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Updated: September 10, 2009 19:45 IST

Alonso grappling with Renault probe news

AP
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Renault driver Fernando Alonso
AP Renault driver Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso was grappling to understand why his Renault team was being investigated for allegedly ordering former teammate Nelson Piquet Jr. to crash at last year’s Singapore Grand Prix to help him to victory.

Alonso won last season’s first Formula One night race after Piquet Jr. crashed into a wall shortly after the two-time world champion had pitted, with the safety car allowing Alonso to position himself well to take the victory.

Governing body FIA is investigating claims that the French team ordered Piquet Jr. to crash to help Alonso win.

“I’m very surprised. I cannot imagine these things, these situations,” Alonso said. “It’s something that never entered my mind.”

Reports emerged that team principal Flavio Britatore and director of engineering Pat Symonds discussed the idea with Piquet Jr. ahead of the race.

Piquet Jr., who was looking to renew his contract at the time, is pointing fingers at his superiors, while Briatore has implicated Piquet Jr., according to reports of the FIA investigation.

Autosport.com reported that Symonds told FIA that the idea of the crash was spoken but only as a conversation topic and not a plan of action.

Renault will appear before the World Motor Sport Council in Paris on September 21 to answer to charges that could see it thrown out of the sport.

“After the hearing, everything will be clarified and will be the time to say something. But now there’s no sense,” said Alonso, who didn’t feel the current investigation tainted his victory.

Piquet Jr. was fired by Renault halfway through his second season in July.

“It’s hard to think someone would crash a car because they were told to,” Brazilian driver Rubens Barrichello said. “If that’s true then it’s very, very sad. Or else someone wants Briatore’s head.”

Alonso fully supported Briatore and said that the decision of the hearing would not change anything in terms of his future. The Spanish driver is out of contract at the end of the season and heavily linked to Ferrari.

“He’s always been a nice boss with me. A friend, a boss, he supports my career always,” said Alonso. “Flavio is one of the good people here and he has all my support, always.”

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