Renault has been summoned to appear before an extraordinary hearing of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council later this month to answer charges that it caused a deliberate crash in last year's Singapore GP.
The team's representative have been asked to appear at the hearing, which takes place in Paris on September 21, to respond to claims that Nelson Piquet's crash in the night race was intentional, with the aim of helping teammate Fernando Alonso win.
After it was revealed last weekend that the FIA was investigating the events that took place in Singapore, following the emergence of fresh evidence, the FIA confirmed on Friday that it believed there was a case to be answered. In a statement, the FIA said: "Representatives of ING Renault F1 have been requested to appear before an extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on Monday, September 21, 2009.
"The team representatives have been called to answer charges, including a breach of Article 151c of the International Sporting Code, that the team conspired with its driver, Nelson Piquet Jr., to cause a deliberate crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix with the aim of causing the deployment of the safety car to the advantage of its other driver, Fernando Alonso."
Article 151c is the standard disrepute charge, which can result in any severity of punishment, ranging from reprimands and fines through to race bans and exclusion from the World Championship.
It states an offense is: "Any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally."
Piquet's crash early in the race caused a safety car, and the timing of that was perfect for helping Alonso move to the head of the field despite a very early first stop for fuel. At the time of the event, Piquet was adamant that the crash had been caused simply by him pushing too hard.
"It was my mistake," said the Brazilian. "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. We're always scraping the walls, and once you've touched the wall a little too much and lose control, that's it."
However, it was fresh evidence that came to light in the last few weeks that forced the FIA to take action -- and which has resulted in the WMSC hearing. That evidence has also emerged shortly after Piquet was dropped by Renault, although it is not known if the Brazilian himself was a catalyst for the investigation.
Renault has so far declined to comment about the investigation or make any statement about the latest events.