Piquet’s scathing attack on Briatore

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

Nelson Piquet Jnr has hit out at Renault F1 boss Flavio Briatoret
Nelson Piquet Jnr has hit out at Renault F1 boss Flavio Briatore

As first reported here on Saturday, Nelson Piquet Jnr has been dropped by Renault.

And a statement from the Brazilian today gives insight into the simmering resentment between him and team boss Flavio Briatore.

We discussed the Renault situation last week and there was some disagreement over whether Briatore had compromised Piquet in trying to keep Alonso happy. Has Piquet got a point or, as Briatore alleged, is this just him reciting from the drivers’ book of excuses?

I have received notice from the Renault F1 team of its intention to stop me from driving for them in the current F1 season. I want to say thanks to the small group who supported me and that I worked together at Renault F1, although it is obviously with great disappointment that I receive such news. But, at the same time, I feel a sense of relief for the end of the worst period of my career, and the possibility that I can now move on and put my career back on the right track and try to recover my reputation of a fast, winning driver. I am a team player and there are dozens of people I have worked with in my career who would vouch for my character and talent, except unfortunately the person that has had the most influence on my career in Formula 1.

I started racing at the age of eight and have broken record after record. I won every championship I raced in go-karts. I was South American F3 champion, winning 14 races and getting 17 pole positions. In 2003 I went to England, with my own team, to compete in the British F3 championship. I was champion there as well, winning 12 races and getting 13 pole positions. In fact I was the youngest ever champion. I raced GP2 in 2005 and 2006, winning five races and scoring six pole positions. I had a great season in my second year, only missing out on the championship to Lewis Hamilton due to technical mistakes of our team, which I take as my own as well, including running out of fuel during a race. I set the record in GP2 for the first driver to have a perfect weekend, scoring the maximum points available, in Hungary 2006. No-one matched that until July 2009 when Nico Hulkenberg did in at Nurburgring.

The path to F1 was always going to be tricky, and my father and I therefore signed a management contract with Flavio Briatore, who we believed was an excellent option with all the necessary contacts and management skills. Unfortunately, that was when the black period of my career started. I spent one year as a test driver, where I only did a handful of tests, and the next year started as a race driver with Renault. After the opening part of the season, some strange situations began to happen. As a beginner in F1, I could only expect from my team a lot of support and preparation to help me in getting up to the task. Instead, I was relegated as “someone who drives the other car” with no attention at all. In addition, on numerous occasions, fifteen minutes before qualifying and races, my manager and team boss (Briatore) would threaten me, telling me if I didn’t get a good result, he had another driver ready to put in my place. I have never needed threats before to get results. In 2008 I scored 19 points, finished once on the podium in second place, having the best debut year of a Brazilian driver in F1.

For the 2009 season Briatore, again acting both as my manager and team boss of Renault F1, promised me everything would be different, that I would get the attention I deserved but had never received, and that I would get “at least equal treatment” inside the team. He made me sign a performance-based contract, requiring me to score 40% of Fernando Alonso’s points by mid-way through the season. Despite driving with Fernando, two-time world champion and a really excellent driver, I was confident that, if I had the same conditions, I would easily attain the 40% of points required by the contract.

Unfortunately, the promises didn’t turn into reality again. With the new car I completed 2002km of testing compared to Fernando’s 3839km. Only three days of my testing was in dry weather – only one of Fernando’s was wet. I was only testing with a heavy car, hard tyres, mostly on the first day (when the track is slow and reliability is poor), or when the weather was bad. Fernando was driving a light car with soft tyres in the dry, fine conditions. I never had a chance to be prepared for the qualifying system we use. In Formula 1 today, the difference between 1st and 15th position is sometimes less than a second. It means that 0.2 or 0.3s can make you gain eight positions.

