QPR Report Twitter Feed

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Briatore's QPR Future After "Crashgate" - Speculation and Analysis

- The QPR Report Messageboard: Visit - and even post on - the combination quasi-blog and messageboard for additional up-to-the-minute news about QPR, mixed with QPR nostalgia and items of general football interest.

- QPR REPORT Available on TWITTER!

- Ben Watson speaking
On Joining QPR: "I thought it was going to happen a year ago - for what reason it didn't, I don't know...Then when Wigan came in I had to make a decision and to play in the Premier League was what I wanted to do....I'm here until January and it'll be down to Wigan whether they want to call me back. If not, I'm more than willing to stay on until the end of the season..."

Quote of the Day from Bernie Ecclestone!:/strong>> "Sometimes good things come out of bad," Ecclestone said. "At least he'll have more time to pick the team now." Mirror

- Bad Cardiff!

- Oh oh: Hull City!

- Dutch Supreme Court Rules Football Chant is Offensive

- Conviction Overturned for two re Shouting Homophobic Abuse Against Sol Campbell

- Four Ex-QPR Birthdays Today (Cullip, Fillery, Milanese & Bonds)

- Congratulations to Ian Holloway, whose Blackpool team defeated Newcastle!

BBC/Simon Austin - Briatore's QPR role in spotlight
- Flavio Briatore would have to step down as majority owner of QPR if he was thrown out of Formula 1 by the FIA, BBC Sport understands.
- If Briatore is investigated for alleged race fixing, then charged and found guilty, he would fail the Football League's fit-and-proper person test.
- The Italian stood down as boss of the Renault F1 team on Wednesday.

And the World Motor Sport Council is holding an extraordinary meeting to discuss "Crashgate" in Paris on Monday.
- Briatore left his position with Renault after they decided not to contest charges of fixing the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.
- The team were charged by the FIA, Formula 1's governing body, after driver Nelson Piquet Jr claimed he had been asked to crash in order to help team-mate Fernando Alonso.
- The World Motor Sport Council will have to decide whether to open an investigation into Briatore's personal role on Monday.
- Briatore is co-owner of QPR along with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, as well as being chairman of the holding company that owns the club and a director on the board of the Championship side.
- The qualifying conditions for the fit-and-proper-person test state that nobody can be a director or hold a majority interest in a club if they are "subject to a ban from a sports governing body relating to the administration of their sport".
- The Football League is refusing to comment on Briatore's case before the FIA has made a decision about whether to bring a personal charge against the Italian. BBC

STANDARD/David Smith - Crashgate could still affect Flavio Briatore's QPR ownership
- Flavio Briatore may have walked away from the Renault Formula One team, but that doesn't necessarily mean the London-based millionaire has avoided further action that may still affect his co-ownership of Queens Park Rangers.
- The sudden departure from Renault of team principal Briatore and technical chief Pat Symonds means neither man will now have to attend Monday's Extraordinary Meeting of the World Motor Sport Council at the FIA headquarters in Paris.
- That hearing will examine the claim by Brazilian racing driver Nelson Piquet Jnr that he was asked by Briatore and Symonds to deliberately crash during last year's Singapore Grand Prix in order to help Spanish team-mate Fernando Alonso win the race.
- Renault will not contest the case, which is hardly surprising considering the weight of leaked evidence that an outrageous cheat was perpetrated. However, the very real threat of an immediate ban from the championship, which would inevitably have led to Renault quitting the sport, receded after Briatore and Symonds decided to fall on their swords.
- The WMSC are now likely to impose a massive fine comparable with the record £50million given to McLaren for their part in the 2007 Spygate scandal.

What the FIA have not yet made clear, however, is whether the matter will rest there. What will concern 59-year-old Briatore is the possibility of him facing a personal charge and a ban from the sport.
- If that happens, and he is subsequently found guilty of a major role in the scandal, exclusion from F1 could have huge repercussions.
- The stable of drivers managed by the Italian has included Red Bull's Mark Webber and Heikki Kovalainen, Lewis Hamilton's McLaren team-mate, and Briatore might find it impossible to continue operating without access to the paddock. An even bigger blow could be action brought against him by the Football League under their "Fit and Proper Persons' Test" governing club directors.
- The Football League will not comment on Briatore's position of chairman of QPR's parent company, QPR Holdings, until after the hearing.
- However, as revealed by Standard Sport last week, it has been confirmed that the Fit and Proper test might become applicable to Briatore under the rule that nobody can be a director or hold a majority interest in a club if they are "subject to a ban from a Sports Governing Body relating to the administration of their sport".

