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Last Updated: Monday, 11 September 2006, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Briatore backtracks on fix slur
Renault team chief Flavio Briatore and driver Fernando Alonso
Briatore (left) and Alonso both expressed their anger in Monza
Renault chief Flavio Briatore has moved to distance himself from his remarks on Sunday that the title race was fixed in favour of Michael Schumacher.

Briatore claimed after Schumacher's Italian GP victory that Formula One bosses had decided to give the world championship to the German.

He later described his comment as "a jokey remark turned into something it was not intended to be".

Briatore insisted: "I am 100% sure of the integrity of the stewards."

Governing body the FIA has said it is looking into the first reported remarks, but it is not expected to make another statement until Tuesday.

Briatore added: "We have full confidence in everything. We never believed that the governing body were manipulating anything against Renault.

"Sure, we are not happy, this is normal. But all this stuff was too emotional. When we were talking about it, it was a kind of a provocation, a kind of a joke. People took it too seriously.

"We respect the decisions of the federation because this is why we are in the world championship, we accept the power and decisions of the federation.

"What we need to do in the future is identify really what is the spirit of the rules.

That's a down-the-pub conspiracy theory - look at what happened to Michael at Monaco and Hungary

FIA president Max Mosley on claims F1 is fixed

"The spirit in qualifying was that if someone intentionally stops you doing your lap time, they should be punished. This was the intention, or we should put it this way."

Briatore was angered after a complaint lodged by Ferrari, that Alonso had blocked Felipe Massa during the final qualifying session, was upheld by race officials.

The punishment handed out to the world champion meant he dropped from fifth to 10th on the grid, hampering his chances of getting in the points.

Renault played to the media on Sunday morning footage from the on-board camera from Massa's car that suggested the Brazilian was never closer than 100m to Alonso.

"The stewards have Ferrari's telemetry and maybe in that there is some proof that Fernando upset Massa. But for sure Fernando did not want to disturb Massa's lap," added Briatore.

"For us, Massa on pole position is better than Schumacher on pole."

FIA president Max Mosley said the stewards had no alternative but to punish Alonso and poured cold water on suggestions of a conspiracy theory weighted in Schumacher's favour.

"That's a down-the-pub conspiracy theory - look at what happened to Michael at Monaco and Hungary," said Mosley, referring to qualifying penalties handed to Schumacher.

"If you have rules in a sport you have to apply them.

I love sport, I love the fans. I don't consider Formula One like a sport anymore

Fernando Alonso
"At the end of the season what we are thinking very seriously about is saying we are only going to look at these questions if there is evidence of intent, which I don't think there was in this case."

If Briatore has a case to answer it is likely to be discussed at an emergency meeting of the world motorsport council on 19 September.

Alonso left Monza with a bitter taste in his mouth and admitted before the race he had lost faith in F1 as a sporting contest.

"I am a sportsman. I love sport, I love the fans. I don't consider Formula One like a sport anymore," said Alonso.

The Spaniard said he felt Renault were being singled out, and pointed to a number of other decisions that had gone against them since mid-season.

"Many things happen in the last few months against one team with no explanation," Alonso said, "and I think the image for people from the outside is that F1 has a little bit too much politics."

Renault technical chief Pat Symonds also argued that far from hindering Massa, Alonso actually aided him by giving him a slipstream on the straight.

"Massa got a good tow," he said. "His speed was the fastest of the qualifying session. He got some advantage from it.

"I don't understand the penalty, because we don't feel we impeded him."

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10 Sep 06 |  Formula One
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10 Sep 06 |  Formula One
Thoughts on Schumacher
10 Sep 06 |  Formula One
Schumacher's tainted legacy
10 Sep 06 |  Formula One
Raikkonen steals Monza spotlight
09 Sep 06 |  Formula One
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08 Sep 06 |  Formula One


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