Copygate – 2020 Styrian Grand Prix

The Renault F1 team has been involved in several controversies (Renault F1 Crashgate being the most serious) over the years. Some have resulted in serious penalties and reputational damage. Here are some of the most notable cases of cheating or rule-breaking by the French team.

Renault F1 Crashgate (2008 Singapore Grand Prix)

Renault F1 Crashgate

One of the most infamous scandals in F1 history was Renault F1 Crashgate. It involved Renault deliberately causing a crash to help Fernando Alonso win the race. The team ordered Nelson Piquet Jr., Alonso’s teammate, to crash his car on lap 14. This was just after Alonso had pitted for new tires. They deployed the safety car and Alonso leapfrogged his rivals and take the lead. He went on to win the race, while Piquet Jr. escaped unhurt.

A year later Piquet Jr. confessed to the FIA about Renault F1 Crashgate. He confessed that the team coerced him into crashing. Renault did not contest the charges and accepted their responsibility. The FIA banned the Manager – Briatore – and Engineer – Symonds from F1 for life. The FIA later reduced the ban to three years.

They disqualified (on a suspended penalty) Renault from F1 until the end of 2011. They granted Piquet Jr. immunity for his testimony, but his F1 career was effectively over.

Renault Cheating f1 – Copygate (2020 Styrian Grand Prix)

The teams was one that protested against Racing Point’s car design in 2020. It claimed that it was a copy of the 2019 Mercedes car.

Renault specifically targeted the brake ducts of the Racing Point car. They argued the devices were illegal and breached the sporting regulations. Renault lodged a formal protest after the Styrian Grand Prix, where both Racing Point drivers finished ahead of both Renault.

The FIA investigated the matter and found that Racing Point had indeed breached the rules. They had used the Mercedes’ brake duct design without designing their own.

They fined Racing Point €400,000 and docked 15 points in the constructors’ championship. It was allowed to keep using the brake ducts for the rest of the season. Renault appealed the decision, along with Ferrari and McLaren. They later withdrew their appeal after reaching an agreement with Racing Point and the FIA.

Renault Cheating F1 – Mass Damper System

In 2006, Renault the FIA found Renault using a mass damper system that gave them an aerodynamic advantage. They banned the system after a protest by Ferrari.

Renault Cheating F1- Information From The McLaren Saga

In 2007, Renault was investigated by the FIA for possessing confidential information belonging to McLaren, as part of the Spygate scandal.

Renault admitted that they had received technical data from a former McLaren engineer, but claimed that they did not use it or benefit from it. The FIA cleared Renault of any wrongdoing, but warned them to tighten their security measures.

Renault Was Disqualified From The Japanese Grand Prix

In 2019, Renault was disqualified from the Japanese Grand Prix after a protest by Racing Point, who alleged that Renault had used an illegal driver aid system that adjusted their brake balance automatically.

The FIA confirmed that Renault had breached the technical regulations and stripped them of their points from the race.


Renault has faced several challenges and controversies in its F1 history, but has also achieved success and glory. The team has won two constructors’ championships and two drivers’ championships with Alonso in 2005 and 2006, and has produced some of the best engines in the sport.

Other Cheats – F1 Teams That Were Found Out

By Jonny Noble

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Jonny Noble I’m a dedicated F1 Writer – and I’ve Been One for Over Four Decades, I’ve been intimately immersed in the world of Formula One for more than 44 years. That’s longer than most professional commentators can boast! As an independent writer, I offer a unique perspective on the entire F1 landscape, free from biases that might cloud the discussion. We dive deep into the exhilarating, frustrating, and captivating facets of the F1 universe. So, regardless of my amateur status, one thing is undeniable: four decades of dedicated F1 fandom have forged strong opinions worth exploring!