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. “Nelson Piquet Jr. wants F1 return”
    I want alot of things too that are never gonna happen.
    He had his shot and blew it. (Ooops…don’t say blow aroung NPJ)
    It is now time to move on. Let some deserving driver get a shot at F1.

  2. O–M–G !!!

    If I hear one more person use the terms “youthful ignorance” or “childish stupidity” or the like again, in an effort to explain or excuse the actions and behaviour Piquet JR, I swear I’ll puke.

    Youthful…??????????

    For heaven’s sake, he’s 24–that’s TWENTY FOUR–years old !

    At 16, perhaps, I can see a boy being pressured the way JR says he was pressured. At 24, one is supposed to be a man. At 24, I was married with a child, mortgage, 2 car payments and was an officer in my country’s Navy, responsible for the lives of over a hundred men.

    Piquet JR’s actions were despicable, any way you slice it. He willingly participated in a conspiracy to commit an act potentially dangerous to others in an attempt to alter the natural course of a race while said race was underway, and in fact did commit said act. And then he kept quiet about it, in fact declined to speak to Charlie Whiting in November of last year when his own father provided him with the opportunity to do so, and spoke out about it only after he was sacked by Briatore.

    His actions and behaviour have demonstrated he is without honor, morals, scruples, ethics or character.

    Yet now he would have us all turn a blind eye, and pop him into another F1 seat, so he can show everyone how talented he really is. Poppycock!

    I do not expect this to be forgiven or forgotten

    And that is the only portion of Piquet JR’s statement that indicates he still holds any tenuous grip on reality.

    I’ve commented elsewhere on my opinion of FiA’s decision on Momday, so I won’t inflict it on you here.

    And since FiA granted JR immunity in exchange for his evidence, FiA could not now ban him.

    But I sincerely hope there are enough intelligent people in F1 to deny Piquet JR another seat. Clearly, he did wrong and should be punished for it. And since the majority of folks appear to believe a lifetime without F1 is good for Briatore and Symonds (with which I agree, BTW), then I think the same should apply to the third conspiractor.

    • just me said on 22nd September 2009, 16:54

      @dsob:

      If I hear one more person use the terms “youthful ignorance” or “childish stupidity” or the like again,…, I swear I’ll puke.

      That’s too sweet to let pass ;-):
      Poor Nelsinho was just in his first season as a novice driver, just learning the harsh ways of F1. In a team you just obey orders, no questions asked. Every young man with honor and passion for the sport would do that. It is totally understandable and 90% of rookie drivers would have done the same if put into the same postion and pressure. And as a testimony to the impeccable character of this young lad, it was him who did the sacrifice and blew the whisle. Without this gracious act nobody would know about it and the F1 world would spin on as usual!!!

      dsob: quick, get a bucket …

      • Bigbadderboom said on 22nd September 2009, 17:35

        Move over dsob I need to share that bucket. Just me- i really hope you are exercising an over developed sense of sarcasm……………..I need to talk to huey down the big white telephone now. ;)

        • just me said on 22nd September 2009, 19:24

          No, Bigbadderboom, I am dead seriously serious ;-):

          Nelsinho made nothing but selfless sacrifices:
          1) He sacrificed his race and put his life and health on the line – for his buddy Alonso, his ‘uncle’ Flav and the greater good of the team (= FOM money for points)! Every military and especially navy sailor should appreciate the importance of a strict line of command and responsibility and should appreciate that orders are never questioned during battles (but may be disputed in a court marshal hearing way after the fact, as happened in this case).

          2) He hurt the back of his head during the crash: a self-less bearing of physical consequence of his sacrifice for the team.

          3) He kept (kinda) quiet, in spite of all the unjust and unequal treatment that was subsequently bestowed upon him – another self-less sacrifice – all for the well being of the team.

          4) Once the inhumane pressure under which all F1 drivers live, was relieved and the cloud fogging his sense of right-and-wrong was lifted, he took upon himself the biggest sacrifice of all: putting his future brilliant F1-career behind the greater good of mankind and tell the sleeping FIA and the rest of the world what really happened to prevent future generations of drivers to have to suffer through the same treatment and pressures.

