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Renault ban deferred

MOTORSPORT chief Max Mosley maintained that Renault had been dealt the strictest possible punishment despite the team escaping with a two-year suspended ban for their role in the crashgate scandal.<br /><br />Renault were found guilty of an offence of &ldquo;unparalleled severity&rdquo; for ordering their former driver Nelson Piquet Jr to crash during last year&rsquo;s Singapore Grand Prix in an attempt to fix the race.<br /><br />But governing body the FIA&rsquo;s World Motor Sports Council ruled yesterday in Paris that the team&rsquo;s swift sacking of the plot&rsquo;s masterminds, principal Flavio Briatore and head engineer Pat Symonds, meant their punishment should be suspended until 2011.<br /><br />Briatore was given an indefinite ban from all aspects of F1, while Symonds was handed a five-year ban, leaving FIA president Mosley satisfied that justice had been done.<br /><br />&ldquo;I think the blame has been placed where the blame should be placed,&rdquo; said Mosley. &ldquo;The penalty we have imposed is the harshest one we can inflict &ndash; complete expulsion from the sport. However, because Renault have demonstrated they had no moral responsibility for what took place, it would be wrong in the circumstances to impose an immediate penalty.&rdquo;<br /><br />Piquet&rsquo;s crash in September 2008 allowed team-mate Fernando Alonso to win the race, but the Spaniard was yesterday cleared of any blame. However, he will need a new manager, having been among four current F1 drivers handled by Briatore. <br /><br />Italian Briatore may also have to sell his stake in QPR as the Football League prohibits owners who have been banned from other sports.<br />