Nelson Piquet Jnr dropped by Renault

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

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85 comments on Nelson Piquet Jnr dropped by Renault

  1. Markus said on 2nd August 2009, 1:38

    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.

  2. qazuhb said on 2nd August 2009, 2:27

    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…

  3. bwells said on 2nd August 2009, 2:49

    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… :)

  4. bwells said on 2nd August 2009, 2:52

    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…

  5. nelore said on 2nd August 2009, 3:08

    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

    • Karlos said on 2nd August 2009, 12:30

      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…

  6. Bob said on 2nd August 2009, 3:17

    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.

    • qazuhb said on 2nd August 2009, 4:23

      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!

  7. Brian said on 2nd August 2009, 3:22

    They should call up Robert Wickens instead of Grosjean

  8. Chris P said on 2nd August 2009, 5:01

    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:

  9. Hammad said on 2nd August 2009, 6:06

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

  10. jess said on 2nd August 2009, 6:58

    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.

  11. 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….

  12. Jay Menon said on 2nd August 2009, 8:18

    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?

  13. Four Six Tango said on 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.

    • donwatters said on 2nd August 2009, 18:21

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

  14. PJA said on 2nd August 2009, 9:09

    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.

    • Gman said on 2nd August 2009, 17:51

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

  15. Hakka said on 2nd August 2009, 9:28

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

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