Although “partners in crime”, the two were handed different penalties as a result of their involvement in the crash gate. While Briatore was banned from all motor racing activities for life, Symonds was only handed a 5-year penalty. When announcing this verdict, the WMSC argued that Symonds showed “eternal regret” for his involvement in the scandal.
We'll now present you with Symonds' full letter to the FIA, in which the former Renault head of engineering admits to the race fixing claims and says he only proceeded to be part of the plan “out of a misguided devotion to my team.”
“I was the one who, when the idea was first suggested to me by Nelson Piquet Jr, should have dismissed it immediately. It is to my eternal regret and shame that I did not do so. I can only say that I did it out of a misguided devotion to my team, and not for any personal gain whatsoever,” said Symonds.
“I consider the role I have played in bringing the team to where it is today to be my life's work. I started the nucleus of the team 28 years ago with only 19 other people. Today it has grown to an organization that directly employs over 500 people and supports innumerable local and international businesses.”
“The last thing I ever wanted to do was to jeopardize that team and the many people to whom I had an overwhelming responsibility. In a single action I have destroyed the high reputation I have built up during a 33-year career in motor sport.”
“I am a competitive person who worked in a high pressure environment. This can, at times, cloud one's judgement. On that night in Singapore last year I made a mistake the consequences of which I could never have imagined at the time. For that mistake I can only offer all of you, and all those touched by the action I was involved in, my profound apology,” added Symonds.
In addition, Symonds insisted the idea of the crash was entirely Nelson Piquet Jr's, and not Briatore's or his.