA events, other gets 5 year band from FIA events.
McLaren, possess technical document of Ferrari = Suspension from constructors championship and $100 million fine.
So, both teams are guilty of cheating (I won't mention Renault having a whole of an opposition car on their system in the past), yet the punishments are a million miles apart. Some consistency in the punishment process wouldn't go amiss.
So what about the money they (Renault) earned from that race? Are they gonna pay it back?
I think it's a good verdict. Still, I'm curious about Pat Symonds testimony, the one where he says he is sorry for all eternity. I guess that (until now not leaked) is probably the most important piece of evidence gathered by the FIA in all this affair.
About comparing this decision to the McLaren one ... uh ... I feel a storm coming to this thread and I'll not have my poor boat sail through it
By that logic, McLaren shouldn't have been punished at all for "SpyGate"... just the engineer who held onto the data.
I quite agree with the heavy sentence handed down to Briatore and Symonds. I'm sure lover-boy will find something else to diddle... errh... do. But five years for a race engineer? That's like a death sentence.
I also agree with the immunity for Piquet. The poor boy has suffered enough. His future in F1 is history.
But a suspended ban for Renault, with no points penalties or fines? BS.
Is the lollipop man (or the guy who lights the lollipop light... or the fuel rig operator) all of Ferrari? No.
Is the guy who attaches the safety strap to Renault's front wheels all of Renault? No.
Yet those teams were penalized as a team for those infractions. Due to the safety violations. This is no longer about cheating. This is about creating destruction and possible death on the racing circuit... on purpose. A $200 million dollar fine wouldn't go remiss. Take it out of Flavio's retirement pay, for all I care.
A message needs to be sent out. I'm sure the WMSC figures that the lifetime ban of lover-boy is a big message, but they should at least give Renault a token slap on the wrist. A one-race suspension, at the very least... docking some points from last year... something would be better than nothing.
I completely agree with interludes here.
The case of Renault is different than McLaren. Let's imagine McLaren really used Ferrari's data (I won't be the judge here).In that case, they got an unfair advantage for the whole 2007 championship. It's true they lost the constructor's points, but they nearly won the driver's championship, and probably the money they got with their drivers' performances was enough to cover the $100 million fine. Renault on the other hand just received an advantage in one race, and all possible monetary gain was offset by their image being burnt now. All in all, I have to say I'm very pleased with the results, although I'd like to see Piquet getting some punishment too.
Remember that one McLaren employee had the data and that they received a very similar punishment to Renault (who had two years' worth of McLaren cars on their mainframe), until the verdict was protested by Ferrari...
Oh, I'm pretty sure they're not going to get a huge monetary fine.
But it's not about the advantage. It's about safety.
In the past, violations that have caused potentially unsafe situations have been met with a race ban.
A "slap on the wrist" one or two race ban would be more fair than a "suspended" two year ban.
Again... strange, strange judgement. An unintended failure of the wheel strap leading to a race ban... while an intended high speed crash leading to... none? Not even remotely logical.
Everyone here might be saying that the punishment fits the crime but i disagree totally.
What the World Motor Sport Council is trying to say here is, fix a race and we'll turn a blind eye to it.
Didn't they take into coonsideration that this dangerous and inexplicable move that Renault told Piquet to do could havew injured spectators, could have injured marshals, could have injured another driver or even worse, could have killed someone.
Briatore banned for life, absolutely. Symmons banned for five years when he would have been the one to issue the order from Flav, maybe it fits but i disagree, he should have got a life ban.
Did Alonso have anything to do with this? We will never know
Piquet Jr granted immunity from this, the only thing he did wrong was to do as he was told. He could have stuck two fingers up to them but that might have cost him his job so he was in a lose-lose no matter what happened.
I totally agree with DYR and tibi that the McLaren and Renault cases are two different things but at the end of the day, one was to gain advantage in a race and one was to gain advantage over the year and it still amounts to the same thing; cheating!
Piquet Jr's statement ... I feel sorry for him and his weakness. But I guess that's it, there's no turning back for him and I think he is finished as a racing driver.
There's also a difference in overall damage from punishing one relatively lowly engineer and punishing a team principal and chief engineer.
As well as the point Famine mentioned.
Both cases are terrible though, I heard the data McLaren had was a 780 page document that not only outlined Ferrari design ideas but also strategic information for the following few years and organisational information?
