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September 6, 2009

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Renault summoned by FIA

RENAULT has been summoned by Formula One's governing body to a hearing into allegations that the team deliberately caused a crash to win a race last season.

FIA said on Friday that the French team had been called to appear before the World Motor Sport Council in Paris on September 21.

The French team is accused of ordering former driver Nelson Piquet Jr to crash during last September's Singapore Grand Prix in order to deploy the safety car, which aided teammate Fernando Alonso, who went on to win the race.

Renault could be fined, banned or even excluded from F1 if found guilty. FIA started the investigation after the claim was made by Brazilian TV station Globo during last Sunday's Belgian GP.

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said earlier this week that both Renault and Piquet Jr would be in serious trouble if the investigation uncovered any type of race-fixing activity. He said the negative publicity might lead Renault to pull out of the sport, following the departures of manufacturers Honda and BMW Sauber.

Piquet Jr crashed heavily on the 13th lap in Singapore, and Alonso's gamble of running a short 12-lap strategy before pitting paid off. The Spanish driver secured an unlikely victory as other cars came in to refuel while Alonso had enough fuel to move ahead of the field.

Piquet Jr was fired by Renault last month after 1 1/2 seasons with the team. The Brazilian driver complained about unequal treatment compared to his two-time world champion teammate.


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