In addition to that, car development is now happening on a race-to-race basis due to the in season testing ban. Of the first nine races that I ran this year, in four of them Fernando had a significant car upgrade that I did not have. I was informed by the engineers at Renault that in those races I had a car that was between 0.5 and 0.8s a lap slower than my teammate. If I look at Germany (where I out-qualified my teammate despite that), if I had that advantage in qualifying I would be fifth and not tenth. If we had that difference in the race, I would have finished ahead of my teammate, which I did in Silverstone, despite him having upgrades that I did not have.

I believe without doubt in my talent and my performance. I didn’t get this far by getting bad results. Anyone who knows my history knows that the results I am having in F1 do not match my CV and my ability. The conditions I have had to deal with during the last two years have been very strange to say the least ?ǣ there are incidents that I can hardly believe occurred myself. If I now need to give explanations, I am certain it is because of the unfair situation I have been in the past two years. I always believed that having a manager was being a part of a team and having a partner. A manager is supposed to encourage you, support you, and provide you with opportunities. In my case it was the opposite. Flavio Briatore was my executioner.

Being under pressure is not new to me. I have had criticism throughout my career, and have also had a lot of expectations put on me due to my name. Up until now I always met those expectations ?ǣ surpassed them even. I have never before felt the need to defend myself or fight back from rumours and criticism because I knew the truth and I just wanted to concentrate on racing ?ǣ I didn’t ever let it affect me. Fortunately, I can now say to those people who supported me through my career that I’m back on the good tracks and considering the options for a new start in my F1 career in a fair and positive way.

I’m on Sky News tonight (Monday) at 7pm talking about Felipe Massa and his replacement Michael Schumacher.

155 comments on “Piquet’s scathing attack on Briatore”

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  1. Good post. That’s why I posted the link from his site in the previous Nelson blog as I think its a very interesting read and about as close to getting inside the real F1 world as we are ever going to get for now…

  2. Sush Meerkat
    3rd August 2009, 18:45

    what channel is Sky News on? because I have the capibility to watch it tonight! woohoo.

    1. Sky news is on ‘sky news’

      1. are you sure?

        1. Yes,

          Broadcast from the astra satellite @28.2 degrees east to the UK and Ireland. And on Freeview Terrestrial TV channel 82. Also carried on Cable. Called SKY NEWS. I’m sure their are other places you could view it.

          any more questions?

          1. *there

        2. He put a blame on his boss. what a shame!

  3. Williams 4ever
    3rd August 2009, 18:46

    Even if every word of this release is true all that the Brazilian has done is given the British/European Press/Pundits to use the clichéd headlines on “Latino temper”.

    Discretion was better part of valour Nelsinho, what was needed to put your head down and go about Quitely “Executing” your career plans, rather than getting branded for life as “Bad Boy”.

    Its not just important to speak the truth, what matters is timing of the truth. Unless of course Piquet Sr. Pulls some strings I don’t see second chance coming for the lad. Good Luck Nelsinho

    1. Discretion was better part of valour Nelsinho

      Jonathan Leggard is that you???

      1. Casino Square
        4th August 2009, 11:58

        Just what I was thinking!

    2. Briatore can be a caustic guy. It is just wrong that every time a driver says as he sees it, people jump on him with all sorts of stupid advice. Piquet and recently Rubens are human beings and not drones following the instructions of their bosses. If Briatore behaved badly, which we all know he does every so often, then kudos to Nelsinho for saying the truth. If we need dronic drivers, then let’s hope that FIA will open up the technical regulations so that computers rather than people drive the cars. Afterall the technology exists.

  4. Hmmm interesting.

    He seems like a decent enough bloke, and although it’s easy to look at his performances and say he’s just rubbish, perhaps he does have a point. Being Alonso’s teammate, as we know, is not likely to be much fun.

    I guess I feel sorry for him. Hope he can get his career back on track and ‘do a Glock.’

  5. Andrew White
    3rd August 2009, 18:58

    I assume he will be replaced by Grosjean, who, unless Renault’s appeal is successful, will be debuting at Spa. Good luck to him!

  6. I can’t be bothered to read the whole article. It’s all full of excuses…

    1. Mark Hitchcock
      3rd August 2009, 19:11

      Perfectly reasonable excuses by the looks of it.