This information is incorrect. McLaren was found guilty of not only possessing Ferrari's information but also using it. It wasn't only one McLaren employee who had it, remember the e-mail between de la Rosa and Alonso where they discussed Ferrari's information? And in that case, FIA did not punish the drivers (even though they got an advantage from it) because they cooperated with the investigation (not sure about Hamilton, but Alonso definitely did). Renault on the other hand voluntarily confessed they had McLaren's information. As we know, the FIA is very kind on people who confess and are helpful in the investigation, as was the case with Piquet. And in that case Renault was cooperative, and therefore got a small punishment.
At the Cingapure incident, Renault and Pat Symonds were also helpful to the FIA on the investigation. This is why Renault got a smaller punishment, and Pat Symonds only got 5 years, compared to Briatore who got a life sentence.
Finally, if the incident happened this year there would be a chance of Renault losing the points, but it doesn't make sense changing the results of last year's championship.
Frankly I think it's a bit of a joke that Renault didn't get fined... but then again - we live in a different world than 2 years ago - 2 years ago everyone was rich and money grew from trees...
It would seem a little hypocritical of the WMSC to fine Renault lots of money when one of their primary goals is to reduce the cost of F1...
I was afraid this would end up being a farce. They knew that people would judge the verdict against the McLaren decision, but they knew anything in or over that scale, no matter how deserved, would be reason enough for them to consider leaving F1. Is that what they pass off as justice and fairness?
Are you implying that Renault never tryed to use the data they got from McLaren?
If so that is incorrect and the FIA's own press statement clearly states as much.
Source - http://www.fia.com/en-GB/archive/Pages/en.aspx
The bit is bold clearly shows an attempt to use the confidential info they had, now its purely incidental that Renault didn't understand the info they had. They still had confidential data and used it.
I'm only implying what I still remember. I didn't remember the part they used McLaren's info to accuse McLaren of being illegal. But the fact still stands that Renault was cooperative with the FIA, and most importantly, they were never found guilty of using McLaren's info in the design of their own cars. This is different from McLaren when they actually were found guilty of using Ferrari's information in their project and gaining an advantage from it.
Actually again your not quite right with that, the FIA never stated that they could prove that McLaren had used the info on a final car in a race, simply that they 'may' have done (yes I have read the transcripts very carefully).
While I agree that Renault did assist the FIA in both cases, I see that as grounds for a lesser penalty only in the confidential data case.
In the case of staging an accident on a part of the track that would be most dangerous (lack of cranes, no exit road in the wall, etc) they endangered drivers and stewards simply to gain an advantage.
Assitance should help them out when the penalty was given, but I can't say that I find the degree of leniency given to be appropriate at all.
A two year suspended sentance for the act in question is too light, no matter what the cooperation level was. Hell all that should have bought them is not being banned from next years manufacturers championship at most.
Renault, while not directly responsible, did hire Briatore and Symonds. They acted as agents of Renault and therefore the whole team does bear some responsibility. It may not seem fair but that is what keeps a large organisation from having people do their dirty work while they turn a blind eye.
Personally I think Renault should be stripped of at least the points from that race, if not all of last season and be fined for the money gained from those points.
Scaff, I haven't really examined too much the espionage case, so I'll believe that you said.
On the accident part, I agree with you on seriousness of the case, but the question is whether Renault should be punished for the actions of their 3 employees.
They were representing Renault, but do their actions represents the company's ideas, or was Renault just a victim of their employee's poor judgement? I think a good example would be in 97, when Schumacher crashed on Villeneuve. Everyone agrees it was a dirty move and Shummy was rightfully punished, but should Ferrari also be punished for the incident? The answer is no, Schumacher was the only responsible for it.
I know some people will say it was the same case with McLaren, but it was different. When we have Alonso and de la Rosa talking about Ferrari's details, it becomes clear that it was quite widespread within the team, and therefore, the decision to keep and use Ferrari's info was the team's decision.
About Renault losing points, that would've been fair if we still were in 2008. But we're in 2009 and it wouldn't make sense to change last year's result.
Except that Coughlan was the only person with the data. No evidence was ever found that the data was known about or used by any other McLaren employee or was used on the 2007 car. The 2008 car was inspected prior to it being approved with the condition that, should any evidence be found of Ferrari data being used in its construction or design, the team would be suspended from 2008 also. Since they weren't we can conclude that the 2008 car was similarly clean.
Remember that McLaren were only punished after Ferrari appealed against the punishment originally handed out.
