Nelson Piquet Jnr wants F1 return

Piquet kept Briatore's scheme quiet as long as it suited him

Piquet kept Briatore's scheme quiet as long as it suited him

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

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139 comments on Nelson Piquet Jnr wants F1 return

  1. m0tion said on 22nd September 2009, 3:52

    I saw him dicing with Hamilton in equal cars earlier this year, just like in GP2 and NPJ has the racing goods for mine if he can improve his qualifying.

    • Nitpicker said on 22nd September 2009, 13:46

      I saw him dicing with Hamilton in equal cars earlier this year

      But since that was for 18th place, it hardly boosts Piquet’s reputation. Alonso had an equal car too yet he was winning poles while Piquet flirted with the gravel.

  2. bwells said on 22nd September 2009, 4:02

    Nelson should maybe go back and start in carts again with the kids and learn some real skill… I mean he acts like a child.. state of mind or not… he did what he did for the money… the extended contract… and lets face it.. how many times did he spin out or crash during his time at Renault?.. no wonder nobody thought anything of the incident.. he’s not F1 material and I don’t think any team will waste there time with him…

  3. The Limit said on 22nd September 2009, 4:20

    Taking on Piquet Jnr, despite his family billions behind him, would be a massively dangerous gamble for a new team desperate for new sponsors. In more ways than one, he is tainted goods!
    He was everybit as guilty as Flavio and Pat Symonds were, and age does not define guilt, actions do. He went nearly a year before spilling his guts to the powers at be, only after his Renault career went down the toilet.
    Most importantly of all, his performances. It is very interesting to see he blames Flavio for this and that, and the hold Fernando Alonso had over proceedings within the team, but he was simply not fast enough.
    When Alonso’s relationship with McLaren was at its lowest ebb in 2007, the Spaniard still pulled off some impressive drives, especially at Monza. He still played a huge part in taking the championship to the wire with Hamilton and Raikkonen in Brazil, and lost by only one point to Kimi.
    Every driver has bad cars in their career, or bad inter team relationships, but they show enough to warrant further investigation. Take Jenson Button for instance! For years you hardly saw him at times, at the back of the grid, struggling. But he showed promise, showed character, and it has paid off.
    The whole paddock dismissed Felipe Massa in 2002 as a one season wonder, then, six years later, saw him nearly become world champion. This, I can not see happening with Piquet Jnr!
    There is nothing wrong in Piquet Snr wanting the best for his son. I bet every father in the world who has a racing driver son sees them as the next Emerson Fittipaldi even if their crap, and all the money in the world will not change that.
    If I were Piquet Jnr, I would be too ashamed to show my face. I would go back to Brazil, get a nice little job in one of daddies businesses, and enjoy the playboy lifestyle in the sunshine with a couple of dollybirds.

  4. J Hutton said on 22nd September 2009, 4:52

    ok boys, settle down…who cares about his looks or apparent lack of genitals?
    the key question is, was he F1 material and, the answer is, a resounding NO!!!!
    Please spare the details of his pre-F1 days.
    As for Piquet Sr. …A shame that he has tarnished his character with his complete lack of integrity/honesty and senseless polemics.
    There is nothing worse than a contrite guilty party asking for forgiveness while
    demanding punishment to their partners in crime.
    How self serving and transparent!

  5. One of the main reasons why Piquet won’t race again in F1 is quite simple, and one all of you know- there are too many good young drivers coming up, along with veterans becoming available. Just look at the names on the grid now that may move or will be up for grabs next year, then add in the GP2 talent (of which there is plenty) plus the random newcomer or two that USF1 is going to suprise you with :) and it’s hard to see a place for young Nelson. Quite simply, he’s not in demand- there are plenty of other much better drivers available.

