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. 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.

  2. 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 !

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. “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.

  10. 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

  11. UnicornF1 said on 22nd September 2009, 11:38

    liegate –>
    - Hamilton gets no points,
    - McLaren gets no points,
    - Ryan leaves the team

    crashgate
    –>
    - Alonso keeps Singapore win and points,
    - Renault keeps the 10 points for the Singapore win
    - Renault without 10 points would still be 4th and be awarded the money for this position but I think a small fine should be there.
    - Briatore and Symonds leave the team (this is more like a favor for Renault)

    This is the FIA justice. A lie is worse than a crash :lol:

    • SLK Maniac said on 22nd September 2009, 12:07

      I agree – they should have disqualified Hamilton for life.

    • just me said on 22nd September 2009, 16:27

      Crashes happen about 3.141 times per race, on average (made that up ;-) ). Crashes are an everyday part of F1 and no big deal. The difference between an ambitious driver pushing just over the limit and a malicious one pushing just over the limit at a certain time at a certain place is just a matter of coordinates.
      Punishment: harsh words on paper.

      Hey, but lying – lying to the FIA – well that is outrageous and needs to be punished with severe actions rather than “serious” words.

      @Keith: As a journalist and very successful blogger with ever increasing fan base you actually have some power to keep poking the FIA practices with damming and inquisitive articles. You actually can put up a journalistic publicity fight against the rotten, self-interest club called FIA and expose their behind-the-scenes deals and manipulations. Help to get someone else than Todd on the helm and get them to change their more-than-questionable practices.

      If you do that, Keith, and if Todd’s almost certain election is averted, I’ll hang up your picture in my office, nicely framed in gold, and I’ll bow to it 3 times a day ;-).

    • @ unicorn (sorry for the caps, don’t know how to quote someone)

      liegate –>
      - Hamilton gets no points, (HE KEPT HIS POINTS)
      - McLaren gets no points, (AS A TEAM, THEY DESERVED TO LOSE THEIR POINTS BECAUSE THE TEAM WAS FOUND CHEATING – THE DRIVERS KEPT THEIR POINTS)
      - Ryan leaves the team (FAIR)

      crashgate –>
      - Alonso keeps Singapore win and points, (HE WAS FOUND NOT GUILTY, SO THIS IS FAIR)
      - Renault keeps the 10 points for the Singapore win (IT WAS LAST YEAR AND IT WOULDN’T CHANGE ANYTHING, ALSO THE ‘TEAM’ WASN’T GUILTY LIKE MCLAREN)
      - Renault without 10 points would still be 4th and be awarded the money for this position but I think a small fine should be there (AGREED).
      - Briatore and Symonds leave the team (this is more like a favor for Renault)(NO, THIS WAS FAIR, AND THEY ARE NOW SCREWED WITH NO MANAGEMENT)

      • oops, i meant to say hamilton should lose his points…because he withheld information…alonso didn’t (as far as we know)

        • UnicornF1 said on 23rd September 2009, 9:07

          mfDB I was referring to the 2009 liegate,
          not to the 2007 spygate!!!
          So please check your comments as you answered on the wrong basis…

  12. Fergus Gallas said on 22nd September 2009, 12:20

    Keith,
    In the brazilian Grand Prix 2008, Nelson Piquet, the father, told Charlie Whiting what happened in Singapore, but Mr. Whiting said it could not be proved.
    This let me to conclude that every single one knew about it and that FIA decided to act whenever was suitable for them. They could have invited Piquet Jr. for a hearing way back in the Brazilian GP2008.
    About the FIA hearing last monday:
    1 – In the internal discussions Renault was voted to be banished from F1, but FIA backed off for political reasons, grid emptyness and engine supplies.
    2 – FIA had the proves that Alonso knew the racefix but voted no sanctions for him once again. This man is shilded.
    How do i know this? from the same reporter that blasted out all this crashgate in the Belgian GP weekend.
    Have fun.

  13. Perhaps Nelsinho could start rebuilding his racing career in demolition derby, I hear the require fearless drivers not afraid to take risks :D

  14. Antoine said on 22nd September 2009, 13:46

    Nelson

    time to release the single mate..

  15. He should be banned from motorsports for putting his own life and others at danger, just because the FIA is a joke and gave him a free pass (as well as that cheater Alonso) doesn’t mean team principals should.

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