Friday, September 18, 2009


Formula One has had its share of scandals in recent months, but nothing tops this new one: the Renault team ordered driver Nelson Piquet Jr. to deliberately crash his car into a concrete wall at last year’s Singapore Grand Prix (a tight street circuit where fans are close behind fencing) so that his Renault teammate, Fernando Alonso, could go on to win the race. It not only takes cheating to a higher level, but Piquet’s crash was a significant one. “We’re not talking about a spin here, we’re talking about quite a large accident, which is quite extreme. It would go against every instinct you would expect a driver to have,” former F1 champion Damon Hill told the Associated Press. Renault’s Fumble, notwithstanding that a few members of team management have resigned over the incident, is for not apologizing or showing any remorse for what happened, or empathy for the fans who could easily have been injured by flying debris. Not to mention apologizing to Piquet Jr., who revealed the “crash order” after leaving the team. Renault initially denied it, then confirmed what had happened. “All I have asked is we do not react in the heat of the moment, that we examine the facts and look at exactly what happened,” Renault president Carlos Ghosn said, referring to an investigation that has been launched. Folks, in a crisis, you apologize, show empathy, explain how you have fixed the problem and what steps you’ve taken to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Instead, Renault’s message to the public was “don’t pre-judge us.” Hey, you ordered the guy to crash (and potentially risk his life) so your other driver could win a race. Are you kidding?

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