    I’ll be the first to say that Piquet diden’t get a fair deal at Renault- I thought that was the case long before this all came out. But that still dosen’t justify slamming an F1 car into a wall at high speed. I won’t lose a wink of sleep if Nelson never sits in an F1 car again. In the meantime, I’m sure he can find a seat in Superleagua ;)

  6. mp4-19b said on 22nd September 2009, 5:55

    Piquet jr is an overgrown kid with no talent just like his pup!! His pup is the least deserving triple world champion. 81 should have been the year of Carlos Reutemann, 83 it should have been prost & 87 definitely Mansell. they guy has only 23 wins to his credit, yet mansell in 92 had more than that & wasn’t a champion yet. Both son & pup are lucky SOBs

    • Antifia said on 22nd September 2009, 12:22

      How cute. He shouldn’t have won those championships because you don’t like him. He won them fair and square, including the one in 1987 – he was 12 points ahead of Mansel when the Brit chichened out (even Prof. Sid Walkings thought the injure he claimed to have in his neck was not serious enough for his theatrics).
      Mansel (that primadona), on the other hand, apart from 1992, had in four other opportunities a car to win the championship (1986, 1987, 1990 and 1991) and he just couldn’t do it. Why? Because he had competition. He only won his title when he was driving a super-Williams, having R. Patrese as his teamate….pitfull.

    • Didn’t Keke Rosberg win his WC with one GP victory?

  7. Stomp & Steer said on 22nd September 2009, 6:00

    1. FIA revokes licence.
    2. Anyone who hires him is a complete head case (taxi companies included)
    3. Would be a huge draw for the Destruction Derby circuit.

  8. We are all talking as if we all and everybody on the F1 grid except NPJ are saints without evermaking a mistake. C mon guys he made a mistake under extremely pressuring circumstances. Atleast he had the guts to own it. He has proved well in gp2. he has withstood the pressures of flavi. I believe he deserves a second chance.

  9. steph90 said on 22nd September 2009, 7:30

    I can’t believe the amount of people who do geniunely feel sorry for Piquet Jnr when he deliberatly crashed a car and could have injured (fatally) the people around him of himself (though I’m less concerned about that it was his choice) because he wanted an F1 drive. There’s being ambitious and then their is just plain foolish and selfishness. He has made F1 go through it’s worst chapter in recent history, if he was really sorry he would walk away and if the FIA had done their jobs he’d be banned for life. Yes he was under pressue, but everyone has been under pressure for jobs and to feed their families it’s a recession all he wanted was a drive of a car and created a massive scandal. He does not deserve a drive, he shouldn’t even be allowed to watch motorsport, it was his choice. He was at the wheel, he had the pedals under his feet, he was the one with the control no matter what pressure he was under.
    If his father buys him a drive, which seems more than plausible it’ll be another sad day for F1 caused by the Piquets.

  10. I bet he will prove himself in a new team than in Renault.

  11. Lady Snowcat said on 22nd September 2009, 7:51

    Guys…

    The person most at risk in this foolhardy enterprise was Junior himself… and he is just a kid who is desperate to fulfil his dream…

    He is obviously very easy to manipulate and bully … and that is the reason why he should not have a drive ….

    Interestingly the fact he is pleading for a drive shows that he doesn’t really appreciate how people feel and I blame his family and friends for that….

    The whole episode is very sad but he needs to grow up and show that he has before he should consider asking for another chance…..

    • Piquet’s 23. In F1, it’s no longer a valid claim being called a ‘kid’ at 23. Look at the astonishing maturity shown by Alonso, Raikkonen, Hamilton and Vettel. Piquet’s been around racing quite long enough to know how you play the F1 game.

      He couldn’t cut it. End of story.

  12. Again i say the Piquet’s did what they did out of sheer malice for jr loosing his seat. What team in there right mind would hire a snitch at any price?.
    Do something jr doesn’t like and your up on the red carpet or have to resign.
    i give Flav the benefit of doubt on this one, he lost his job because he refused to allow a spoilt rich kid and second rate driver at that, to blackmail Renault.
    i am not saying Flav played no part, he and others obviously orchestrate Alonso’s victory, and he took the bullet for it like a man. Piquet jr will never race F1 again, if he or his father show up in the paddock, they will be treated as pariah!

    • I second that. While I do have some sympathy for Jnr and am sure he is sorry, I wonder which he is sorrier for. The crash, or the loss of his seat? Maybe this will be a good lesson for him, methinks Jnr has probably gotten everything he ever wanted in life. Welcome to the real world, Nelsinho !

