Irvine was one of Formula One's most colourful figures
Ex-Formula 1 driver Eddie Irvine says there has been an overreaction to the race-fixing charges being levelled at the Renault team.
Renault have been called to answer charges by governing body, the FIA, of ordering Nelson Piquet Jr to crash.
"Formula One has always been a war and in war all is fair," the former Jordan and Ferrari driver told Radio 5 live.
"When I was in various teams you would do anything to win. Back in the day it was normal."
On Wednesday, Flavio Briatore left his post as boss of the Renault team along with executive director of engineering Pat Symonds after the team decided not to contest charges of fixing the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.
Despite the departures, Renault will face a World Motor Sport Council hearing in Paris on Monday.
The team have been called to answer charges that they "conspired with Nelson Piquet Jr to cause a deliberate crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix with the aim of causing the deployment of the safety car to the advantage of its other driver, Fernando Alonso".
But Irvine says that this matter is the latest in a long list of rules that have been bent in the sport over the years.
"This is probably slightly on the wrong side of the cheating thing but in days past every team have done whatever they could to win - cheat, bend the rules, break the rules, sabotage opponents," he claimed. "This is just the FIA going on a crusade."
The Northern Irishman also believes that if Renault are found guilty, the FIA will deal with them leniently.
"Formula 1 cannot afford to lose more teams. For me, it will be a massaged court where the fine will be reduced in order not to scare Renault away.
"There are several teams in the sport that are looking shaky and they cannot afford to kick Renault out of Formula 1."
The 1996 world champion Damon Hill added that the case is not a good episode for the sport.
"There have clearly been some issues in the sport recently and there is a lot of soul-searching to be done," he said.
"It is a huge sport with a huge amount of interest and sometimes controversies add to the interest but you want it to be for the right reasons.
"I'm concerned that the sport is going to suffer as a genuine challenge of skill and competitiveness."
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