Formula One's governing body has offered immunity to the Renault team's No. 2 official in exchange for full disclosure into allegations that Nelson Piquet Jr. was told to deliberately crash his car in a race last year, a British newspaper reported Tuesday.
FIA has told Pat Symonds, Renault's director of engineering, that he will escape sanctions if he comes clean over how and why Piquet drove his car into the barriers at last year's Singapore Grand Prix, The Times said.
Piquet and his father Nelson, a three-time world champion, have alleged the team ordered the Brazilian driver to crash on lap 14. The accident was allegedly planned so that the introduction of a safety car would help Renault teammate Fernando Alonso win the race, which the Spaniard did.
Renault has been summoned to a hearing of FIA's World Motorsport Council in Paris next Monday. If found guilty, the team could be kicked out of F1, and any officials involved could be given a life ban from the sport.
Team principal Flavio Briatore has denied any wrongdoing. He has started legal proceedings in France against the Piquets for attemped blackmail and false allegations.
Symonds, who has been a key figure alongside Briatore for 17 years, was offered immunity after refusing to answer most questions in initial interviews with FIA investigators, The Times said.
"I have no intention of lying to you. I have not lied to you, but I have reserved my position just a little," Symonds was quoted as saying at one point during the questioning.
FIA could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Times published transcripts Tuesday of the pitwall radio transmissions between Symonds and Briatore, various engineers and Piquet and Alonso leading up to and after the crash in Singapore. The paper said the transcript does not provide "a killer blow against Symonds or Briatore and could be read either way."
Meanwhile, FIA president Max Mosley said in an interview that there seems to be evidence to support Piquet's claims.
"Certainly the data from the car indicated that something very unusual had happened on the corner where he crashed, according to the experts who look at these things," Mosley told The Guardian. "So there was enough there to make it unthinkable not to investigate."