Piquet’s scathing attack on Briatore

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.

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155 comments on Piquet’s scathing attack on Briatore

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  1. Chaz said on 3rd August 2009, 18:34

    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 said on 3rd August 2009, 18:45

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

  3. Williams 4ever said on 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

    • SamS said on 4th August 2009, 9:53

      Discretion was better part of valour Nelsinho

      Jonathan Leggard is that you???

    • NDINYO said on 5th August 2009, 12:06

      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. John H said on 3rd August 2009, 18:54

    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 said on 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. Fer no.65 said on 3rd August 2009, 19:05

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

    • Mark Hitchcock said on 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.

      • Patrickl said on 3rd August 2009, 19:24

        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?

        • Mark Hitchcock said on 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.

          • Patrickl said on 3rd August 2009, 19:34

            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!

          • Mark Hitchcock said on 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.

          • Maksutov said on 4th August 2009, 7:35

            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.

          • Nefer said on 4th August 2009, 8:38

            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.

          • 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.

        • Daffid said on 3rd August 2009, 19:36

          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?

          • S Hughes said on 3rd August 2009, 20:14

            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.

          • Patrickl said on 3rd August 2009, 20:52

            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.

          • lone wolf said on 4th August 2009, 2:31

            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!!!

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

      • stillious said on 3rd August 2009, 23:36

        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?

    • Alonso Ferrari said on 3rd August 2009, 21:28

      alonso or lewis inst the best driver SCHUMACHER is!!

      • Nick said on 3rd August 2009, 22:18

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

        • 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…

        • David A said on 4th August 2009, 1:24

          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?

      • Yep it’s Schumi.

      • lone wolf said on 4th August 2009, 2:38

        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.

    • NDINYO said on 5th August 2009, 12:14

      have considered that those excuses could be the truth?

  7. jason said on 3rd August 2009, 19:06

    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

    • toma said on 4th August 2009, 17:47

      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. Leaf said on 3rd August 2009, 19:07

    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.

    • Patrickl said on 3rd August 2009, 19:25

      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.

      • Damon said on 3rd August 2009, 22:49

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

        • Martin said on 4th August 2009, 1:20

          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.

        • Patrickl said on 4th August 2009, 9:00

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

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

    • Tom L said on 3rd August 2009, 21:03

      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.

      • Karlos said on 3rd August 2009, 22:15

        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. Ronman said on 3rd August 2009, 19:14

    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…

    • toma said on 4th August 2009, 18:01

      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??

    • S Hughes said on 3rd August 2009, 20:16

      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.

    • Cassio said on 3rd August 2009, 20:45

      I do care

    • 1994fanatic said on 3rd August 2009, 22:00

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

    • mp4-19b said on 5th August 2009, 15:23

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

  12. mfDB said on 3rd August 2009, 19:29

    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. Jonathan said on 3rd August 2009, 19:30

    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. Mark said on 3rd August 2009, 19:42

    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.

    • 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.

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