Nelson Piquet Jnr has issued a statement following the Renault verdict in which he tries to wash his hands of the conspiracy.
Rather optimistically, he sets out his case for why he feels he should get an F1 drive in 2010:
I can only hope that a team will recognise how badly I was stifled at Renault and give me an opportunity to show what I promised in my career in F3 and GP2. What can be assured is that there will be no driver in Formula One as determined as me to prove myself.
First, it’s clear that there was indeed something rotten at Renault in 2008, probably in 2009 as well, and possibly before then, too.
Given that Piquet was asked to put his life in jeopardy in the hope it would help Fernando Alonso win a race, it’s no stretch of the imagination to conclude he did not get the equipment or support he needed to prove himself while at the team. This is, after all, the man who finished within 12 points of Lewis Hamilton in GP2 in 2006, with four wins to Hamilton’s five.
So perhaps Piquet hasn’t had a fair chance to do justice to his talents in F1 yet.
Does that mean a team should snap him up for 2010? Absolutely not.
However vulnerable his mental state was at the time (see below for his full statement) it does not excuse the fact that what he, Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds conspired to do was an abhorrent act of cheating with contemptible disregard for the safety of others.
The only reason Piquet doesn’t have a punishment comparable to that of Briatore or Symonds is because the FIA offered him immunity.
The fact it took him nearly 12 months to own to up to what he had done, only doing so once Renault had finally fired him, is a reminder of his own vested interest in going along with the scheme: protecting his place in F1.
He does not deserve to get that place back.
Nelson Piquet Jnr statement:
I am relieved that the FIA investigation has now been concluded. Those now running the Renault F1 Team took the decision, as I did, that it is better that the truth be known and accept the consequences. The most positive thing to come from bringing this to the attention of the FIA is that nothing like it will ever happen again.
I bitterly regret my actions to follow the orders I was given. I wish every day that I had not done it.
I don’t know how far my explanation will go to making people understand because for many being a racing driver is an amazing privilege, as it was for me. All I can tell you is that my situation at Renault turned into a nightmare. Having dreamed of being a Formula One driver and having worked so hard to get there, I found myself at the mercy of Mr Briatore. His true character, which had previously only been known to those he had treated like this in the past, is now known.
Mr Briatore was my manager as well as the team boss, he had my future in his hands but he cared nothing for it. By the time of the Singapore GP he had isolated me and driven me to the lowest point I had ever reached in my life. Now that I am out of that situation I cannot believe that I agreed to the plan, but when it was put to me I felt that I was in no position to refuse. Listening now to Mr Briatore’s reaction to my crash and hearing the comments he has made to the press over the last two weeks it is clear to me that I was simply being used by him then to be discarded and left to ridicule.
I have had to learn some very difficult lessons over the last 12 months and reconsider what is valuable in life. What has not changed is my love for Formula One and hunger to race again. I realise that I have to start my career from zero. I can only hope that a team will recognise how badly I was stifled at Renault and give me an opportunity to show what I promised in my career in F3 and GP2. What can be assured is that there will be no driver in Formula One as determined as me to prove myself.
As my final words on this matter, I would like to repeat that I am so sorry to those who work in Formula One (including the many good people at Renault) the fans and the governing body. I do not expect this to be forgiven or forgotten but at least now people can draw their conclusions based upon what really happened.
Nelson Piquet Jnr
Renault Singapore crash controversy
- Renault escape ban for crash (Poll)
- Renault face Singapore hearing today
- Singapore Grand Prix organiser says: “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”
- No punishment for Briatore or Symonds?
- Did more foul play by Renault scupper Schumacher in the 2006 title decider?
- Fernando Alonso should renounce his Singapore Grand Prix ‘win’
- Briatore and Symonds step down as Renault accepts Singapore crash charge
- Piquet-Renault scandal: more new evidence and complaints about leaks
- Statement by Nelson Piquet Jnr on his Singapore crash leaked online
- Did Piquet crash on purpose? (Poll)
- Renault face Singapore crash hearing
- Nelson Piquet Jnr and Fernando Alonso in renault Singapore claim
- Piquet’s scathing attack on Briatore
- Nelson Piquet Jnr dropped by Renault
- Alonso and the Piquet-Renault fall-out
- 2008 Singapore Grand Prix analysis
- Fernando Alonso’s bad luck turns good for win (2008 Singapore Grand Prix)