      I never thought Piquet Jr was F1 material but if what he’s said is true (which it probably is, we all know how much of a hard-on Briatore has for Alonso and we’ve seen the pictures of him leaving the race at Hungaroring, showing no patience with Piquet etc.) then I do feel a bit sorry for him.
      Even if he wasn’t good enough for F1, he at least deserved a fair chance and it seems he didn’t get one.

      1. Where does it say what exactly made his chaince “unfair”?

        It’s a list of excuses. Extremely daft ones at that. Are you seriously buying that all it would have taken was for Briatore to show Piquet some love and then he would have gone like the wind?

        1. Mark Hitchcock
          3rd August 2009, 19:32

          Read my comment before you reply next time…
          Like I said, I don’t think he was ever F1 material (so no, he would never have “gone like the wind”), I just think that JUDGING BY WHAT HE SAID HERE Piquet didn’t get a fair chance.

          He had a contract that required him to score 40% of the points scored by Alonso, but was not always given an equal car.
          If that’s why he was dismissed then that’s not fair and not a good way to manage a driver.

          1. I read you reply. You said his exuses were “reasonable”. I say they are not.

            Read you own replies before you claim someone didn’t read them!

          2. Mark Hitchcock
            3rd August 2009, 19:34

            If it was necessary to give Alonso the development parts before Piquet (which is perfectly understandable and acceptable) then Briatore should have taken that into consideration instead of moaning and threatening Piquet whenever he had a bad result.

          3. Personally I dont like Flavio, he is a mentally disturbed individual. I believe every word Piquet said regarding threats, Flavio is just your typical stingy Italian.

            However, Piquet shouldn’t have made any extra deals with Renault if that was the case from the start. He should have left the team if he felt mistreated and should have then tried to seek position in another team.

          4. I agree with Maksutov, Flavio Briatore is a first class idiot, and only Alonso will ever really fit into that team.

            I feel sad for Piquet and I hope he gets another chance with a decent team.

          5. It does seem as though Flav’s man-management skills, as far as drivers are concerned anyway, do leave a lot to be desired.

            Patrese left Benetton after Flav made it clear that the team’s focus was going to stay fixed on Schumacher only (reasonable perhaps considering Schumacher’s potential, but still not the best way to treat one of the sport’s veterans). JJ Lehto’s F1 career was practically finished when Flav didn’t allow him sufficient time to get back up to speed after breaking his neck. Herbert left Benetton saying that he was treated as an afterthought when compared to Schuey. Berger quit F1 after two miserable years under Flav, who at the same time managed to alienate Alesi. Then Kovalainen, after coming back from the critical mauling Flav dished out to him after his debut, was dumped despite several impressive performances to make way for those more in Flav’s favour.

            There seems to be a pattern here – and if you look into Flav’s football exploits too, and the half-a-dozen or so managers he’s been through with QPR, it’s a pattern that emerges again.

        2. How are they ‘daft excuses’?
          Is there any F1 driver who can be expected to excel on half the testing and less of the opportunity of their team-mate. That’s not ‘some love’, that’s just a decent crack.

          I don’t doubt Alonso would still have beaten him, he’s the best driver in F1, but if being denied reasonable testing, being denied the latest upgrades – and always being a race behind on them when he did receive them – isn’t unfair, what is?

          1. Alonso is no way the best driver in F1, Lewis is. But I agree with the rest of your post that Piquet was treated abominably and unfairly.

          2. They have one version of the latest updates. Who do you give it to first, the rookie who is slow and crashes out of half the races or the double champion who will actually do something useful with it?

            So Alonso gets it first.

            Now the question is, did Piquet suffer so much from Alonso having had an update one race earlier on 4 occasions?

            The updates mattered maybe 3 tenths. Not nearly enough to explain the fact that Piquet is almost a second slower than Alonso.

            Still, lets only look at the races where Piquet and Alonso had the same material. In those Alonso was on average 8 tenths quicker in qualifying.