- The Singapore affair is yet another stain on a sport which this season alone has been tainted by a row over the legality of world championship leader Jenson Button's Brawn GP car, Hamilton admitting to lying to race stewards, and a threatened breakaway by teams disaffected by the leadership of FIA president Max Mosley.
- Track legend Sir Jackie Stewart has been moved to express his fears for the future of Formula One. The three-times former world champion insisted he was in "no position to judge" the Renault case, but the Scot is deeply concerned about the harm being done again to the sport's image.
- "What I do know is that there is something fundamentally rotten and wrong at the heart of Formula One," he said. "Never in my experience has Formula One been in such a mood of self-destruction." Standard

Guardian - Matt Scott - Flavio Briatore's resignation puts agent and QPR roles at risk• FIA may stop Italian's F1 personal management role
• Any Formula One sanction may jeopardise QPR post

- Flavio Briatore's position as a drivers' agent is expected to come under intense scrutiny from the World Motor Sport Council after the team he led said it would not contest a charge that Nelson Piquet Jr was ordered to crash in the Singapore grand prix last season.
- The Italian former ski instructor was Renault's team principal at the time and his head was handed on a plate to the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile by the French constructor yesterday. But such was the seriousness of the act of cheating – which could have endangered the lives of Piquet and his fellow drivers – the appropriateness of Briatore continuing with his other activities in the sport is also likely to be discussed by the WMC disciplinary body.
- Briatore was also Piquet's manager and represents others such as Red Bull's title challenger, Mark Webber. A senior Formula One insider said: "The wider implications for Flavio and others found to have put Piquet in this position, and what sanctions can be brought to prevent this happening again, are likely to be looked at by the WMC."
- Briatore might find his position as a QPR director also under the spotlight. If the FIA finds against Briatore in a personal capacity he may fall foul of the League's fit-and-proper-person test. That stipulates that "anyone subject to a ban from the involvement in the administration of a sport by a sport's governing body" disqualifies them from holding a boardroom post at a League club. Guardian

The Times - Crashgate’ could force QPR to find new owner Russell Kempson, Gary Jacob
- Flavio Briatore’s departure from the Renault Formula One team, where he was team principal, will not affect his co-ownership of Queens Park Rangers, the Coca-Cola Championship club. For the moment.
- The Football League has declined to comment on Briatore’s exit from the fast lane, but it is understood to be monitoring the situation closely. If Briatore were to be investigated for alleged race-fixing, then charged and found guilty by the FIA, his position at the helm at Loftus Road could be placed in jeopardy.
- Only when the FIA has finished examining “Crashgate” will the League take a view. But if Briatore were to be suspended by the FIA, the Italian might no longer be acceptable to the League as a “fit and proper person”. Anyone who is the subject of a ban from another sporting governing body is liable to be disqualified from owning a football club. Any disqualification could also lead to questions about the continued involvement of Bernie Ecclestone, with whom he took over the club two years ago.
- The Football League brought in a fit and proper persons test in 2004 as part of a general desire to clean up the game and ensure that people convicted of a serious offence could not become directors of clubs. At the same time, it introduced measures for clubs entering administration and asked that agents’ fees be declared. The Premier League was so impressed that it followed suit a year later.
- Some QPR fans have already passed judgment and called upon the flamboyant millionaire to step down. A spokesman for Independent Rs, the supporters’ group, said: “This piece of unsporting behaviour has put QPR in the headlines again for the wrong reasons. There has been talk that the Mittal family would be interested in taking on Flavio Briatore’s stake and we now believe it is the right time for him to move on.”
- Briatore’s tenure has been turbulent since his £25 million takeover, which included taking on a debt of about £21 million. Loftus Road has been refurbished, ticket prices have risen, and he lent the club £10 million to pay off another debt to the ABC Corporation, incurred after they helped the club leave administration eight years ago. However, Briatore’s own debt is scheduled to be repaid next summer and he has since sold some of his stake to Lakshmi Mittal, reportedly the fifth-richest man in the world. The Times

