Today the Renault Formula 1 team have been given a 2 year suspended ban for their part in the race fixing scandal of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.
The F.I.A. Motor Sport World Council handed down the sanction following Renault pleading no contest to the charge that Nelson Piquet crashed deliberately in order to aid his team mate, Fernando Alonso, who went on to win the race.
Although recognising the severity of the offence the F.I.A. took a lenient stance after Renault took swift action in dismissing Falvio Briatore and Pat Symonds, team principle and chief engineer respectively.
Briatore has been banned from all forms of official motor sport for life and Symonds was given a 5 year ban.
No action was taken against Alonso as he was not aware of the planned action in Singapore, Piquet was granted immunity prior to the hearing after he agreed to provide evidence to the Council.
Renault have been very lucky in taking advantage of the current fear in the F.I.A. that another manufacturer team may leave the sport.
This has been a complete ‘let off’ for the team, and they should consider themselves very fortunate.
The Mclaren spy-gate scandal of 2007 was a serious offence and cost the team $100 million, I would have expected a similar cost imposed on Renault.
This is a story that will continue to provoke debate long into the future and has been derided in the non-motor sport press as not being ‘sport’, but just like disputed refereeing decisions in football this is all part of the soap opera of Formula 1.