Renault, on the other hand, had two seasons' worth of McLaren on their main servers. The entire team had access to it - not just one guy.
Seriously, man: common sense. You're getting too hung up on the fact that Renault didn't get a severe punishment and missing the part about Flavio Briatore being banned for life from any FIA event, not just Formula One.
Put it this way: let's say GTP is a stockbroking firm, and we're all employees. With the help of another employee (for argument's sake, let's say Famine), I manage to embezzle one hundred million dollars from clients. And I keep it secret for over a year before I get found out. And I'm put on trial for my crimes. So should I be punished for embezzling one hundred million dollars, or should GTP be punished for being the company I was working for at the time?
Now look at Renault's case: Renault is more than just Briatore, Symonds, Piquet and Alonso. And only three people knew of the plot to fix the race. Briatore acted without the knowledge or the consent of the rest of the team or his superiors, and there is nothing to indicate tht anyone else knew of the plan. The transcript of the conversation between Piquet and his pit wall gives no indication that anyone else knew it was staged, and Piquet's testimony does not name anyone other than himself, Briatore and Pat Symonds as knowing of the scheme.
In the meantime, Renault completely co-operated with the FIA. They did not deny the allegations, took their own independent action against Briatore (making plain that Briatore acted of his own accord in Singapore) and have offered to pay fo the FIA's investigation and contribute more to their road safety programmes. Their only crime was to be guilty by association. So what have they done that is deserving of agreater punishment?
If thats true, why were McLaren punished at all? If they can't prove that the team knew about or used the data, why was it even taken up in the first place?
The FIA couldn't prove Benetton were using traction control in 1994 and didn't punish them, despite many teams disputing it and the FIA finding the "option" on the car.
Why do you keep ignoring the fact that Alonso & De La Rosa knew about the data and were comparing notes and ideas on what they could do with it.
The law in most jurustictions would hold the employer responsable alongside the employee, particularly if the illegal action would have benefited the employer (as it would have done in this case) and was carried out using the employers hardware (as it was in this case) and on the employers time (as it was in this case).
Sorry but as an argument your one does not hold up well, particularly as GTP might not benefit in your example, but Renault as a team most certainly did.
How exactly do you know for a fact that no one other than Briatore, Symonds and Piquet knew about this?
One of the advantages of pleading 'no contest' to the charges is that no further investgation would be carried out. So unless you are privy to info that even the FIA and WMC don't have (as they never got the chance to fully investigate) you can't state that as a fact.
Renualt most certainly did initially deny the allegations, to the degree that they started legal action against Piquet and his father...
...that was hardly a cooperative move, and certainly a denial of any wrong doing.
Renault only started to cooperate and back away from Briatore and Symonds after this event and after the WMC offered Piquet immunity.
Please don't paint Renault as 'pure as the driven snow' in this case, they are clearly not. Its also well worth remembering that its not exactly as if Symonds and Briatore are not know in the world of motorsport for being a bit iffy to say the least. Renault knew what they had when the employed them and must take some of the blame behind this.
I'm not saying that Renault are completely innocent in all of this, but at the same time I don't see why they're deserving of exclusion from the championship. The most guilty parties - Briatore and Symonds - have been punished accordingly, and reading between the lines of their punishments, it's clear the FIA thinks this was all Briatore's doing, with Symonds simply doing as he was told, like Piquet. Renault should be fined, yes, and maybe they should lose their points, but an exclusion or an outright ban? They have a suspended sentence, so as long as they don't get themselves in trouble again, they should be fine. It's not the same as getting away with fixing the race; they're going to be watched closely.
So I'll repeat my question I did before, after the 1997 crash between Schumacher and Villeneuve when Schumacher lost his championship points, should Ferrari be punished too?
If the FIA investigated it and found no one else, the only thing we can do is believe in what they found, unless there's a second investigation that states otherwise.
For me, this suggests they had no idea of what was really going on. For all they knew, it could be Piquet lying to get a revenge. They decided to sue the Piquet family after a meeting with Briatore, when they also decided to keep him in the job. Later as the story unfolded, they realized what happened.
You might disagree with my interpretation, but one thing is clear, suing Piquet and cooperating with the FIA investigation have absolutely no relationship whatsoever.
So they should get punished for hiring Briatore and Symonds? It has no relationship with the matter in case. The two of them were well respected members of F1 and were there for years. It's not as if Renault employed them to be scape goats for any supposed "obscure" practice.