Boss Briatore quits amid Renault race-fixing row

RENAULT&rsquo;S future in Formula One was left hanging by a thread last night after boss Flavio Briatore left the team to face the music on charges of fixing the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.<br /><br />Briatore quit along with executive director of engineering Pat Symonds after the French team decided not to contest the charges ahead of Monday&rsquo;s World Motor Sport Council hearing in Paris.<br /><br />Renault were summoned by motorsport&rsquo;s governing body, the FIA, after former driver Nelson Piquet Jr claimed he had been asked to crash his car by the team in order to help team-mate Fernando Alonso win the race.<br /><br />Initially, Renault angrily accused the Brazilian and his father Nelson Snr of false allegations and blackmail, but a shock statement yesterday revealed the team has taken full responsibility. If found guilty, the FIA could impose a number of sanctions against Renault, including throwing them out of the championship.<br /><br />It is not known whether the pair jumped or were pushed, but with main instigators Briatore and Symonds out of the way, the chances of the team being given such a sanction are significantly reduced.<br /><br />The Renault statement read: &ldquo;The ING Renault F1 Team will not dispute the recent allegations made by the FIA concerning the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. It also wishes to state that its managing director, Flavio Briatore and its executive director of engineering, Pat Symonds, have left the team. <br /><br />&ldquo;The team will not make any further comment.&rdquo;<br /><br />In a declaration to the FIA, Piquet told how he was told to crash his car just two laps after Alonso had come in for a routine pit stop. <br /><br />As a result, it meant Alonso was the only race front-runner who didn&rsquo;t need to stop for fuel and tyres when the safety car was deployed, ensuring the Spaniard could cruise to a first victory in two years. The allegations only came to light after Piquet was dropped by the team before the Hungarian GP in July.<br /><br />Italian Briatore, 59, became team principal in 1991 and was chosen to lead the team after it took over Benetton in 2000. He later promoted Symonds, who began with the former Toleman team in the 1980s.<br /><br />Former team boss and pundit Eddie Jordan believes the fact the team are not contesting the issue is an admission of guilt. &ldquo;This is a clear-cut admission and I am surprised,&rdquo; he said.