Eccelstone Weighs in on the Renault/Singapore Debacle

What Happens When Bernie Knows Everyone and Everything

8:40am EST — F1 commercial boss Bernie Eccelstone is one of the largest personalities in a sport filled with major personalities, and it seems like he knows everyone and has worked with them all in his time in Formula1.  This does make the recent allegations of Renault forcing Nelson Piquet to crash almost a year ago in Singapore even more difficult for the man in charge of F1 advertising and publicity.  Why?  Eccelstone is a close friend of Flavio Briatore, head of the Renault team, Eccelstone is also a close confidant of FIA president Max Mosley, who has a decidedly acrimonious relationship with Briatore, and Eccelstone managed the Brabham team when Nelson Piquet, Sr., whose son’s crash is at the center of the entire debacle, won two world championships.  Oh, and Piquet is a good friend of Briatore, which is, at least partially, why Piquet, Jr. was managed by and drove for Briatore and Renault until this season’s summer break.

No matter how close and personal these relationships are, Eccelstone will (and likely has) managed to irritate someone with his opinion on the issue.  And, there was no way he was not going to weigh in and share.  Tuesday, Eccelstone said, “Flavio is insisting that he knows nothing about it…It will be difficult to prove.  If there is something on the radio that said, ‘Er, Nelson, you’d better crash now’, then what the hell can [Renault] do?”  While discussing the issue with The Daily Telegraph, Eccelstone added, “I think it’s important to establish the truth, but the allegations are very serious…I think it will piss off Renault for a start. Them leaving the sport is a danger, obviously.”  Most definitely a danger, after the pull out of BMW earlier this summer and the constant rumors that Renault and/or Toyota will not have the money to continue in the sport.

Still, though, Eccelstone expressed the skepticism that has been displayed by much of the media that “if it’s just young Piquet saying this because he wants to say it, that’s one thing…If it is true, then I would have thought Nelson was in just as much trouble.  If I tell you to go and rob a bank and you get caught, you can’t say, ‘Bernie told me to’…You can safely say that [Piquet’s] sort of in trouble now… you’d have to wonder what next, wouldn’t you?”

The fact that the original public allegations came from Brazilian TV station Globo, while not diminishing the seriousness of the allegation, have cast some doubt, particularly occurring just weeks after a vociferous media argument between Piquet, Jr. and Briatore when Piquet was released from Renault for failure to perform.  The saga will continue.


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