Nelson Piquet Jnr dropped by Renault

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Nelson Piquet Jnr's tenure at Renault is at an end
Nelson Piquet Jnr's tenure at Renault is at an end

The Hungarian Grand Prix was Nelson Piquet Jnr’s last start for Renault, according to sources at the team.

His replacement has not been officially confirmed but is expected to be Renault Development driver Romain Grosjean. Piquet’s replacement will either race at Valencia or Spa-Francorchamps, depending on whether the team’s appeal against its ban is successful.

Grosjean, currently second in GP2, drove for the team in one of their allocated straight-line tests this week (Pics on BritsonPole).

As discussed here earlier today, Piquet’s future at the team has been in doubt for some time. Indeed many were surprised when he was given a second season with the team.

He is the second of the rookies of 2008 to be dropped by his team within the space of a month. Fellow 2008 debutante Sebastien Bourdais had his Toro Rosso contract terminated after the German Grand Prix.

Promoting Grosjean would continue Renault’s practice of elevating young drivers to their squad via GP2.

Heikki Kovalainen was the first, being placed in the squad in 2007. After a shaky start he soon began out-performing Giancarlo Fisichella and brilliantly held off Kimi Raikkonen for second in the pouring rain at Fuji. But nonetheless he was dropped to make way for Piquet along with Fernando Alonso.

Piquet who, like Kovalainen, was a GP2 championship runner-up, scored one podium finish last year in somewhat fortuitous circumstances at the Hockenheimring. He insists the gap between himself and Alonso is at least partly explained by his team mate getting better equipment.

Grosjean’s GP2 form has been a little patchy. He won the inaugural GP2 Asia championship with ease but could only manage fourth in the main series last year.

He began this year’s campaign brightly with two wins from the first three races – but he hasn’t been back to the top of the podium since. His heavy crash at Monaco was one of a series of unnecessary incidents which have cost him valuable points.

As Piquet knows well, any such failings are brutally exposed in the cut-throat world of Formula 1.

Read more: Alonso and the Piquet-Renault fall-out

85 comments on “Nelson Piquet Jnr dropped by Renault”

    1. If I were Renault I would be trying to snap up Kubica…

  1. Why am I not remotely surprised by this? Quite apart from Nelson’s driving, the manner with which he referred to Flavio’s level of knowledge about F1 sounded like someone who was looking for somewhere to park his career.

  2. ‘His heavy crash at Monaco was won of a series’

    I’m not surprised, and actually quite glad. He’s been hogging a seat which could be better used for a potential star.

  3. Can’t say I’m surprised. What took them so long??

  4. My topic in the forum had speed saying he’ll be gone after Hungary. Renault couldn’t release him because him and Fernando were running slightly different cars. (according to his contract)

  5. There was always an inevitability about this news. Maybe Piquet has been hard done by but then again maybe he is not fit for Formula 1. However, I’m not all that convinced by Grosjean’s credentials either and, like it was for Piquet, this may be his chance and he had better perform.

    1. I can’t agree any more with what you have stated there, Dougie.

  6. Mussolini's Pet Cat
    1st August 2009, 23:56

    here here Dougie, prehaps Renault should take a leaf out of Ferrari’s book and get an experienced hand. So how about Piquet’s old man for instance?? or even Stirling Moss?

  7. Mussolini's Pet Cat
    2nd August 2009, 0:00

    It’s also worth pointing out that Grosjean will not be able to practice in the current Renault F1 car. No pressure then…..

  8. Toby Bushby
    2nd August 2009, 0:15

    It’s worth it to Renault to stick an untried rookie in the car at this point. It’s not like Piquet was bringing any points in anyhow. This way, if Grosjean can’t get to grips, they can boot him before the winter tests and try another guy. There’s two BMW drivers available, I hear.

    Piquet was right about one thing. The Flav is about money. But (and I quote Homer Simpson) “he gets results ya stupid chief!”