            It’s simply not the updates.

            Then what does explain this 8 tenths deficit? The fact that Briatore isn’t nice to him?

            No other driver paired with Alonso got beaten so consistently and by such huge margins.

            I’ll agree that Piquet was treated poorly (Briatore walking away from the pit after Alonso stopped was simply pathetic), but if he had shown any potential and had scored any results he would have been treated a lot better.

          3. Alonso best driver in f1 or lewis please the ice man rules and shumacher will get a beating at the hands of kimi no todt to protect him now unless he starts crying again!!!

      2. Yeah I always found it unreasonable the way Briatore made it rain on Piquet’s testing days and not Alonso’s.

      3. Sorry Mark, but the reason for Briatore leaving the race early at Hungary has nothing whatsoever to do with Piquet. If you actually did your research, you would know this. Time to do some, maybe?

        1. I haven’t heard any explanation for Briatore leaving early? What is it?

    2. Alonso Ferrari
      3rd August 2009, 21:28

      alonso or lewis inst the best driver SCHUMACHER is!!

      1. kimi is. lewis and alonso are both scrubs who cant do anything without the perfect car and their teammate getting 2nd car treatment.

        1. I wouldn’t´ call the MP4/24 a PERFECT car…

          Anyway, I will love to see Kimi beating, finally, “The Shoe” in a fair and square way…

        2. Umm, did you even watch this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix, last years Singapore Grand Prix or last years Japanese Grand Prix? Or did you just ‘conveniently’ forget?

      2. Yep it’s Schumi.

      3. Schumacher never beat anyone, his team mates were never allowed to challenge him contractual agreement with Ferrari they were just patsies, pawns, kimi will destroy the crybaby, bring it on and see how the ice man takes care of business.

    3. have considered that those excuses could be the truth?

  7. wow now the real crying little baby that is piquet shows his true colors by blameing everything on Flavio Briatore instead of just saying i’m a **** driver and i get **** results. the funnist thing he said is that while i was with my daddy teams that i could never get kicked out of i was such a good driver LOL ok so then the solution is for daddy to start piquet grand prix then piquet will finally get his claimed “fair shot” sounds like flavio should of smacked the kid more than once. what a joke piquet and bordais turned out to be in f1

    1. quality Jason. Cry baby. This little f*ck should never have been driving a Renault. Not a single time watching F1 did I ever see this little runt do anything that warranted more comment, than his history charged name warranted. Indeed the opposite. I’m not a brit, but the brits are stoics, and this spoilt brat could learn a thing or two from Jenson Button.

      The length of this eye-roller of an excuse-charged, counter productive, PR own goal, speaks for itself. Inversely proportional to its impact.

      Disappointed Renault Fan.

  8. Another site is saying Piquet Sr. is trying to work a deal to buy the BMW team. Don’t think it will happen but Jr. could drive for them. Nelshino was always going to get ***t because of who he is. Seems strange that with Flavio being his manager that he would get treated so badly by him.

  9. To be Alonso´s teammate is the worst thing that can hapen to a F1 driver this days.

    1. Hamilton did just fine though

      I’ll agree that to be Alonso´s teammate is the worst thing that can hapen to a sub par F1 driver these days.

      1. Hamilton did fine because he had big daddy Ron Dennis on his side. And thus it was Alonso who had to leave.

        1. you got that correct. McLaren loves Hamilton, whether he deserves it or not. I do believe though that if even half of what Piquet says is true it still doesnt look good for Renault or Briatore. I would look very carefully at my situation before I joined the team.

        2. Ron Dennis was on his side because Hamilton showed that he was better quite quickly.

    2. yes, specially if half the things Nelson said are true…

      1. Ask Kovalainen how he feels being Ham team mate…may be he tells things worst than Piquet Jr.

    3. In many respects, this is very true, if we take a look at Alonso’s teammates since the start of his career:
      Marques/Yoong at Minardi – fine, these two were hardly among F1’s greatest talents, but Alonso outperforming the car hardly helped matters. Neither of them made it much further in F1.