Independent - Briatore pays the price for Renault's desperate gamble
- Richard Rae reports on the day that saw F1 lose its most flamboyant figure – and its last vestige of respectability
- Formula One motor racing was revealed yesterday as a sport in which cheats are not only cynical and ruthless, but are also apparently prepared to risk lives in their pursuit of success.
- The Renault team's announcement that it would not contest charges that it "fixed" last year's Singapore Grand Prix was brief but the implications were stunning. Winning had apparently become so important to certain individuals at the top of the team that a young driver was told to crash so that his team-mate would have a better chance of coming first.
- Renault, which has bases near Paris and Oxford, also confirmed that its team principal, Flavio Briatore, and engineering director, Pat Symonds, had left the team. In so doing, the pair appeared to effectively acknowledge that allegations made by a former Renault driver, Nelson Piquet Jnr – namely that Briatore and Symonds instructed him to deliberately drive his car into barriers so that team-mate Fernando Alonso would move to the head of the field, a charge Briatore denies – were true.
-On Monday, Renault will appear before the World Motor Sport Council in Paris, at which it could be excluded from next year's Championship. It will hope that its actions in identifying and disassociating itself from the men alleged to be responsible make that punishment less likely to be imposed.
- Piquet crashed two laps after Alonso came in for a routine pit-stop, which meant that while the safety car was out as the debris from the Brazilian's car was removed, Alonso was one of the few drivers who did not have to stop for fuel and tyres. The former world champion went on to take his first F1 victory in two years.
- At the time, Piquet blamed the crash on a basic error but, after being dropped by the team after July's Hungarian GP, he and his father, a three-times world champion, spilled the beans to the sport's governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA).
- The initial response from Renault and Briatore was to threaten legal action, but with the mechanical telemetry of the incident apparently supporting Piquet's version of events, the team at least decided to acknowledge the inevitable and throw Briatore and Symonds to the wolves.
- Many people within the sport will say the departure of the colourful and controversial Briatore has been a long time coming, because the former ski instructor has long been one of the sport's most powerful and, at the same time, controversial individuals.
- The big financial breakthrough in what might be described as Briatore's unorthodox business career came as a fixer for the Benetton clothing company, when he was credited with establishing the brand in the US. He first became fully engaged with F1when the clothing company bought the former Toleman team in 1991.
- With Michael Schumacher at the wheel, Benetton won the F1 world championship in 1994 and 1995, in a car which at best pushed the borders of legality to the limit. After that, he was involved in several teams before Renault bought Benetton in 2000 and chose him to lead the team. After replacing Jenson Button with Alonso (one of several drivers Briatore also manages, taking a percentage of their earnings), world championships duly followed in 2005 and 2006.
- Symonds has worked with Briatore for many years. The Englishman was Schumacher's race engineer in 1994 and, while Briatore dealt with the politics, Symonds became the man with overall responsibility for producing a winning car, as well as race tactics.
- The extent of his involvement, as revealed in his faltering, nervous evidence to the FIA, comes as a surprise.
- Given the FIA's reaction to other recent scandals in the sport, however, Renault must fear the worst. The McLaren team was fined $100m and stripped of all its manufacturers points for receiving technical information leaked from Ferrari in 2007.
- Max Mosley, the departing head of the FIA, never got on well with Briatore, but there is also the matter of the team's 700 employees to consider. In the meantime, all the sport can do is suggest the fact the truth has emerged is evidence that, in the end, the cheats have not prospered. Independent

Independent - Chequered flag for playboy of the paddock By Amol Rajan
- Log on to Flavio Briatore's exceptionally snazzy website and the epithets come at you thick and fast (with Italian translation below). "A successful manager", "A versatile entrepreneur", "An inspiring leader", "A competitive achiever", they read, following each other in an interminable cycle of self-aggrandizement. They give some indication of just how flash Flavio is. And how much he knows it.
- Though he can't claim to have been one of Formula One's original playboys (the sport is too old for that), he may be one of the last. Effortlessly flamboyant, Briatore has spent three decades living a life of international glamour, and receiving publicity to match.
- Last year the 59-year-old married Elisabetta Gregoraci, an Italian model three decades his junior. They wed in a lavish ceremony in a 12th century basilica near the Vatican, at which Briatore presented his wife an 18K white gold ring, designed by jeweller DeGrisogono. He had previously dated models Naomi Campbell and Heidi Klum. He has a daughter with the latter, and their relationship is alleged to have finished when he was spotted kissing another woman while she was pregnant. All of which has, of course, been documented by the paparazzi.
- And yet, for all that, he cannot be dismissed as just so much glitz, a schmooze merchant with no nous. Far from it: having been raised by two teachers near Cuneo in north Italy, he worked first as a ski instructor and then on the Milan Stock Exchange. In 1974 he met fashion icon Luciano Benetton, who was so impressed he sent his new protégé to launch the label's operation in the US. In 1989 he launched the Benetton Formula One team, and two years later he poached Michael Schumacher from rival Eddie Jordan.
- Two years ago he bought Queen's Park Rangers with Bernie Ecclestone. On top of that, he owns a company that manages several of the sport's drivers, and in the past few years launched his own "Billionaire" clothing brand. His critics claim the name says all you need to know about Billionaire Briatore. Independent