    Obviously Papa Bear couldn’t get enough to save Junior’s seat this time.

  9. Quelle surpise. Frankly, I’m surprised he held onto that seat as long as he did. I don’t particularly approve of drivers being replaced mid-season – after all what is Grosjean going to be able to do with the car that Nelsinho wasn’t? Especially with the testing ban this year.

    But I will miss Nelsinho for the eye candy, though ;)

  10. I was a fan of your father!

    But you better think of something else to do.

    Not F1 material…

  11. Grosjean is not F1 material. He will be out at the end of season.

  12. Translated in Bablefish…

    Rumors point that through its entrepreneur, father Nelson Piquet, Nelsinho would be next to close with another teams to remain in the category in 2010. One of the possibilities would be to run for the Williams in the next year.

    1. You left out the last paragraph, the most interesting in my opinion, altough it is a little bit of a stretch (the first 2 paragraphs don’t say anything new btw).

      4th paragraph:

      However, on his Twitter page, the pilot posted a message saying “the staff fueled the rumors about BMW and so…I just want to say I really like the name Piquet F1. What do you think?”. To many, the statement by Piquet was understood as the possibility studied by the three-time world champion Nelson Sr., to take his team, currently in GP2, to the F1 circus, on the vacant spot left by BMW at the end of the 2009 season.

      I don’t think Piquet F1 has a chance of getting on the Grid on 2010 really (unless they buy the BMW Sauber Team, which is very unlikely in my opinion), but it is interesting to know they’re studying the possibility of going into F1 at all (this is news to me at least).

      1. Ok…I´m sorry, to be honest I didn´t understand what I was reading,that´s why I left it.
        The Bablefish traslator is a bit tricky sometimes, and it doesn´t help with the english…same porblems there sometimes when your not use it as your everyday language. ;)

        Peter Sauber said: He said he does not know what is going to happen next, admitted a Honda/Brawn solution is an option, and insists that “time is short, a solution must be on the table as quickly as possible”.

        So I really hope it´s going to be a BMW/PiquetF1 solution !! :) Nelson jr ain´t that bad as he has show latley, his only stressed more than you can imagine, by some ppl I don´t want to mention here.Under such circumstances anybody can fail with their job.Even you,even me…we are only humans ;)

  13. I’ll agree with Piquet that Flavio doesn’t seem to know much about F1. He should never have let Piquet drive that car for another year. Piquet showed absolutely no progress at all in 2008 (same amount of time behind Alonso in qualifying, same ratio of crashes during the race), so why give it another year?

    1. That´s true about Flavio. I read about him several year ago in a F1Racing Magazine, and Flavio Briatore himself said that he was good at business but he didn´t know much about F1(technical,statistics,historical)… He said “It´s not my job”.

    2. I’ll agree with Piquet that Flavio doesn’t seem to know much about F1.

      Well, maybe he doesn’t know anything about F1, but he hired the two drivers who has had more success in the last decade: Michael Schumacher and F Alonso.

      Not to bad for an inexpert!

      1. Yeah Briatore stole Schumacher from Jordan and I’ll bet something fishy went on when Alonso was teken over from Minardi.

        Anyway, I was joking obviously. Since my statement doesn’t agree with Piquet.

        Still I do think it was poor judgement of Briatore to renew Piquet’s contract. You have to be utterly blind to have seen (possible) improvement there.

  14. You’re well ahead of the posse on breaking this story Keith – well done! No surprise really… he seems like a nice enough boy, but inclined to whine and run to Daddy when the nasty men didn’t give him the best toys. Lewis Hamilton might fit the same profile, but he’s just a waaaay better driver!

    Piquet had more than enough chances, and really, I doubt he would have got to F1 at all without the name. I’m looking forward to seeing the next man get his shot… Alguersuari showed that it can be done.