      Jarno Trulli at Renault – almost always matched and sometimes outperformed Alonso, particularly in the first half of 2004, but was dropped by Briatore just before Renault truly came good and as a result missed the chance to drive in a championship-contending car for 2005, when he arguably was driving better than ever.

      Giancarlo Fisichella at Renault – Fisichella had been reviving his career with some strong performances at Sauber the previous year and his Renault drive was supposed to be his big chance; the statistics say it all, 2 poles, 2 wins in 3 years at the team.

      Lewis Hamilton at McLaren – depending on who you believe, possibly had preferential treatment and certainly by the end of the season, when both Alonso and Hamilton were still title contenders, it was clear that Alonso had become alienated and rejected by certain members of the team. One wonders what the result would have been had the pair driven together at Renault, for example.

      Nelson Piquet – obviously this is being discussed at length here so I won’t go into any more depth.

      In each of these cases, it is and will continue to be debated whether this phenomenon is down to Alonso’s undeniable talent showing up his teammates, the teammates’ underperformances, or indeed preferential treatment towards Alonso as Piquet mentions in his statement. What is clear is that in all but one notable case, a number of F1 drivers showing varying amounts of promise beforehand have found their careers stalling or indeed ending after being paired with Fernando.

      1. Certainly in Lewis’s case, and also in his first term at Renault, the situation wasn’t so much that he dominated and destroyed his team mates (though that was partly the case with Fisi) but more that he threw his toys out of the pram when he didn’t get his way.

        The upshot of that was that teams either bent over backwards to help him and alienated the other driver (Renault, Fisi Kovy and Piquet) or he managed to alienate himself from the team (McLaren, Lewis). Post McLaren it seems he matured a bit and rather than get upset and cause a scene, he made sure he had an agreement up front that he would get preferential treatment like a certain seven-time world champion.

        And now Schuey and Kimi are in the same team… Ironically one in the twilight of his career, the other back from the wilderness as it were. Seven races to go chaps…

  10. finally someone gave it to Flavio… the guy is gettign annoying….good riddance for Nelson, he’ll find a wheel and a seat soon enough…

    1. Good riddance indeed. This post puts his career in F1 on max-KERS momentum down the toilet.


  11. The most important sentence of this post:

    I’m on Sky News tonight (Monday) at 7pm talking about Felipe Massa and his replacement Michael Schumacher.

    Who really cares about what Piquet says??

    1. I think it is important to know how Briatore handles his drivers, and how impossible it is to partner Alonso. We’ll see how the next driver gets on. I hope he thrashes Alonso even with sub-par equipment and favoritism towards Alonso, and we’ll see helmets flying and broken motorhome doors galore.

    2. I do care

    3. If that’s true than what are you doing reading this and writing about it?

    4. sumedh, take off those f&%$ing rosetinted spectacles which seem to blind you all the time!!!!

  12. We will only really know at the end of the year when we can compare him to his replacement. If the new guy is even close to on par with Alonso, then Piquet might just be rubbish.

    He seems like a crybaby that always has a frown on his face to me…stark contrast to when I used to watch his dad, I always liked Piquet Sr.

  13. Piquet got outqualified 27-1 by Alonso, and the 1 was because Alonso got caught in the rain in Germany.

    Yes, life can be hard as a #2 driver, but you’ve got to establish yourself by being competitive and giving your teammate a run for his money.

    That’s what Lewis Hamilton did. But Piquet never got close.

  14. I really think that Nelson could not cut it at Renault. Despite the lack of parity on the machinery, Nelsinho made various rookie mistakes, like sliding of the track or spinning out.

    He deserves the boot, and had it come sooner everyone would be a winner. Nelson would be able to ‘get his career back on track’ and another driver would get a chance in F1.

  15. Did Piquet ever really impress? No. He had one and a half seasons to do something impressive, and failed.

    With plenty of promising drivers without a current drive, having such a mediocre driver in that car was a pure travesty.