Telegraph/Kevin Garside - Former Renault F1 managing director Flavio Briatore falls on his sword
- Were Anne Widdecombe to have cast her gaze across the Formula One paddock at any time during the past 20 years she would have needed a torch to pick her way through a crowd that met her characterisation of Michael Howard, in whom she saw "something of the night".
- Stepping down: Flavio Briatore has left Renault following the Singapore race-fixing allegations levelled against the F1 team Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Flavio Briatore would not have been hard to find. His abrupt departure from Renault on Wednesday in the wake of the F1 scandal in which Renault were alleged to have fixed the outcome of a race points to a murky connection with the tawdry episode that saw Nelson Piquet Jnr plant his car into a Singapore wall at turn 17 a year ago.

Piquet alleges that he sacrificed his race under the instruction of Briatore and his loyal lieutenant, Renault's director of engineering, Pat Symonds, who has also quit, in order to shunt unwitting team-mate Fernando Alonso to victory from the shadow of the safety car, which duly came to pass. Briatore denied any wrongdoing.
- Renault to reveal hand on Flavio Briatore Yet the fact that his partnership with the French manufacturer he guided to successive world drivers championships in 2005 and 2006 is over and that the team will not contest the charges of race-fixing, leaves the door open to guilt by association.
- Briatore has always had a casual relationship with rules, and as a consequence has often trailed controversy in his wake. He has been at varying times with differing degrees of success a ski instructor, a restaurateur, a stock broker, a sweater salesman, an entrepreneur and an F1 team principal.
- He made his reputation in business expanding the Benetton clothing franchise across North America. His friendship with owner Luciano Benetton led him into the F1 paddock, first as a guest at the 1988 Australian Grand Prix then as managing director of Benetton F1.
- His first significant move was to poach Michael Schumacher from under the nose of Eddie Jordan, for whom the seven-times world champion made his debut at Spa in 1991. Schumacher's next race was in blue overalls for Briatore. The man he replaced, Brazilian Roberto Moreno, was not informed that he had been axed. Welcome to Flavio's world.
- With Schumacher at the wheel Briatore guided Benetton to successive world championships in 1994 and 1995. The first of those was engulfed by controversy over accusations that Benetton had used banned electronic devices to aid performance and contravened refuelling regulations.
- In the first case the FIA found nothing illegal, but fined the team $100,000 for not releasing engine information quickly enough. In the second case, after a fire in the car of Jos Verstappen at the German GP, they escaped punishment but acknowledged they had removed a fuel filter without permission.
- Dark is only one side of Briatore's colour range. He has led an iridescent private life, dating a string of stunning women including supermodels Naomi Campbell and Heidi Klum, with whom he fathered a child. Time spent in his company was never dull, even though his incoherent ramblings in pidgin English are largely incomprehensible.
- His methods are ruthless. Jenson Button was at the sharp end of Briatore's crocodile loafers in 2003 when he was kicked out of Benetton to accommodate Alonso, despite outperforming Jarno Trulli in the other car. Trulli was managed by Briatore. Infer from that what you will.
- Earlier this year Briatore remarked that Button, whom he once accused of flat-hunting rather than racing during the Monaco GP, had all the personality of a concrete bollard. Perhaps it is personal between them. At least Briatore offered a point of view.
- Those who worked closest to him speak in generous terms about his vision, imagination, loyalty and support. If he trusted you as an engineer or as a media adviser, you were left to get on with it, which inspired confidence among his staff. And in Bernie Ecclestone, the sport's most influential figure and his partner in ownership of Queens Park Rangers, Briatore has a powerful advocate.
- One notes the decision of Symonds to fall on his blade alongside Briatore rather than give evidence against him, despite the offer of immunity from prosecution by F1's regulatory body, the FIA, for his role in the Singapore race controversy. Renault face expulsion despite this turn of events, since it is they and not Briatore and Symonds personally who face the race-fixing charges.
- In one significant sense this trumps rugby's 'Bloodgate' scandal, since the execution of it – it is alleged – risked the life not only of Piquet, but those who shared the track with him that day. The FIA imposed a fine of $100 million (£70 million) on McLaren for pilfering trade secrets from Ferrari two years ago. What numbers will they attach to this grim transgression? Telegraph

