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Formula One awaits race-fixing verdict

RENAULT'S Formula One future is at stake when the team faces the sport's governing body today to answer charges that they fixed last year's Singapore Grand Prix.

The French manufacturer has said it will not contest accusations that the team ordered Brazilian Nelson Piquet to crash his car into a wall so that Spanish team mate Fernando Alonso might win.

The former world champions could be permanently excluded by the International Automobile Federation (FIA) but a fine and/or suspended ban looks more likely despite the unprecedented nature of the offence.

Some fear that a stiff sanction could push the French manufacturer, hit like the rest of the car industry by a sharp drop in sales due to the recession, into following Honda and BMW out of a sport reeling from one scandal to another.

Team boss Flavio Briatore and engineering head Pat Symonds have already left and will not attend the hearing which starts at the FIA headquarters at 0730 GMT, while Piquet has been offered immunity from prosecution.

The FIA has said it has no reason to suspect double world champion Alonso, who is widely expected to move to Ferrari next year, knew anything of a plot seemingly agreed between the two team bosses and Piquet.


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