          Nelsinho should be celebrated, not damned.

          (Plz make sure the bucket doesn’t overflow :-) )

  3. It could be argued that double standards are in operation here if NPJ isn’t allowed to race in F1 again, in light of what other drivers have done in the past: Prost, Senna, Schumacher.

    As far as I’m concerned there are two immediate reasons as to why NPJ shouldn’t race in F1.
    1. Successes in F3 and GP2 doesn’t automatically mean that you’re good enough for F1 – as many other drivers have found out – and in my opinion NPJ just isn’t good enough. With these recent events, he also comes across as being mentally weak. Also, in light of how the Piquet’s have behaved towards Renault, would any team want to enter a contract with them?

    2. There’s also the good of the sport to consider. F1’s image isn’t exactly in a good state. It needs cleaning up; that includes the FIA as well as the teams. The sport is going through some new changes, and with the new concorde agreement signed and a new president on the horizon (let’s hope it’s Vartanen) now is a good time to send a message out that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated in F1. So show NPJ the door and make sure he doesn’t bash into the door frame on his way out.

  4. Can’t abide a stool-pigeon, I wouldn’t have him in my regiment, the chap can’t be trusted.. What next he gets chucked from a team and informs FIA that the car has a hidden turbo charger etc.. Brazilian taxi driver material.. NEXT!

  5. He deserves a second chance; he didn’t get enough support to prove his true potential, he just needs a better manager as Briatore is the devil himself.

    • Bigbadderboom said on 22nd September 2009, 17:42

      What he deserves is his super license revocked, and to serve a lengthy time in exile away from all forms of quality motorsport.
      What he has done to F1 is unforgivable in my opinion. He is trying to play the hard done by, innocent, naive, exploited young man part. When in fact he is the one that has exploited a position that he created. His father has tried to exploit the position through alleged blackmail, when he should have been using his immense experience to guide his son through his early F1 years. Young Nelson must have a fundamental understanding of wrong from right, and he should have used some of the private education to conclude that crashing a car deliberatley is perhaps not in keeping with the ideals of a sport where his father won 3 world crowns. OMG I’m bloody furious with young Nelson, he has destroyed an opportunity that nearly all of us can only dream of.

  6. on your bike Jr

  7. adz2193 said on 22nd September 2009, 17:10

    Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost were all proven to have crashed their cars deliberately and won 14 world championships between them.

    Enough said

  8. I wouldn’t call him a coward… slamming into that wall with your foot still on the gas?? That wasn’t cowardice, no way. No more than any soldier ordered to follow a damned stupid order and feels he doesn’t have a choice, but follows it and gets shot is a coward.

    Everyone is being high and mighty and saying they would have said no, but the evidence of 50 odd years of psychological investigations is that almost no-one says no to a direct order from what they perceive as an authority figure, and whatever you think of Flav, he was clearly that to Piquet.

    And the surest way to get someone to say comply is a) isolate them so they have no-one else to confirm the behaviour with and b)outnumber them – as Flav and Pat did.

    This is not just ‘Nazis obeying orders’ stuff, this is how organisations from Mafia families, to hunter gather tribes, to ordinary big businesses are controlled, often by someone unsuitable who could theoretically easily be overthrown but so rarely are. They aren’t because there’s something innate in 95%+ of humans that says yes when given an order.

    Interestingly, if even one person is there to back you up when you feel you’re right and should question what’s being suggested, suddenly nearly half of people rebel, even if outnumbered. Had they asked Piquet a week in advance and he’d had time to think and talk to his dad etc, he almost certainly wouldn’t have done it.

    • Don’t compare brave soldiers following orders with a stupid kid with no backbone driving a car, that is extremely disrespectful to the men and women who fight and an illogical comparison.

      • Choltz is 110% correct.

        Also, the cowardice came when he waited a year to speak up and only did so because he didn’t get his way.

        Civilians are not required to follow orders.