  13. steph90 said on 22nd September 2009, 8:09

    and he is just a kid who is desperate to fulfil his dream…

    I caqn understand that and would have felt sorry for him if he hadn’t of done it, but he had the choice. He’s rose up through the motorsport ranks to F1, his father taking an interest in his career and managed by Flav. He knows how the world works. It was a premeditated act and he lied about it for a year and only spoke thed truth when he wanted to.
    If I thought he showed an ounce of remorse then maybe he would deserve some compassion but never to work in the sport again as far as I can see now he’s got Flav back he’s just after a drive and not really understanding any of this. Though what I see is just my opinion, I can see where you all come from.

  14. Maciek said on 22nd September 2009, 8:43

    Where’s all this vitriol at Piquet (and his father) coming from? It seems like like there’s a lot more foaming at the mouth going on here than in comments on Briatore – that’s just about as balanced as the FIA’s disciplinary decision making. As for drivers not having minds of their own – during Barrichello’s time at Ferrari (and this is in no way a moral comparison) I so often wondered: why the hell doesn’t he just tell them where to go when he’s told to let Schumacher pass? F1 drivers are people, too, after all. And some are more eager to please, susceptible to pressure, and deferential to authority than others.

    Piquet didn’t show us much on the track, but I don’t see any ethical problems with a team giving him a test against other candidates.

  15. steph90 said on 22nd September 2009, 8:49

    Where’s all this vitriol at Piquet (and his father) coming from? It seems like like there’s a lot more foaming at the mouth going on here than in comments on Briatore

    For me it is because Briatore well never be present in F1 again whereas there a chance Piquet could come back.
    I often wondered that about Barrichello too though, and yes you are right f1 drivers are people it’s just this has shocked a lot of people.
    Thats the end of my rambles at least :P

    • Even if what really happened in Singapore a year ago had never come out the only way Piquet Jnr would ever have driven in F1 again would be if his father had bought an F1 team or he could bring major financially backing to a team.

      For me he was the main one responsible in all this and if he hadn’t been granted immunity would have received the same punishment as Briatore. Piquet Jnr may not have come up with the plan but he was the one who crashed the car in the end, he didn’t have to crash, and then he only told the truth when Renault sacked him.

  16. did I hear that part of NPJ’s contract stipulated that he was expected to achieve lap times within 0.5s of Fernando’s?

    Or something like that…

    Anyway last year and this year there has seemed to be around a 10 place difference between the two drivers. You can put some of that down to the fact that FA’s car was the first to get new parts etc.etc., but the point is that Renault were never expecting NPJ to match his Double WC team-mate, just get within half a second per lap of him.

    He couldn’t manage even that. Is he of F1 calibre? No – I think he hit his zenith in GP2.

    So regardless of whatever’s gone on politically, I’d be surprised if he gets a drive on merit – just not quick enough. A paid seat will be his only chance.

  17. S Hughes said on 22nd September 2009, 10:03

    Keith, I know you don’t think he should be pitied, but I still do pity him. I think he had battered woman syndrome (only he’s a man). Briatore sounds like a monster to work for, and Piquet Jr was never in favour with him because he treated Alonso like a God. I hope he gets another drive, even if it’s his dad’s and blows everyone’s socks off.

    • Bigbadderboom said on 22nd September 2009, 11:05

      S Hughs I admire your compassion, but for me its a leap of empathy too far. He is an extraordinarily privileged individual, with a triple world champion father to guide him, I simply don’t get it. He has concealed information to his benefit, then blown F1 open again to his benefit, obtained and excersised immunity. He, and what you have to bear in mind here is only he, crashed that car, everything else up to that point was talk. I can’t understand how a single minded F1 driver willingly risks all, and to his own admission not even on a promise of a new contract. His immunity sickens me, him asking the F1 world to forgive him and give him another chance…..that raises my blood pressure.

  18. UnicornF1 said on 22nd September 2009, 10:12

    I believe NPJ will come back.
    It is possible even in 2010!!!

