Renault driver Fernando Alonso says he is”very surprised” by the race-fixing charge levelled at his team over last year’s Singapore Grand Prix.

The French team are accused of plotting with driver Nelson Piquet Jr to crash in the race to deploy the safety car in order to aid Alonso’s path to victory.

“I’m very surprised,” Alonso said on Thursday at the Italian Grand Prix.

“I cannot imagine these things, these situations. It’s something that never entered my mind.”

F1’s governing body, the FIA, has called Renault to a hearing of its world motorsport council on 21 September to answer the charge.

If they are found guilty, they face severe sanctions, which could include expulsion from this year’s F1 world championship.

Renault have said they would not make any comment until after the hearing and Alonso refused to answer questions on the specifics of the allegation.

“I will not comment too much about this because the team said that as a team we will not comment,” the double world champion said.

“For me it’s not even the time to think about, or to pay attention to, this.

“It’s difficult to understand for me all this situation and this investigation. It is just too incredible.”

Piquet was sacked by the Renault team after July’s Hungarian Grand Prix and has since been outspoken in his criticism of Renault team boss Flavio Briatore.

There are reports that the Brazilian has told the FIA that he was asked to crash by the team before the race, and that Renault in their evidence to the FIA investigators denied this.

Asked directly whether he knew of any plan to ask Piquet to crash in Singapore, Alonso said: “No.”

F1 is awash with conspiracy theories about the race and the investigation.

Brawn driver Rubens Barrichello said: “I hope we get the truth.

“It’s easier to crash a Formula 1 car than to drive one. With all the power it’s quite easy to spin and crash, but I would be very disappointed if someone did that because someone said so.

“He [Piquet] is much younger than me but as a person he seems a very fair guy. I was shocked at the allegations. There are lots of rumours, which leads you to have all sorts of different ideas. I would be ashamed if it’s true.”

Alonso won in Singapore last year when Piquet crashed two laps after the Spaniard had come in for a routine pit stop.

That meant that when race officials sent out the safety car to clear up the debris from Piquet’s car, Alonso was alone among the front-runners in not having to stop for fuel and tyres.

At the time, Piquet attributed the crash to a simple error, but he was dropped by Renault after July’s Hungarian Grand Prix and has since been outspoken in his criticism of Renault team boss Flavio Briatore.

The Brazilian specifically cited unequal treatment between himself and two-time world champion Alonso as the source of his discontent.

Former world champions Renault have already been in the FIA dock this season.

They were banned for one race after a wheel flew off Alonso’s car at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

However, the suspension, which would have ruled Alonso out of his home race in Valencia in August, was lifted on appeal.

Source: BBC