Managing Director Flavio Briatore and Executive Director of Engineering Pat Symonds have officially left the Renault F1 team.
While the news doesn’t come as a surprise to us anymore, it is curious to note that the decision to leave Renault comes a few days before the team is set to stand before the World Motor Sports Council to answer allegations that they attempted to manipulate the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix by telling former driver Nelson Picquet Jr. to deliberately crash his car to give teammate Fernando Alonso better track position.
Even more curious is the statement the team released regarding the accusations laid out by Picquet Jr. The team said: "The ING Renault F1 Team will not dispute the recent allegations made by the FIA concerning the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix."
This sounds like Renault is either trying to pre-empt the inevitable or they know something we don’t, but it does raise eyebrows as to how this whole situation has played out.
Briatore and Symond’s decision to leave the team casts a cloud on Renault’s future in F1. Should the team be found guilty, they could face sanctions ranging from a fine to a possible exclusion from the world championships down the road.
Photo courtesy of F1-Live.com