12 Sep 2009

FIA offers Piquet Jnr immunity

6:00 am on 12 September 2009

Brazilian racing driver Nelson Piquet junior has been offered immunity from prosecution in exchange for telling the truth about Renault's part in the Formula One scandal surrounding last year's Singapore Grand Prix.

The outgoing president of the sport's ruling body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA), Max Mosley has confirmed Piquet's immunity.

He says the FIA will treat race-fixing as one degree more serious than outright cheating if the charges against Renault are proved.

Renault are due to appear in Paris on September 21 at a hearing of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council to face claims that they conspired to fix the outcome of the Singapore race by asking Piquet junior to crash deliberately and so cause the use of a Safety Car that would give team-mate Spaniard Fernando Alonso a winning advantage.

Mosley explained the scenario just hours after Renault had announced they were taking legal action against Piquet junior and his father Nelson Piquet senior for defamation and attempted blackmail.

The team were incensed by the widespread publication on the internet of a document that appeared to be a leaked version of Piquet's junior's statement to the investigators, working on behalf of the FIA, in the 'crash-gate' probe.

Two years ago, ironically, it was Piquet's team-mate Alonso, then with McLaren, who was offered immunity when the FIA began investigations into the 'spy-gate' affair in which McLaren were found to have many secret Ferrari documents in their possession.