The Sun - Briatore faces axe at QPR
- DISGRACED F1 team chief Flavio Briatore faces being kicked out of QPR.
The flamboyant Italian was sensationally axed by Renault yesterday for his part in the Crashgate scandal.
- Briatore, who took over QPR with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone in 2007, could now be booted out of F1 altogether if the sport's governing body decide he is no longer a "fit and proper person".
- And Football League rules state any shareholder or director must be removed if they are banned by a recognised sport's governing body.
- An insider said: "F1 is included on the list of recognised organisations, so the situation is potentially embarrassing for QPR." The Sun

Charles Sale/Daily Mail
- QPR fans, dismayed with the way that disgraced Formula One team boss Flavio Briatore is running their Championship club, have been hoping his sacking from Renault yesterday might result in him failing the Football League's fit and proper test for directors. But the League will only go down that route if Briatore is personally banned by motor racing's FIA ruling body. Mail

- FLAVIO BRIATORE’S colourful F1 career is a wreck after he left his job as boss of the Renault team over the worst case of Grand Prix race-fixing.
- Briatore, 59, and his director of engineering, Pat Symonds, quit after long talks with the French car company’s executives, who will not challenge accusations that a driver was ordered to crash his car.
- The move came as a shock, even to Briatore’s friend and business partner Bernie Ecclestone, the F1 rights holder. “I feel sorry for him, actually,” said Ecclestone.
- “Obviously, I’m surprised at what has happened and I’m taken by surprise that they’ve decided to walk away.”
- The team will appear in the dock in front of the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council on Monday and throw themselves at the mercy of the court.
- The company realised after studying the interviews given by Briatore and Symonds that they were facing expulsion from the sport. Now they will plead that they acted by removing the two men in charge of the team, but they can expect a fine of up to £10million.
- The departures of two of the sport’s longest-serving characters came suddenly despite denials from Briatore, who had even issued criminal proceedings against his former driver, Nelson Piquet jnr, 24, and his father, the three-times F1 world champion.
- Briatore claimed they had tried to blackmail him but the story that gained strength was that he and Symonds spoke to Piquet before last year’s first- ever night race, the Singapore Grand Prix.
- Piquet claimed he was told they wanted him to crash on lap 14 and even marked the exact sport on a map to cause the most chaos.
- He did so, which created the ideal situation for his team-mate Fernando Alonso, who says he knew nothing of the deal, to win the race.
- Briatore could now be hit with a worldwide ban by the FIA, who might also try to prevent him from continuing in his role as a driver manager.
- Briatore, who always admitted he did not know a spanner from a sparkplug, took Benetton and Renault teams to titles. He helped Michael Schumacher to two of his world titles and then did the same with Alonso.
- Symonds, 56, from Bedford, formerly Schumacher’s engineer, has worked with Briatore for most of the 20 years. His evidence given to FIA stewards was said to be evasive and unwilling. "Express