    1. even if his car was half a second slower than alonso, surely that doesn’t explain all the daft mistakes. the best drivers are the ones who make the most of what they’ve got. eg: webber putting a jaguar on the front row.

  16. They do seem like relatively good excuses. Especially that in 4 races he had a car 0.5-0.8 seconds slower. If true that is significant enough to be a valid excuse.

    However, the ‘best brazilian debut’ was a bit annoying. Sure he scored more points than Senna, but largely due to the number of rounds, and he still only came 12th last year when Senna was =9th.

    1. If it was true it would be a good excuse, but obviously it’s not true.

      Just look at the time differences between Alonso and Piquet. If it was true then there should have been a 0.5 to 0.8 gap that was opened and closed when Piquet lacked and received the updates.

      If you look at the time difference to Alonso, at best those updates where good for 2 or 3 tenths.

      Worse still in the races where they were supposed to have the same material, Alonso was on average 8 tenths faster in qualifying.

      1. Could put that partly down to what he said about not doing any pre-season qualifying testing though I suppose. I agree that he is clearly slow compared to Alonso, but I’m not so sure now that he is too slow for F1. And even if they are irrelevent excuses, they do not in turn excuse Briatore’s threats.

        1. So far he has done over 8000 kilometers in the car this year. Lack of pre season testing could be an argument for the first or maybe first two races. Not in the 8 that followed.

          And even if they are irrelevent excuses, they do not in turn excuse Briatore’s threats.

          You act like you never heard of this before?

          Even so, Briatores threats don’t explain either why he was so much too slow.

          Another irrelevant excuse.

      2. If it was true it would be a good excuse, but obviously it’s not true.

        What is funny is the lack of memory Nelso has. He’s just talking about “differences” in this year’s races.

        What about his performance last year?

        He has been so lucky for renewing his contract for 2009, maybe because as he said, “Briatore is always thinking about money”.

  17. Grosjean should read this carefully. Whatever one thinks of Nelshinho’s actual ability, his former team is clearly disfunctional. One only has to recall Alonso whinging about the lack of support by his team in his last championship year.

    I very much doubt the sum of Piquet’s presentation here: that he is the second coming of Fangio based on lower formula results. But I have no doubt that Alonso, after being shown Hamilton’s heels on the track in 07, and complaining about the lack of respect he received as a world champion, had made it clear to Flavio that he would have his respect—in the form of newest parts, more testing time, and more timely technical assistance. In fact, at the time, respect and support were seen as the main reasons to flee a winning team to return to struggling Renault. It would be odd to think he returned to Renault to be an “equal” to anyone.

    I’m interested to see whether Alsono will deny the charges of favoritism Piquet lays out—he rarely misses an opportuinty to opine on the merits of other drivers.

  18. Boston F1 Fan
    3rd August 2009, 19:51

    – I know that these statements are put through a PR person, but nevertheless it’s nice to see a Formula 1 driver with a personality and a soul.

  19. We will never know, will we Keith, if Piquet could have rivalled Alonso as he was never given the chance with the same support and equipment? To think of the hoo ha that went on in 2007 over “equal treatment” at McLaren between Alonso and Lewis, and yet this sort of treatment by that beastly Briatore goes on without a murmur. If Heikki was treated like that, there would be internet meltdown. I remember the one weekend that Heikki didn’t have the same car as Lewis because they couldn’t get two sets of updates through in time for the German GP, I saw loads of comments on the BBC website asking if Heikki had the same car as Lewis, and the same thing happened in Hungary. Why were there no similar questions regarding Piquet and Alonso? It seems the F1 community is happy to see unequal treatment at teams as long as Lewis doesn’t get the advantage. I don’t think Alonso is blameless in this. It appears that the only way that he is happy in a team is if he soundly beats his teammate and the only real way to guarantee that is to handicap the teammate, as was the case with Piquet. What a disgraceful man Briatore seems. Alonso is just trouble, and I don’t know how anyone can partner him as they would be always in a lose lose situation – if they beat Alonso, Alonso would throw his toys out of the pram; if he is worse than Alonso, he gets the sack. No wonder Lewis keeps his dad as his manager. Maybe Piquet should have done the same. I hope, as the rumours are going, Piquet’s dad buys the Sauber team and Nelson can show what he is made of. And God help Alonso’s next teammate. What a poisoned chalice that position is!

