Nelsinho Piquet has dismissed suggestions that he does not receive equal treatment at Renault compared to double Formula 1 World Champion team-mate Fernando Alonso – despite the fact that he has received less pre-season time in the cockpit than the Spaniard.
Piquet was roundly out-performed by Alonso over the course of a troubled maiden campaign in the top flight in 2008, only really getting the better of the 21-time grand prix-winner at Magny-Cours and Hockenheim.
Having been lucky to hold onto his seat at the Régie
this year in the opinion of some in the paddock, it is clear that the son of former three-time title-winner Nelson Piquet must up his game in 2009 if he is to successfully stake his claim to an extended future in F1 – but his lack of pre-season testing mileage will barely aid his cause.
Whilst the 23-year-old began the four-day Barcelona group test this week behind the wheel of the Enstone-based outfit's new R29, he subsequently handed over to Alonso for the remaining three days, prompting further whispers that there is a marked disparity at the French squad.
Though Alonso is the only driver from all ten teams present at the Circuit de Catalunya to have been granted more than two days on-track, Piquet is adamant that he is not being cast into the role of second driver before the competitive action has even got underway.
“It is normal that Fernando tests more days,” he told Spanish newspaper Diario Sport
. “He has a lot of experience and his information is very valuable to the team.”