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Briatore raises Renault progress, less positive on Piquet

Renault's R29 was far more competitive in Shanghai than it was able to demonstrate in the Chinese Grand Prix, reckons Flavio Briatore – but the Italian was rather less complimentary about the potential of Nelsinho Piquet.

Fernando Alonso qualified second for the Régie at the weekend, stunning paddock observers in a car that has hitherto shown little promise, light fuel load regardless. An early pit-stop under the initial safety car would unfortunately prove to be the Spaniard's undoing, however, as he slipped right down to the back of the order from where he would recover to ninth – the first of the non points-paying positions – at the chequered flag.

Briatore argues that the torrential conditions, though, masked what was a real improvement from the French outfit with its new 'double-decker' diffuser – the first of the 'conventional' diffuser squads to debut its split-level revision – with the Renault F1 managing director contending that the team's challenger was 'faster than McLaren, Ferrari and BMW', and that in normal circumstances Alonso would have finished fifth behind the Red Bulls and Brawn GPs.

“If everything had gone perfectly, he could have been fifth,” the recently-turned 59-year-old told Spanish sports newspaper Marca, “and our car is even better than that.

“I want to see a race with normal weather conditions, because we are much more competitive [than before]. We have a big step forward for Fernando and Piquet in Barcelona.”

The latter did not benefit from the new diffuser in China, but nonetheless, Briatore was somewhat less-than enthusiastic about his young charge's performance in the race – one in which the under-fire Brazilian came unstuck on rather too many occasions en route to 16th and last place at the close.

“I can understand it happening once,” conceded the QPR co-owner, “but it was like a contest – if you spin the most you get the most points.”


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Flavio Briatore with Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet Jr. ING Renault F1. R29 launch. Jan 19 2009. Algarve Motor Park. [Pic credit: Renault]
French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]
27.11.2016 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 and Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Haas F1 Team VF-16
27.11.2016 - Race, Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 and Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31 off trach and Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12 spins
27.11.2016 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12 spins
27.11.2016 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 and Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Manor Racing MRT05
27.11.2016 - Race, Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 leads Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31 and Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Race, Luis Fernando Ramos (BRA), Journalist
27.11.2016 - Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31 and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16

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David _

April 22, 2009 11:42 AM

No F1 driver is a bad driver, but Piquet definitively is the worst of the crop. But it proves that a name and a past in lesser formulae with a nice backing can bring you a long way - rememeber Nelsinho Piquet in GP2, in a team called Piquet Sports, with the highest budget of all? Look him up at wikipedia: "Piquet's racing career started in 1993 in Brazilian karting, where he would stay until 2001 when he moved to Formula Three Sudamericana. His father's wealth enabled him to race for his own team, a practice he continued until he left GP2 Series." But, merit where due: he's the youngest driver to ever have won the British Formula 3 Championship - albeit with his own overbudgeted team.

max plank - Unregistered

April 22, 2009 9:41 AM

well i look forward to the next race then. Would be interesting if Alonso could be causing trouble up the front - but i doubt its gonna happen. He is full of &%$# and trying to cover his back. But please....proove me wrong. It would make for a nice fight. Doesnt sound too good for piquet though, sounds like flavs trying to justify firing Piquet if he the chance arises.



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