Formula One’s governing body has launched an investigation into "alleged incidents at a previous Formula One event".
Although the FIA haven’t yet formally disclosed the race in question, it has been reported by several new agencies that the race in question is the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix held in September last year. The investigation is believed to relate to a crash by Renault’s Nelson Piquet. The race was won by his teammate Fernando Alonso. Alonso started from a lowly fifteenth place on the grid and pitted on lap 12 — two laps before Piquet crashed out. The ensuing clear up operation necessitated the introduction of the safety car and threw the pre-race strategies of many other teams into disarray. Formula One rules prohibit cars entering the pit lane when a safety car in on track. Once the safety car was called off the track on lap 20 many teams were frantically calling in their drivers to refuel. Having already pitted before Piquet’s crash Alonso was able to make his way through the field and up to fifth place. Two 10 second penalties for Nico Rosberg (Williams) and Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber) — who had entered the pit lane while the safety car was on track — helped Alonso eventually go on to take the checkered flag ahead of Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.
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Shortly after crashing out of Formula One’s first race to take place under floodlights, Piquet said: “It was my mistake. We tried two extreme strategies, with Fernando quite short and me quite long, in the hope of getting a safety car. If I hadn’t crashed I would have been lucky with the safety car later in the race because I was very happy.” The FIA have so far refused to confirm that the event they are investigating is Singapore. This season, the FIA has already had to deal with one case of impropriety after Lewis Hamilton and his McLaren team were found to have lied to stewards at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne and were given a three-race suspended ban. Formula One teams who break the rules are subjected to severe penalties as the McLaren team found to their cost in 2007. After being found guilty of spying on rivals Ferrari the FIA fined McLaren a record $100 million and threw then out of that year’s Constructor’s Championship. This year’s Singapore Grand Prix is scheduled to take place on September 27. It is the only night race on the Formula One calendar.