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Piquet duo win libel case over Renault

Piquet Junior won substantial damages after Renault admitted libeling him and his former world F1 champion father.
Piquet Junior won substantial damages after Renault admitted libeling him and his former world F1 champion father.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Renault F1 agree to pay damages to former driver Nelson Piquet Jr. and his father
  • The team admitted they were wrong in accusing the pair of lying in a press release
  • Piquet Jr. revealed THAT team bosses ordered him to crash during the 2008 Singapore GP

(CNN) -- The Renault Formula One team have agreed to pay damages to their former driver Nelson Piquet Jr. and his ex-world champion father after accusing the pair of lying in the controversial "crashgate" affair.

Renault have confirmed on their official website that they were wrong to issue a press release in September 2009, in which they claimed the Piquets had lied by suggesting the team had forced Piquet Jr. to deliberately crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

At the time, Piquet Jr. stated he was ordered to crash by team bosses in order to help teammate Fernando Alonso win the race.

And when the case was heard by the World Motor Sport Council, Renault were handed a two-year suspended F1 ban, enabling the pair to sue for libel in British courts.

Admitting they libeled the duo, a Renault statement read: "The team accepts -- as it did before the World Motor Sport Council -- that the allegations made by Nelson Piquet Junior were not false.

"It also accepts that Mr Piquet Junior and his father did not invent these allegations in order to blackmail the team into allowing him to drive for them for the remainder of the 2009 season.

We would like to apologize unreservedly to Mr Piquet and his father for the distress and embarrassment caused
--Renault statement
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"As a result, these serious allegations contained in our press release were wholly untrue and unfounded, and we withdraw them unequivocally.

"We would like to apologise unreservedly to Mr Piquet Junior and his father for the distress and embarrassment caused as a result.

"As a mark of the sincerity of our apology and regret, we have agreed to pay them a substantial amount of damages for libel as well as their costs, and have undertaken not to repeat these allegations at any time in the future.

The Piquets' lawyer, Dominic Crossley, said in a statement that Renault had apologized in court for their treatment of the pair.

"They were both treated appallingly by Renault F1 when they dared to reveal the scandal to the governing body, and Nelsinho was abused terribly throughout his absurdly short career in F1," Crossley said.

"It is to the immense credit of both my clients that they have refused to be deterred from righting the wrongs despite the ferocity of the attacks and the size of the opponents they have had to confront.

"Nelson Piquet dominated F1 during the early 80s and his reputation as a motorsport legend should remain untarnished by this saga."