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Last Updated: Friday September 11 2009 12:34 GMT

Renault anger over F1 cheating claim

Fernando Alonso driving for Renault in Valencia

Formula One team Renault are taking legal action against their former driver Nelson Piquet and his dad after they accused the team of cheating.

The Piquets have accused Renault of ordering Nelson Jnr to crash on purpose in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix to help team-mate Fernando Alonso to win.

Renault deny the claims and say they're willing to go to court to prove they didn't do anything wrong.

They're also taking action over an attempt to blackmail the team.

Renault sacked Nelson Piquet Jnr in August and the French team say the blackmail attempt is said to be related to "allowing Mr Piquet Jnr to drive for the remainder of the 2009 season".

Former renault team-mates fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet Jr
The former Renault team-mates: Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet Jr

Meanwhile, Renault have been ordered to a meeting in Paris, France on 21 September to explain their side of the story about the race-fixing claims.

If sport officials decide they DID tell their driver to crash his car, Renault will be in serious trouble and could even be kicked out of this year's Formula One championship.

What happened?

At the Singapore Grand Prix Alonso started near the back of the grid and used a strategy that meant he had to refuel after only 12 laps.

Nelson Piquet then crashed three laps later and the safety car came out, which meant all the cars had to drive slowly and ended up very close together again.

Because the other cars hadn't stopped to refuel yet and Alonso had, he was able to keep overtaking his rivals until he was in first place.

If the safety car hadn't been needed on the track after the crash, it's unlikely Alonso would have been in such a strong position.