    1. In what way is Lewis Hamilton like Nelson? Does Lewis have a famous father in F1, no. Has he ever whined about his team/boss? Not that I recall. Do you have any evidence? or are you just making ‘noise’.

  15. I don’t buy this one for one second. Flavio Briatore would never even consider drop a driver of Nelson Piquets undoubted calibre.

    No, what I think is this: Piquet will race on under the guise of Roman Grosjean, wearing a rubber mask. Grosjean will instead rob Las Vegas casinos on race weekends with the ultimate alibi, providing that he shares the money with Briatore, Piquet and Pat Symonds.

    Needless to say, it would not surprise me one bit if Toro Rosso have pulled the same trick with Sebastien Bourdais.

    1. Haha, good one !

  16. They choose him because he was worthless, now they fire him for the same reason. He must be very rubbish, and Flavio must think Grosjean is a little bit, too, so Alonso doesn’t get angry…

    1. …or should I say “they chose him”, my English is abysmal

      1. It’s better than some :)

    2. Or Alonso is definitely for the off and he’s looking at his successor?

  17. Well let’s hope that this is true… Nelson has had more than enough time and as Patrickl already said… he did nothing last year and less in 09… so maybe this is a chance to give the kid a shot and see what he does with it.. if he’s impressive… keep him and carry on… the BMW boys could very well replace Fernando next year… but that’s a whole other ball of wax… :)

  18. I don’t think that Fernando had any worries about getting upset with his # 2 driver when Nelson’s the guy… or anybody for that matter…

    1. God I’m Canadian and MY english is abysmal… lol

  19. Prepare thyself young are next to the legend in his own mind, the superior, elevated Fernando Alonso. He gets the goodies and you get the crumbs, when lucky

    1. Yeah, the story in all of this is that RG is gonna be f***ed over just like NPJ was and his F1 career won’t last too long either. Though having said that if Alonso moves to Ferrari next season then at least he will only have to endure it for a few races and might escape with with some reputation intact.

      We all know Alonso’s character flaws (although he has matured a bit over the years) and the impact it has on his team mates – with one notable exception of course, and look what happened there…

  20. I feel Nelson was not thoroughly prepared for Formula 1. The boy has speed, but was too raw for F1 perhaps? Certainly, he did not deserve even a second season with Renault. Heikki was far better in his debut, and by mid-2008 it was clear that Nelson was not going to live up to that.

    1. Perhaps Heikki is a little bit better, but McLaren are facing the same problem as Renault, they would get better results with other pilot(s), but Hamilton would go mad if he got jumped up by his teammate… It’s proving very hard to find a new Gerhard Berger!

      1. or another it two r’s and two ll’s or what…

  21. They should call up Robert Wickens instead of Grosjean

  22. I don’t care how much these young guys want to be in Formula 1, no job in the world is worth having this as your boss:

  23. Finally… don’t think Grosjean will be any better though.

  24. man well, making it to the top and go within two years seems to be the way F1 works. Well we will see who is next.

  25. Grosjean isn’t confirmed yet, right? Flav might just have another trick up his sleeve.

    Would Piquet sr. seriously consider starting an F1 team for his son?! He certainly seems to believe in him a lot….

  26. It was time for Piquet to go, he’s been consistently under performing.

    Piquet F1? Interesting, Nelson is a 3 time Champion afterall, and he has the contacts and the financial backing as well, you never know. Buying out BMW Sauber would be a great deal because they current team setup is first class, they’ve got all the facilities already.

    Looks like Grosjean will be the replacement, who else can it be?

    1. Seb Bourdais maybe ? :-)
      Hmmm just kidding…

    2. Lucas di Grassi perhaps?

      1. SATO!!!!!!!!

  27. Four Six Tango
    2nd August 2009, 8:44

    I bet piquet will be back at one of the new teams if BMW is saved.

    He should do what Massa did and become a test driver in order to improve his confidence and skill.

