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Rediff.com  » Sports » Renault keen to stay in F1

Renault keen to stay in F1

September 23, 2009 19:08 IST

Renault have told Formula One's governing body they want to stay in the sport and will make changes in their team to ensure a race-fixing controversy never happens again.

They have also withdrawn criminal proceedings in France against Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet and his father, a triple world champion and namesake, for false accusations and attempted blackmail.

Renault F1 carThe former champions, who were handed a suspended permanent ban on Monday, made their position clear in documents posted on www.fia.com the website of the governing International Automobile Federation.

"Renault F1 and its parent company have given serious consideration as to whether it should remain in the sport following the prejudice caused to its corporate image by the conspiracy, in addition to the existing background of financial pressures that have caused car manufacturers to withdraw," the team said.

"But it has concluded that it would like to remain in Formula One and continue to make an important contribution to the sport."

Flavio Briatore and his engineering head Pat Symonds left the team last week before the FIA's hearing in Paris and have yet to be replaced.

Media speculation has suggested France's former champion and team owner Alain Prost could be appointed team principal.

The race-fixing controversy came to light after Piquet was dismissed by the team and told the FIA he had crashed deliberately in last year's Singapore Grand Prix in a plot with Briatore and Symonds to help team-mate Fernando Alonso win.

Renault did not contest the allegations and said in a letter that the conspirators were on "a frolic of their own," acting against the interests of the team and sport in general.

"Renault F1 will introduce a new structure within the team and will review its internal procedures in an effort to ensure that this type of incident will never happen again," the team added.

The team's lawyer, Ali Malek, told the Paris hearing, in a recording also posted on the FIA website, that the criminal proceedings filed on September 11 had been withdrawn.

"French counsel wrote to the public prosecutor last Friday seeking to withdraw the criminal complaint on behalf of Renault F1. It's my understanding that the second complainant, Briatore, has not withdrawn the complaint," he said.

"But it is our intention to draw the line and do everything we can to put this sad history behind us."

Williams team owner Frank Williams, who won championships with Renault engines in the 1990s and has been linked to them again for 2010, sent a letter of support for the French carmaker.

"I do not believe that they would ever condone unfair or unsportsmanlike behaviour," he wrote to the world motor sport council members.

"Any action, however just, which would jeopardise Renault's future participation would be a punishment inflicted not only on Renault but on all participants in our sport and all the fans who follow it."

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