Mirror - Flavio Briatore quits Renault
- Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds have sensationally quit Renault.
- The news comes as the team have decided not to contest the recent allegations made against them, that they conspired with then driver Nelson Piquet Junior to cause a crash at last year's Singapore Grand Prix.
- Despite Briatore's assertion during last weekend's Italian Grand Prix of no wrongdoing, the departure of the team's managing director and executive director of engineering would now appear to point to their guilt.
- Despite this latest astonishing twist in the 'crashgate' scandal, the extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council scheduled for Monday at the FIA's headquarters in Paris will still go ahead.
- Although Briatore and Symonds have fallen on their sword, and their actions will be taken into account, the WMSC may still impose severe sanctions on the team now they have chosen not to launch a defence.
- The FIA charged Renault with "conspiring with its driver, Nelson Piquet Jnr, to cause a deliberate crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix with the aim of causing the deployment of the safety car to the advantage of its other driver, Fernando Alonso".
- Alonso went on to take the chequered flag at Formula One's first night race, his first victory for two years, and at a time when Renault were considering quitting the sport.
- The French manufacturer will almost certainly plead for clemency from the FIA as they will claim the actions of two men should not affect the employment of nearly 700 other staff within the team.
- The FIA have the power to exclude Renault from the championship, although it is anticipated such a strict penalty will not be administered.
- The welter of evidence against Briatore and Symonds was damning in the wake of Piquet Jnr providing the FIA's investigation team with two statements detailing what transpired in Singapore.
- The 24-year-old claimed that, in a meeting with Briatore and Symonds a few hours before the race, he was told to crash his car, and, in a further discussion with the latter, at what point on the circuit.
- Piquet Jnr, fearing for his future with the team, followed through with the order on lap 14, and at turn 17 of the Singapore track, a point where no crane was on hand, so forcing the intervention of the safety car.
- As Alonso had pitted two laps earlier, the safety car period played into the double world champion's hands, allowing him to claim the victory.
- Although suspicions were roused at the time, the matter did not start to surface until just over a fortnight ago at the Belgian Grand Prix.
- The claim is Nelson Piquet Snr, in the wake of his son being axed by Renault after the Hungarian Grand Prix at the end of July, informed the FIA of what unfolded.
- The FIA's investigations led them to offer Piquet Jnr immunity against prosecution in return for his testimony.
- Telemetry data was especially significant as it showed Piquet Jnr accelerating into the crash, rather than braking as a driver would ordinarily do.
- It is understood the FIA also offered Symonds immunity; however, it is now clear he declined, opting instead to follow Briatore out of the exit door.
- Briatore's departure brings to an end the career of one of the sport's most colourful characters.
- The flamboyant 58-year-old Italian started out at Benetton in 1988, overseeing Michael Schumacher's world title triumphs in 1994 and 1995, again in the role of managing director.
- In 2005 and 2006, as team principal at Renault, Briatore helped the French manufacturer and Alonso become world champions. Mirror

MIRROR/Oliver Holt - Flavio Bratore: I quit Renault to save the team Exclusive
- Disgraced Formula One boss Flavio Briatore claimed last night he sacrificed himself for the sake of his team.
- The flamboyant Renault chief and his director of engineering Pat Symonds both quit yesterday as allegations hardened they had fixed last year's Singapore Grand Prix.
- The team's former driver, Nelson Piquet Jr, claimed they persuaded him to crash to help team-mate Fernando Alonso to victory. Briatore spoke out after Renault's bombshell announcement yesterday that they "will not dispute" the race-fixing charges.
- He said he had taken the blame for one of the biggest scandals in grand prix history to rescue Renault's future in the sport. "I was just trying to save the team," Briatore said of his departure. "It's my duty. That's the reason I've finished."
- His position had come under increasing pressure in recent days after it emerged FIA investigators offered Piquet Jr and Symonds full immunity if they told everything they knew about the incident at last September's race.
- Briatore was to have faced a World Motor Sport Council hearing in Paris on Monday to answer the allegations .
- The hearing will go ahead but Briatore will not now appear and it is thought Renault may escape a ban because Briatore and Symonds are no longer employees.
- A £50m fine is a possibility.
Renault have been called to answer charges they "conspired with Nelson Piquet Jr to cause a deliberate crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix with the aim of causing the deployment of the safety car to the advantage of its other driver, Fernando Alonso".
- Piquet crashed two laps after Alonso had come in for a routine pit stop. That meant when race officials sent out the safety car to clear up the debris, Alonso was alone among the front-runners in not having to stop for fuel and tyres and went on to claim his first victory in two years.
- At the time, Piquet blamed the incident on an error, but after being dropped by the team after July's Hungary GP, testified to the FIA he was instructed by Briatore and Symonds when and where to crash" Mirror