    1. Good idea, but…Massa was a test driver when they could actually test. That’s no longer the case.

  28. I don’t think anyone will be surprised if Renault have decided to drop Piquet, as it has been on the cards for a while and a lot of people were surprised that he got a chance at a second season.

    I thought the only thing that may save him would be the problems there are now of changing a driver mid season because of the testing ban, but after Alguersuari’s performance in Hungary Renault may have thought it wouldn’t be that big a deal.

    I wonder if Renault will ask if they can have a days testing for Piquet’s replacement like Ferrari have done with Schumacher, although the other teams may see Schumacher’s test as a one off as Ferrari were forced to replace Massa because of injury not through choice because of poor performance like Toro Rosso and Renault.

    When there were the rumours that Piquet would be replaced before Hungary I wondered if Renault’s decision to replace him now could be influenced by where Alonso was planning to be next year. As if Alonso is going to Ferrari it would mean Renault would have to replace both drivers at the same time if they kept Piquet till the end of the season.

    1. Good question on the testing days, but whoever replaces Piquet dosen’t exactly have the clout that Schumi dose….

  29. Nice scoop Keith, I don’t think any other major outlet is reporting this yet.

  30. Which former world champion can renault get in?!

    1. Well they used Villeneuve once before and he is on the hunt for a drive…

      1. Wouldn’t that be a hoot?

    2. Nelson Piquet Snr? ;)

  31. My guess is that the replacement is going to be a no hoper. Alonso would throw his toys out of the pram if he was challenged and Flavio wouldn’t be able to control two good drivers.

  32. well they already have Alonso as their foremer WC.

    1. True… but Ferrari have got two!

  33. I agree with you Hammad. I don´t expect much from Grosjean,I think Alguersuari is much more competitvive compared to Grosjean.

  34. It will probably be Grosjean but if Renault know that Alonso is leaving at the end of this season(does Briatore manage him?) then they could be making way for his replacement. This would be a good move as it would give him 7 races to settle in, learn how the team works and get fully up to speed. Engineers could then develop the 2010 car around this very very particular young man.

  35. sounds like dad and jnr are putting their own F1 team together to give him a ride:


    1. That’s him goading people who are coming up with various rumours that the Piquet family is taking over BMW/joining Supernova etc etc.

      1. That would be quite amusing!!

    2. He did only say he did like the name PiquetF1. I told him on friday he should talk to hes father and buy BMW…hahaha ! :P
      It´s a must !! And to day I tryed to push him more, and look for strong brasilian sponsors tomorrow and hurry up !!
      If it be a fiasco they have at least tryed to move on…

  36. The Hungarian Grand Prix was Nelson Piquet Jnr’s last start for Renault, according to sources at the team.

    Keith, whilst I don’t for one minute deny that Piquet has been given the chop at Renault, that paragraph in itself isn’t really concrete evidence that he has, unless you can divulge who these ‘sources’ and or quote them?

    1. It’s one of the age-old questions of reporting, how far you can go into divulging a source and at what point a story becomes a story. My judgement based on what I’ve seen is that this story is accurate.

  37. Can’t say I’m surprised – although I thought Piquet Jr was showing some signs of improvement, having actually out-qualified Alonso in Germany.

    Hang on though … could it be that Alonso, whose attitudes towards being out-done by team-mates are well-documented, threw his toys out of the pram as a result of this?

    Not that Piquet Jr’s comments about Flavio B helped his chances of staying in the team in the slightest, mind you.

    I am concerned that Grosjean won’t get a fair chance though, not because of Alonso but because of the testing ban. Depending on when Renault next race, he’ll have no experience of the car.

  38. Andrew White
    2nd August 2009, 12:04

    I think it’s about time someone else got a go. Piquet’s had his chance and hasn’t been good enough, while there are lots of drivers who haven’t had a chance yet. Good luck to whoever replaces him.

