21 Sep 2009

F1 credibility, Renault future at stake

7:01 am on 21 September 2009

The Singapore race-fixing scandal, which has plunged the world's most glamourous sport into a bitter spiral of recriminations and resignations, will push Formula One's credibility to the brink tonight,

Renault face heavy sanctions when they appear before the World Motor Sports Council in Paris to answer race-fixing charges.

The hearing will also go a long way in helping Renault decide whether to continue in a sport which bleeds 300 million euros from a stretched budget every year.

The French factory bosses hope the resignations of flamboyant team principal Flavio Briatore and engineering chief Pat Symonds, following allegations they ordered ex-driver Nelson Piquet to deliberately crash in Singapore in 2008, will guarantee clemency.

Having saidthey will not contest the charges the likelihood is that a heavy fine and a points deduction will be the preferred sentence rather than outright banishment.

However, even that hasn't stopped the clamour for blood from respected voices within a sport which, in the aftermath of other recent acts of skullduggery, are exhausted by the damage caused to F1's image.