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Briatore lands blame in race-fixing row

RENAULT boss Patrick Pelata has heaped the blame on departed team chiefs Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds for the controversial race-fixing row.<br /><br />The French-based team are appearing before the sport&rsquo;s governing body, the FIA, in Paris on Monday after being accused of ordering former driver Nelson Piquet Jr to deliberately crash in last year&rsquo;s Singapore Grand Prix in order to help team-mate Fernando Alonso win the race. <br /><br />Team boss Briatore and Symonds, the executive director of engineering, resigned after Renault opted not to contest the charges.<br /><br />Renault hope the pair&rsquo;s decision to quit will help safeguard the team&rsquo;s future in the sport with an expulsion order among a list of sanctions which could be imposed by the FIA.<br /><br />Indeed, speaking to a French radio station, Pelata, the team&rsquo;s chief operating officer, openly admitted who he holds responsible for the debacle.<br /><br />&ldquo;Flavio Briatore considered he was morally responsible and resigned,&rdquo; Pelata said. &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t want a fault by two people to reflect upon the whole company and the entire Formula One team. <br /><br />&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know all the details but there was a fault and a fault requires a sanction. For the moment we have assumptions but it is clear that basically there was a fault.&rdquo; <br /><br />Briatore claimed yesterday he left to &ldquo;save the team&rdquo; but Pelata would not be drawn on the manufacturer&rsquo;s continuing involvement in the sport and the possibility that they could walk away. &ldquo;This is not the debate today. We will have it calmly,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Formula One is the world&rsquo;s most-watched show and you have to respect that.&rdquo;