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”

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    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…

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