Mirror/Oliver Holt - We will survive Formula One meltdown vows Bernie Ecclestone Exclusive
- Bernie Ecclestone did his best to be as nonchalant as always when he surveyed the wreckage of one of Formula One's worst ever scandals last night.
- He said he thought his old sparring partner Flavio Briatore, the man at the centre of the racefixing storm that has stunned the sport, might have been planning to quit F1 anyway.
"He told me recently he didn't want to finish up like me," Ecclestone said, "playing with racing cars at my age. So at least he's been saved that embarrassment."
That, though, is just about all Briatore and grand prix racing have been spared after another dark day in what has been a torrid season of non-stop controversy and infighting.
Briatore's long F1 career effectively came to an end when his Renault team announced yesterday he and director of engineering Pat Symonds had left the organisation.
They also said they would not contest allegations made by their former driver, Nelson Piquet Jr, that Briatore had persuaded him to crash during last season's Singapore Grand Prix.
The disruption caused by the accident at the night race meant Renault's star driver, Fernando Alonso, gained a crucial advantage that won him the race.
The scandal is the last thing F1 needs but Ecclestone remained defiant last night, insisting the sport, which often seems to thrive on such melodramas, would survive.
"It has recovered from so many things when people have said it was finished and it will recover from this," Ecclestone said. "It was supposed to be finished when Ayrton Senna died. It was supposed to be finished when Michael Schumacher retired.
"It has been finished so many times that it's difficult to know when it really will stop but I don't think it will be now.
"People say it's been a torrid year but it always is in F1. There's always something going on. It's never peaceful.
"It is a pity that Flavio has ended his Formula One career in this way. You can't defend him at all. What he did was completely unnecessary. It's a pity that it's happened."
Renault's bombshell announcement yesterday came after it emerged that Piquet Jr and Symonds had been offered immunity if they told everything they knew to the World Motor Sport Council hearing looking into the affair in Paris next Monday.
Some of Piquet's testimony about the crash which happened when his Renault hit the wall at the exit of Turn 17 on lap 14 of the race last September was leaked yesterday and helped to damn Briatore.
"After ensuring I was on the designated lap of the race, I deliberately lost control of my car," Piquet said.
"I did this by pressing hard and early on the throttle. As I felt the back end of the car drifting out, I continued to press hard on the throttle in the knowledge that this would lead to my car making heavy contact with the concrete wall."
Despite Ecclestone's view that the race-fixing conspiracy was "unnecessary", Briatore was under tremendous pressure to deliver a victory in Singapore.
At the time there were persistent rumours that the French manufacturers were poised to quit the sport and were dismayed at their recent lack of F1 success.
There are also suggestions that Alonso had a clause in his contract that allowed him to leave the team at the end of the season if he had not won a race.
Briatore knew that time was running out for both Renault and Alonso to secure the victory they so desperately wanted.
It is a sad way for Briatore's career to end after he helped revitalise F1 in the 1990s with his fresh, open approach with the Benetton team. Briatore snatched Michael Schumacher away from Jordan after just one race and he and Symonds gave him the machinery and the organisation to win two world championships.
In recent seasons, Briatore has become heavily involved with the Formula One Teams' Association, which challenged the authority of the FIA this year.
He also helped to save Queens Park Rangers when he bought the club with Ecclestone in 2007 although his reign has been dogged by accusations that he has interfered with the manager's selections.
"Sometimes good things come out of bad," Ecclestone said. "At least he'll have more time to pick the team now." Mirror

- Ecclestone on Briatore Resignation

- Various Stories/Comments re Briatore Resignation

Weston and Somerset Mercury - Seagulls release midfielder Jeanne
- WESTON Football Club have released midfielder Leon Jeanne after he failed to get to the level of fitness required for the Conference South.
-The former Cardiff City and QPR youngster was unable to get the game time required when on non-contract terms at the Woodspring Stadium.
- Seagulls boss Andy Gurney broke the news to the 28-year-old, who had been on loan at Welsh side Maesteg Park, on Wednesday morning.
- Gurney said: "We've struggled to get him up to fitness.
- "He would need six months of football to get ready for the league because it's physically demanding. Weston Mercury

Our Coca Cola Championship fixture against Crystal Palace, previously scheduled for last night (Tuesday), will now take place on Tuesday 3rd November (8.00pm kick off).
The fixture at Loftus Road was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
Tickets purchased for the original date will still be valid for the re-arranged fixture.
Supporters wishing to claim a refund can do so up to 24 hours prior to the new date. QPR

Blog Archive