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Nelson Piquet Jr and his father win Renault libel case

Nelson Piquet Jr crashes in Singapore

Watch Piquet's Singapore crash

Former Renault driver Nelson Piquet Jr and his father, three-time champion Nelson Piquet, have won a libel case against Renault at the High Court.

Renault had accused the pair of "false allegations" and an "attempt to blackmail the team" surrounding events at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

But Renault were later found guilty of fixing the race by asking Piquet to crash to help Fernando Alonso win.

Renault have apologised to the Piquets and paid them substantial damages.

The "crash-gate" scandal rocked Formula 1 in the summer of 2009 after Piquet revealed he had deliberately crashed in Singapore to help his team-mate Alonso win the 2008 race.

The Brazilian's revelations came after he had been sacked by Renault following a string of poor performances.

Renault reacted by accusing Piquet and his father of making false allegations, adding that it was part of a blackmail attempt with the aim of "allowing Mr Piquet Jr to drive for the remainder of the 2009 season".

Piquet's claims prompted an investigation by motorsport's governing body, the FIA, and less than two weeks after launching legal action against the Piquets, Renault were found guilty of race-fixing.

The team were handed a two-year suspended ban from F1 while team boss Flavio Briatore was given a lifetime suspension, which was later reduced to a ban from the sport until 2013.

Nelson Piquet arrives at Monday's hearing in Paris
It didn't work out and I'm not going to keep begging and putting in money to drive

Nelson Piquet Jr on F1

Responding to their High Court victory the Piquets revealed that they regarded the High Court's decision as a step towards closure on the "crash-gate" controversy.

Their lawyer Dominic Crossley said in a statement: "Today the Renault Formula 1 team apologised in the High Court for defaming my two clients, the motor racing father and son Nelson and Nelsinho Piquet.

"They were both treated appallingly by Renault F1 when they dared to reveal the scandal to the governing body.

"Nelson Piquet dominated F1 during the early 80s and his reputation as a motorsport legend should remain untarnished by this saga. F1 has been deprived of the best of Nelsinho and it is to its detriment that his talent is now being demonstrated elsewhere.

"Whilst neither of them should ever have had to prove Renault F1's allegations false they are both delighted with the successful conclusion of the case.

"This marks the start rather than the end of the long journey they are both taking to correct many of the wrongs that took place during last year's 'crash-gate' scandal."

Renault issued an apology in response to the High Court decision which stated: "The team accepts that the allegations made by Nelson Piquet Jr were not false.

"It also accepts that Piquet Jr and his father did not invent these allegations in order to blackmail the team.


"As a result, these serious allegations contained in the press release [on 11 September 2009] were wholly untrue and unfounded, and the Defendant now withdraws them unreservedly.

"The Defendant is here through its lawyer in order to apologise to the Claimants unreservedly for this regrettable publication.

"As a mark of its apology and regret, the Defendant has agreed to pay the Claimants substantial damages and costs, as well as not to repeat these allegations at any time in the future."

The scandal tarnished Piquet Jr's reputation in F1 and, even though he was not punished by the FIA for his role in the events of 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, he was unable to find a team willing to revive his F1 career.

The 25-year-old Brazilian, who now races in the American Nascar Series, described the High Court decision as "better late than never".

He added on a possible F1 return: "F1 is F1. You don't just go in when you want to. It didn't work out and I'm not going to keep begging and putting in money to drive."

Renault have also moved on from the scandal with the French car company selling 75% of the team to Luxembourg-based investment firm Genii Capital at the end of 2009.

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see also
Piquet Jr makes switch to Nascar
12 Jan 10 |  Formula 1
Renault handed suspended F1 ban
21 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Renault to launch Piquet lawsuit
11 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Briatore out over Renault fix row
16 Sep 09 |  Formula 1

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