        • You can’t be 110% correct, only 100%. But pedantry aside, I’m afraid you’ve both entirely missed my point, which is not an ‘illogical comparison’ but a well established behaviour pattern backed up by decades of research, viz: people naturally follow not only orders, but even simple requests, from anyone with a semblance of authority.

          I can assure you both I intended no disrespect to any members of our armed forces especially now when they’re so hard pressed in Afghanistan, I wasn’t referring to them at all.

          But rather to ‘the soldier’ as a general abstract concept. I’d remind you that it was Soviet soldiers following orders who murdered Polish officers, German soldiers following orders that my grandmother’s brothers had to face at the Somme and my dad did over Berlin… And indeed if you gaze around the world at all the armed forces of all the countries and all the wars they’ve been engaged in over the years… for the vast majority of them I have no respect whatsoever. The French troops who raped and pillaged Spain at the start of the 19th century for example… following orders, and behaving reprehensibly. Israel’s troops in Lebanon in the 1980s… Rwandan troops in the Congo… no, I have no respect for them either… but I’m sure someone called them brave, and there are thousands… indeed millions more. The notion that soldiers are ‘brave’ is I’m afraid, largely untrue. Most soldiers of history have been scared conscripts, and brutal more than brave.

          Besides, civilians are required to follow orders every day of their lives, what do you think traffic lights and laws are? Have you never disagreed with a boss or a teacher or a lecturer or a doctor or a magistrate but done what they asked anyway? Never? Even if you felt your whole career depended on it? Something you’d worked towards all your life?

          If so, then hats off, to you. Or maybe, like most people, you’ve never been in that situation and didn’t have to make such a decision.

  9. i agree he should have his super licence taken away for 2-3 years and for going along with crashing in Singapore the stupid back marker known as Piquet should not be allowed to come back to f1 again for 2-3 years but i know how it works with this kid saw it in gp2 he expects papa to fund a driving career for a driver that has always been a back marker and has never really produced any quality results in f1 i think thank god we got rid of the 2 worst drivers in the sport Piquet and laughable failure Bordais god he was the worst in open wheel cars

  10. As was the case with Hamilton, true character came forward under pressure from senior team members who want to win at all costs.
    He has nobody to blame for where he is but himself.
    Contrary to his father’s and his belief he is not a world champion calibre driver and never will be now he is tainted with this event.
    As to getting a ride in F1 or any other major motor sports series, he is poisoned his own future.

  11. Hamilton was only sorry because he got caught and Piquet Jnr only spoke when he felt like it. I have no sympathy for any driver that cheats they get paid millions or already have millions and they try to act like they are just a child with no support and no knowledge on how demanding the sport is. for the love of god these people have more education, money, lawyers and agents then we all do put together and they are spoiled rotten. If i do something like steal plans, crash a company car on purpose or lie about something serious i wont get immunity i would be sacked and arrested and probably banged up.

    he should never drive again for a serious scam like that because it just prooves he is willing to cheat to win and i dont like guys like him. and as long as i will live i will put banners up on F1 tracks “get out of F1 you cheater” if he ever drives again.

  12. al_amana said on 25th September 2009, 6:12

    Another point in relation to “order” is that it could almost be assumed by reading some of these self righteous comments, is that it was Piquet’s idea to crash in the first place. Conversely, I do think he deserves some form of punishment for his ignorance, not a life ban or anything stupid like that just some time to reflect. The issue of the timing of his “coming forward” is and always was his prerogative. After all, without his allegations the whole debacle would not have been dealt with, a much greater crime in my opinion. Last but not least please don’t try and tell me Alonso wasn’t privy to what was going on. I think he deserves some form of punishment also. All in all now that I have written my view I realise how irrelevant and agenda based this article by Keith is. The only question I have is, what is the agenda, Keith?

    • of course not a life ban but for the amount of crap piquet brought down on not only the FIA but Renault when he could have easily been a man and kept him mouth shut, but no now he comes back and says hey guys forget everything bad that came out of my mouth and except me back in to FIA competition right away with no penalty screw that he should have his super licence taken away for 10+ years that way we can be safe in the knowledge that we can just race and not have to deal the child piquet and childish and foolish bulls**t

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