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. 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…

  2. They should call up Robert Wickens instead of Grosjean

  3. 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:

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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….

  7. 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!!!!!!!!

  8. 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.

  9. 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….

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

  11. 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? ;)

  12. 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.

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

    1. True… but Ferrari have got two!

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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…

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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

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