    1. What most people don’t realise is that when a new part is brought to the race weekend, especially a big part as a floor, the cost involved ensures that only one has to be built first and then tested on the friday. If it doesn’t work, 2 fully built floors would be double the waste of money and time. :-)

      Apart from the last but one race, very often Heikki had got updates same time as Lewis and sometimes choses not to run with them.

    2. Williams 4ever
      3rd August 2009, 22:11

      If Heikki was treated like that, there would be internet meltdown.

      Well The facts are that Heikki has been treated like that and there hasn’t been any internet melt-down.
      a) Every race in 2008 in Q3 Heikki was carrying more fuel, which effectively wiped out his chances of fighting for pole and the race wins.
      b) In name of 2009 regulations and lack of in-season testing,its not just one race in 2009 that the Finn has been driving a “Old spec” car and Hamilton driving car with latest upgrades.

      I hope “New Culture” McLaren Management remain honest about a) and b) when Heikki’s Contract is up for renewal.

      Three weeks ago Whitmarsh was honest about Heikki’s situation and renewal of contract was making rounds, somehow German(Nico) Driver to Mercedes Powered team is gathering momentum as well and I hope Heikki doesn’t become casuality in that one.

      And God help Alonso’s next teammate. What a poisoned chalice that position is!

      Ditto for Hamilton’s next team-mate at McLaren. No driver with World title aspirations will be ready to drive for McLaren as long as Hamilton is with the team

      1. He carries more fuel in P2? come on whenever both cars get into P3 the difference in fuel is usually 0.5kg between the 2cars. When outside the top 10 it pays for Heikki to have more fuel.
        A team like Mclaren might use fuel to disguise the fact that Heikki isn’t really performing well. Not saying he is a bad driver, I just feel he hasn’t hit the same form he was at in the latter stages of his Renualt foray.

        Mclaren wanted Rosberg in the team the previous season. And I bet you it was not as a second driver. With Ron, he likes his drivers fighting. Because it brings out the best in both and the team can reap the rewards.

      2. I meant Q2 and Q3.

        1. Williams 4ever
          4th August 2009, 1:42

          Please check the 1st pit-stop windows for entire 2008 season and it will be clear that the fuel difference was not mere 0.5 kgs!!!

          This year of course both of them struggled with the inferior cars, but whenever it has come to upgrades the team favorite has got them earlier than the Finnish driver.

          This year they have more sophisticated excuse, that with in-season testing ban and limited resources the woking based team working 36 hour shift could only manufacture upgrades for one car.

          A Honest McLaren would have been one that would have given winning race strategy alternate races to both drivers, till the point that one clearly is out of contention to beat his team mate in points race. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be case at McLaren/most of the teams on the grid.

          RedBull has so far maintained parity between Vettel/Webber if anyone has noticed their switching of fuel loads alternate race, to give Webber & Vettel both a fair chance to go for pole.

        2. Williams 4ever
          4th August 2009, 2:01

          Have I ever mentioned Q2 :-? I was referencing 2008 season when both McLaren made to Q3 but Kovy was handicapped with extra fuel-load right from race 1

      3. Williams4ever, you are talking rubbish. To say that Heikki is treated as unfairly as Piquet is just barmy. I actually think Heikki is quick, but he is not consistent over a race distance and is rubbish at overtaking, two things that Lewis is supreme at. That is why Heikki isn’t the driver Lewis is. I think he is good for the team because as long as he gets solid points for the team when Lewis wins, he would be doing his job towards winning the constructors title. I think there are many drivers who would love to drive for McLaren but a few whose egos might not like being whipped by Lewis like Alonso was by a rookie!

