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Page last updated at 06:14 GMT, Thursday, 24 September 2009 07:14 UK

Reeling Renault to continue in F1

Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean
Fernando Alonso (left) and Romain Grosjean (right) are Renault's current drivers

Renault will stay in Formula 1 despite damage caused to its reputation by the recent Singapore race-fix scandal.

Submissions made to governing body the FIA during Monday's hearing, where the team got a suspended disqualification from the sport, confirmed their stance.

Renault said that after consideration it wanted to "continue to make an important contribution to the sport".

Bob Bell has stepped up from technical director to acting team principal for the remainder of the season.

The team have also withdrawn the complaint against former driver Nelson Piquet Jr and his father.

Renault, who now insists it wants to "put this whole affair behind us", had accused the pair of false allegations and blackmail before eventually informing FIA president Max Mosley that the charge of conspiracy levelled at them would not be contested.

This is a black day for us, but it is our intention to draw the line, and to do everything we can to put this sad history behind us

Renault QC Ali Malek

The team were duly given a two-year suspended ban by the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) on Monday for ordering Piquet Jr to crash deliberately so that team-mate Fernando Alonso could win the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix following the introduction of a safety car.

Former team boss Flavio Briatore was also banned indefinitely from F1 while ex-engineering chief Pat Symonds has been excluded for five years.

Part of Renault's written submissions read: "Renault F1 and its parent company have given serious consideration as to whether it should remain in the sport following the prejudice caused to its corporate image by the conspiracy, in addition to the existing background of financial pressures that have caused car manufacturers to withdraw.

"But it has concluded that it would like to remain in Formula One and continue to make an important contribution to the sport."

A further statement confirmed Bell's appointment ahead of this week's return to Singapore for the 2009 Grand Prix.

It read: "Bob Bell, currently technical director, takes on the duty of team principal and chief technical officer.

"Jean-Francois Caubet, currently director of marketing and communications, takes the role of managing director.

"They will both report to Bernard Rey, president of the Renault F1 Team."

About the strategy, I completely believe and trust the engineers, who normally have a lot of computer simulations which tell you the optimum lap to stop

Fernando Alonso

Ali Malek QC, who was representing Renault in front of the WMSC in Paris, added: "We are keen to put this whole affair behind us.

"It was a ridiculous plot, a one-off, and Renault knows nothing like this can ever happen again.

"This is a black day for us, but it is our intention to draw the line, and to do everything we can to put this sad history behind us."

Through Renault has informed French prosecutors of its withdrawn complaints against Piquet Jr and his father - who first alerted Mosley to the race-fix chain of events involving his son - at present it is understood that Briatore has yet to do so.

Malek also insisted Renault [the company] was a victim in terms of the damage done to its reputation, given that the wrongdoing was confined to a trio of employees, and said that the manufacturer could have done nothing to prevent the incident taking place.

Meanwhile, Alonso insisted he was completely unaware of Piquet Jr's team orders when he was quizzed by Mosley at the WMSC meeting.

The Spaniard had taken his first pit stop before the safety car was deployed following Piquet Jr's crash.

"I did not know anything about the incident," Alonso told the hearing during a two-minute appearance.

"About the strategy, I completely believe and trust the engineers, who normally have a lot of computer simulations which tell you the optimum lap to stop.

"Sometimes it's short fuel, sometimes long fuel, but I completely trust them.

"In that particular case it was no different. I completely trusted them with regard the lap on which I was told to stop, and I drove to my maximum as a driver."

Mosley had then said: "You didn't say to them at any point, 'This seems unusual. Why are we stopping so early?'"

Alonso replied: "Not really, because we had a fuel pump problem in qualifying on Saturday.

"I qualified 15th with more or less good pace, in a good car that weekend. We know if you have the same strategy as the others around you, and you are in position 13 or 14, it will be difficult to overtake them.

"So the team chose a strategy that was different. I was not really worried about anything.

"It was an aggressive one (strategy), and I was ready for it."



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see also
Witness X sealed Briatore's fate
23 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Renault handed suspended F1 ban
21 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Piquet Jr 'sorry' for race-fixing
21 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Renault blames Briatore & Symonds
17 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Briatore out over Renault fix row
16 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Renault to launch Piquet lawsuit
11 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Alonso 'surprised' by fix claim
10 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Piquet Jr dropped by Renault team
04 Aug 09 |  Formula 1


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