  39. So, he needed half of Alonso’s points tally. Double Piquet’s tally and you get, well…

  40. That was not the right team for him. Renault has always done things in a different way, focused their development on a single driver, so its no surprise. His mouth has often run faster than his wheels, and was already making excuses before his very first race. STR would have been the right starting environment for him. I remember how worried Piquet senior looked on the German grid. :-(

  41. Piquet never had a chance with this team and as long as Alonso is there he would have always had lesser equipment regardless of what the team says. The are all propaganda mouthpieces anyway.
    Alonso is a priemadonna just like Senna was(he ruined Derrick Warrick career), he cannot stand having a teamate that is remotely competitive and on top of that Briatore will kiss Alonso’s butt to give it to him.
    If Grosjean starts being competitive with the Renault watch what happens, they will submarine him just to satisfy Alonso.
    Piquet maay have wanted a F1 seat and may deserve it, he hust has poor choice in managers and teams to sign up with. If he had been with a lesser team he would be fine right now.

  42. I don’t think Alonso will care if his new team mate is competitive, if next year he is in a Ferrari. By the way, Does anyone know what’s going to happen with Heikki next year? will he still be at McLaren?

  43. Tough situation from the start, as it was always going to be the Alonso show. But I do wonder if anyone else could have gotten better out of the car than Piquet did. Guess we’ll just need to see what Grosjean has up his sleeve.

  44. Has Bruno senna know the phrase “out of site-out of mind”? Enjoy sports car racing Bruno.

  45. I guess it’s just undoable for anyone to race alongside drivers like Alonso, Hamilton(?) or Schumi. Those guys just have all their teammates for breakfast and if not, the teammate is championship material himself.
    We will never know, if Piquet is as ‘good’ as Trulli, Fisi, Kovaleinen, Nakajima etc etc

    1. I believe that Hamilton doesnt care who his teamate is.
      Schumacher cared to a great extent but Alonso absolutely doesnt want anyone who can steal his thunder.
      McLaren ran Lauda and Prost without issues or they hid them. They only had problems when Senna came into the team.
      The same went at Ferrari with Prost and Mansell until the end of the last season.
      But that was a different time with more mature people running the teams and the sport.
      Piquet should have partnered with a different team that wasnt expecting the world out of him as well as thinking they would be championship contenders.

  46. I like this….more seats opening up for Kubica and Heidfeld every day!

    1. I dont think they will end up with anywhere to go though.

  47. RG will have a short career. GP2 only has 5-7 decent drivers in it, and Grosjean has not shown he is clearly leading this group. He’s no Hulkenberg. Piquet’s claim to fame has been being second best to Hamilton in that series. That’s simply not a stellar credential in GP2.

    He’s not as good as Kovalainen. KOV always has some kind of set up trouble, graining, whatever, on Sundays, but he qualifies just as well as Hamilton. Rosberg is a similar story. But those guys are fast — and would be winners if they knew how to manage a car.

    Grosjean’s best chance is that Flav can’t find anyone to fill the first chair except for some journeyman when Alonso bounces. He might get to race Sutil or Luizzi, who may match his volume of mistakes.

  48. This news has not been confirmed by no one else and I checked all the Brazilian sites!

  49. Piquet Sr, get your own team but do not name the beast “Copersucar”, been there done that and it faaailed

  50. It would be great if Piquet Senior started (or bought) a team. He’s been successful in just about everything he has ever done. Is very well connected, too. I have no doubt he could make it work. Might need a better driver than his son, though.

  51. His statement is a pretty interesting read:

    Confirms his departure from Renault among other things.

  52. Nelson has released a statement on his website

  53. I love how he calls Briatore his executioner… quite the flair for the dramatics… I think he pulled his own rope… the bottom line for me… when your drive is on the line and you have the same equipment as Fernando then you go to the press and say “I will beat me teammate”… you better get it done… and again he was slower.. I guess time will tell for who knows what will happen in the future… as much as I didn’t like him at Renault.. I hope that he finds peace with daddy… :)

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