The Renault F1 team has been forced to apologise to Nelsinho Piquet and his father, in addition to issuing them “substantial” compensatory damages, after the Piquets won the libel case they launched against the team.
The ruling marks the final act in the ‘Crashgate’ scandal that has been a leading story for more than the last 12 months, after Piquet Jr admitted that he had deliberately crashed during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix to provide a favourable race outcome for team-mate Fernando Alonso, who unknowingly benefited and went on to win the race.
The allegations surfaced out of revenge by Piquet Jr in the wake of his being sacked by the team after the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, and management figures within Renault countered this by claiming that the pair had made up the story in an attempt to blackmail the team to keep Piquet Jr on the payroll.
The story subsequently proved to be true when Renault conceded that it would not contest the charges, which resulted in a suspended ban for the team, in addition to lengthy bans (which were later shortened under appeal) to the team’s managing director Flavio Briatore and technical director Pat Symonds. Much to the disgust of many figures in the sport, Piquet Jr escaped any sanction in exchange for his testimony.
In turn, Piquet Jr was surprised when he found that there was no interest in his services for the 2010 season, and he is now forging a career in the NASCAR series.
“F1 has been deprived of the best of Nelsinho and it is to its detriment that his talent is now being demonstrated elsewhere,” Piquet’s lawyer, Dominic Crossley claimed after the judgement was handed out.
“They [the Piquets] were both treated appallingly by Renault when they dared to reveal the scandal to the governing body; and Nelsinho was abused terribly throughout his absurdly short career in F1,” he added.
[Original image via Blogdo Gusmao]