      4. I have seen people mention about Kovalainen qualifying with heavier fuel than Hamilton in 2008 a few times, but I seem to remember that Raikkonen, the then reigning World Champion, usually qualified with more fuel than Massa in 2008. Unless we know the details of team meetings with regards to strategy and what the drivers think they can make work we don’t know the reasons behind each driver’s strategy.

        With regards to the issue of only one driver getting the updates we have seen this happen at both ends of the pit lane this season with Sutil getting the updates first at Silverstone with Force India and Massa getting them first at Ferrari in Germany. Sometimes even big teams only have the time and resources to have enough ready for one driver.

        1. Williams 4ever
          4th August 2009, 12:05

          Sometimes even big teams only have the time and resources to have enough ready for one driver.

          Nothing wrong in doing that.. as long as they are honest with themselves the drivers and the fans…

    3. I don’t know this all sounds a bit over dramatic to me, I mean don’t get me wrong I think Briatore is a disgrace but mainly because he went out with Naomi Campbell.

      By his own admission Piquet had the same (or insignificantly different) equipment for half of the races this season and what did he do?

      In two of the races where he felt he had significantly inferior equipment he finished ahead of Alonso, so I don’t think the issue of equipment is that important.

      Morale and how he was treated on an interpersonal level is something else. I seem to remember Renault’s radio transmissions to him last season were shall we say rather curt which I never imagined to be that encouraging half way through a Grand Prix. I can also imagine being threatened with the sack before a qualifying session wouldn’t be that helpful.

      A lot of his statement seems to boil down to his belief that he is natural born champion and a sense that he never got the attention he deserved.

      I still reckon fundamentally he’s just not been fast enough to warrant his place.

    4. No. Let’s just be realistic. You don’t walk into a team with a double world champion, run by a guy who’s a legend in F1, and by some act of God expect to be treated like Senna. You have to prove yourself against the odds. You have to show that you have something special. You have to motivate those 72-hour non stop engineering teams efforts, that they won’t be wasted on some spoiled rich kid, who won’t deliver to the max. Piquet was not a terrible driver. He was merely 5/10. Mediocre. If you were a Renault Engineer, with limited time, money, and concentration-on-innovation resources, would you have felt motivated to pull it all out for this kid? The answer is a sad no. At F1 level, when you have literally dozens of super talented kids waiting in the wings, you have to shoot the lights out within 6 months. Nelsinho has been weighed in the balance and found wanting. Now he’s doing his spoilt-richkid-priviliged name PR dance. Sad that he doesn’t realise (yet) that inherited fame is pure curse.

  20. Spot on Keith, you were the first to report this.

    Nelsinho didn’t say anything out of the ordinary. He has a very valid point. Right back to the Bennetton days, the second driver in that team was often always forgotten about, but expected to perform wonders. Vesteppen suffered a similar fate as Piquet, virtually anonymous inside the team.

    Looking back to a not so distant past, Trulli was out performing Alonso until he fell out of favour with Flavio. Suddenly his car was unable to perform and even had a freak suspension failure at Silverstone.

    There might be gentle pressure on Flavio to have a french man in one of the race sits.

    Not saying Piquet is/was going to set F1 on fire, it is however very possible for a team to help a driver under perform, or even manipulate the situation to make it appear that he does. Perhaps Flavio’s style is designed to bring out the fighting spirit in his drivers.

    1. Thanks Oliver.

      Think it’s interesting Renault haven’t had a French driver so far – it’s not as if they haven’t had opportunities (Bourdais, Montagny).

      Funny when you think of the criticism Bourdais got for not taking up Briatore’s offer all those years ago (of a Renault drive providing he let Briatore manage him). The way things worked out perhaps it wouldn’t have made any difference whether he took it or not…

      1. I think Bourdais did well not to go to Renault. :-) Flav would have kicked him out after hearing sing sad songs every race.

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