From shameless cigarette advertising to stiletto-heeled grid girls in skimpy outfits to spending almost the GDP of a developing nation per team ... Formula One never operated in a way that could be described as politically correct. Maybe that was part of its appeal: Formula One was bold, extravagant, and, yes, a little gaudy in a 1970s kind of way, with drivers like dashing daredevils who raced fast, partied hard but respected the rules. But the landscape changed. Tobacco sponsorship was finally phased out before the start of the 2008 season. With four races now in the Muslim world, the female window dressing at some circuits became less revealing. And team budgets have been mercilessly slashed in the wake of a global recession. At the same time, fair play seems to have been forgotten, with 'Crashgate' following 'Spygate' and other assorted controversies as the sport lurches from one scandal to another. The c-word - cheating - now walks hand-in-hand in with Formula One, as tonight's Singapore Grand Prix marks the sombre one-year anniversary of Renault's pre-mediated crash in the inaugural race and the end of a week of embarrassing revelations. As the FIA handed out sanctions to Renault ahead of the race, Red Bull-Renault driver Mark Webber sat on the 32nd floor of the Ritz Carlton Millenia Hotel, looking down on the spot where Nelson Piquet Jnr deliberately slammed into the circuit wall at turn-17 on the 14th lap to help secure victory for teammate Fernando Alonso. 'I'm not going to sit here and stick up for the sport because I'm disgusted as much as the fans are,' said Webber, fourth on the drivers' standings. 'It's disappointing as a young boy growing up, having a dream and watching Senna and all those guys race and when you finally get there things happen that you're not happy about.' Still with a mathematical chance of winning the 2009 world championship with four races left, Webber has had the added distraction this week of facing up to a professional future without the disgraced Flavio Briatore as his manager. 'I've been with Flavio for 11 years and he's been fantastic to me and incredibly loyal,' Webber said. 'Our relationship will still be very good. I know I could still work with him but will other people allow it?' Former Minardi driver Alex Yoong says that by using Briatore as a scapegoat, the FIA has avoided handing out potentially lethal penalties to Renault during a shaky time in the sport. 'If you think what happened to McLaren a couple of years ago when they were fined US$100 million, the punishment for Renault seems too light,' said Yoong, who became Malaysia's first Formula One driver in 2001. 'But Max [Mosley] has managed to get rid of Briatore so obviously he feels that this is enough. When McLaren had their problems, Ron [Dennis] insisted on staying as boss, which Max was not happy about.' Far from the unwilling victim, Piquet Jnr's reputation has taken a battering with reports this week that he may have come up with the idea of the staged crash. His fellow drivers are showing little sympathy to the son of three-time world champion Nelson Piquet who now faces a less than bright future in the sport. Webber said: 'I'm not really sorry for him. If he was driving quick enough and was good enough to do the job, he wouldn't have been in that position anyway.' Yoong added: 'I know him pretty well, and he was unfortunately put in a position that he became desperate to keep his seat. The team should not have taken advantage of that, but equally, Piquet should not have done it. For Piquet to escape no punishment, does not sit right with me.' While Briatore was handed an 'unlimited' suspension and chief engineer Pat Symonds banned for five years, Piquet Jnr was given immunity by the FIA in exchange for full cooperation. There was speculation that Renault had opened itself up to possible criminal prosecution from Singapore authorities. Former world champion Damon Hill was among those suggesting that a driver deliberately crashing as Piquet Jnr did was a life-threatening manoeuvre. But Yoong disagrees: 'It wasn't dangerous at all. You can never account for the unexpected, but drivers have accidents all the time. It was an acceptable risk, and drivers calculate acceptable risks.' Even so, the term 'race-fixing' has entered the consciousness of Formula One and opened a potential can of worms in the minds of disillusioned fans. Next time one driver shunts into another or crashes again in such a way that the safety car is required, how can we be sure that it's not on team orders? And with match-rigging still an all-too-present part of world football, who's to say that crooked punters won't look for a piece of the action? With Jean Todt and Ari Vatanen vying to take over from the outgoing Mosley as FIA president next month, Yoong says that decisive leadership is the key to the sport's rehabilitation. 'Formula One will survive, as long as the FIA remains strong. It's up to them to police the teams, and if the penalties for cheating are severe enough, then teams will not cheat.'