Mar.31 (GMM) Sacked Renault driver Nelson Piquet, and his triple world championship-winning father of the same name, have launched a libel court action against Flavio Briatore.
According to the Daily Mail, the pair are seeking 200,000 pounds sterling, with the team’s ousted boss Briatore – who was also 24-year-old Piquet’s manager – summoned by the High Court in London.
The suit centres around the Singapore race-fixing scandal known in F1 circles as ‘crashgate’, where Piquet deliberately crashed during the 2008 Singapore GP and blew the whistle on his co-conspirators a year later when subsequently fired for his lack of performance.
The British newspaper report said the Piquets’ libel claim involves a press release which accused the father and son of giving false evidence to the FIA and blackmailing Renault F1.
The press release was issued by Renault F1 in September of last year, revealing that the team and Briatore would pursue Piquet criminally in France and Britain.
Renault, who ousted Briatore when it was clear that Piquet’s accusations were not false, withdrew the legal threats but did not apologise.
The French carmaker then sold most of its Enstone based team to Genii Capital, a Luxembourg based investment company.
“Given Renault F1’s failure to accept the Piquets’ invitation to withdraw the allegations and apologise, they feel they have no other choice but to demonstrate the falsity of these allegations in court,” said the Piquets’ lawyer Dominic Crossley.