Renault: got off lightly?

The FIA has today given Renault a two-year suspended ban from Formula 1 for their part in the Crashgate scandal.

Former team boss Flavio Briatore has been banned for life from any FIA-sanctioned event, and any driver associated with the Italian will not have their Superlicence renewed should Briatore still be their manager come the beginning of next season.

So that’s Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Heikki Kovalainen and Romain Grosjean about to terminate Flav’s services.

Ex-technical director Pat Symonds is banned from all FIA events for five years.

It’s a messy end for two very clever, successful men who have had a huge influence on F1, but it’s also a fitting punishment for a pair of cheats.

However, the Renault team seem to have got off lightly, walking away with no more than a nominal slapped wrist.

In 2007, McLaren were fined $100 million for their part in the Spygate fiasco, yet they didn’t endanger anyone’s life, whereas Renault’s actions put not only the life of their young driver Nelson Piquet Jnr at risk, but also those of other drivers, track marshals and so on.

You can’t help but wonder if this punishment fits the crime, in light of the precedent set by the McLaren fine.

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