    There are many advantages:
    – He retained his superlicence and his right to race in F1

    – He is very young and proved to be successfull in GP2 (forget for a moment his career in F1 with Flavio who was his executioner). His career in F1 until now is not probably representative for his skills…

    – A new team will seek for a good and cheap driver! Moreover Piquet probably could give some money to have a seat! This is very tempting!!!!

    – Piquet is now recognizable. There is no such thing as bad publicity. The team he will join, will have some publicity which is very important for the team’s sponsors.

    – He will be given the chance to drive a proper car and at least the same with his teammate. Probably he will drive even better in order to prove everyone wrong!

    • Maksutov said on 22nd September 2009, 10:26

      – A new team will seek for a good and cheap driver! Moreover Piquet probably could give some money to have a seat! This is very tempting!!!!

      Which is indeed very possible.

      Overall I think Piquet should be banned by FOTA to ever drive in F1. I believe FOTA can make power of agreement between its teams not to chose a particular driver for the safety of Formula 1.

      However in saying that if Piquets have enough money, they can buy their own team and race. Or they can, as you said, buy into the team, probably Williams just because he hates FOTA. For as long as Piquet still has the license anything is possible.

      We have seen so many things happen in F1 that the worst of all could still happen.

    • patrickl said on 22nd September 2009, 10:28

      And the disadvantages:
      – He retained his superlicence even while he told everybody that he was a cheat

      – He was very young and proved to be only successfull in GP2 with a lot of help from daddy and only came second in his second season being beaten by a rookie. GP2 drivers really are only interesting if they become champ in their first year.

      – His career in F1 until now is probably pretty much representative for his skills in F1. The few races where he was at a disadvantge are far outnumbered by the races where he simply had a fair chance. He simply is unable to cope with the compelxities of racing an F1 car. It’s obviously a step too high. He should be driving in lower classes of motorsport and indeed there he would probably do fine.

      – A new team will seek for a good and cheap driver! Piquet crashes almost in every event he participates in. Car repair costs will easily outweigh his sponsorship contribution.

      – Piquet is now recognizable as a cheat. Who wants to show that they hired a cheat?.

      – He will again be given the chance to drive a proper car and at least the same with his teammate. Probably he will try to drive better in order to prove everyone wrong and fail miserably again as he did every time before!

  19. “I do not expect this to be forgiven or forgotten but at least now people can draw their conclusions based upon what really happened.”

    My conclusion is Piquet was under huge pressure and he is done what most young drivers would do when are put in his situation.

    What Hamilton did in Australia (and his situation was much better, he had no pressure of team, knew his place in F1 was safe…etc) is good example of how desperate young drivers are. How low they can go to achieve something (in this case it was just 1 point). He contineusly lied, he even had to lie because his team was lying (Ryan was team’s voice) and asked Lewis to say the same. So you see the picture. Teams must be asking there drivers to do and say many things including the wrong ones. Young drivers often accept.

    All in All what we have seen of Piquet, his performances are not true indication of his talent, i strongly believe he was never given same equipment or as competitive strategy as Alonso.
    He getting another chance in F1 will not be a bad thing.

    • Bigbadderboom said on 22nd September 2009, 11:16

      Lying about a radio transmission and encouraging somebody to pass you is whole different sport to deliberatley crashing a car for somebody elses benefit.
      It’s not just the act either, it’s the concealment, then the blackmail attempts, then pleading for immunity, it’s just rotten to the core.

      All in All what we have seen of Piquet, his performances are not true indication of his talent, i strongly believe he was never given same equipment or as competitive strategy as Alonso.
      He getting another chance in F1 will not be a bad thing.

      But for me they are a true indication of his own personal make up, his morality and the type of support he gets from his father.

      Piquet getting another chance in F1 would be an absolute traversty, its appaling he has escaped unpunished, please don’t let him get rewarded.

  20. probably be a bad idea because fans might boo him on the track for being a cheat and holding the truth when it suited him and holding it for a year. and the FIA dont have to allow the Piquet family to have their own team, just in case they would think of cheating again but that time if he did he would most likely keep it quiet.

    Lewis Hamilton was lucky to keep his seat in Formula 1, Nelson Piquet Jnr wont be so lucky

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