F1 »

Piquet admits his seat for remainder of 2009 'not 100%' secure

Following months of denial, Nelsinho Piquet has finally confessed that his seat at Renault for the remainder of the 2009 F1 World Championship is not necessarily secure – as the under-fire young Brazilian faces arguably a make-or-break weekend in Hungary with the Régie's heavily updated R29.

Piquet hung onto his drive at the French outfit by the skin of his teeth for a sophomore season at the highest level this year, after failing to convince onlookers during the course of his rookie campaign in 2008. However, there has been little progress so far in 2009, with no points on the board over halfway through and just one occasion on which he has out-qualified double world champion team-mate Fernando Alonso, at the Nürburgring last time out. Three times he has lined up inside the bottom five on the starting grid, whilst by comparison Alonso has missed the top ten only once.

The son of triple title-winner Nelson Piquet is fighting to save his faltering career, and some had doubted whether he would even still be on the starting grid for the Hungarian Grand Prix at all, with reserve driver and GP2 Series pace-setter Romain Grosjean waiting ominously in the wings and an increasing presence on the Renault pit wall during grand prix weekends.

It is understood that the 23-year-old – due to turn 24 on Saturday – was granted a stay of execution on the sole basis that it would only be fair to allow him the chance to prove his mettle with upgraded machinery at his disposal. Unlike in Germany, in Hungary he will benefit from exactly the same equipment as Alonso, who suggests it is good enough to aim for the podium – if not perhaps even higher.

Alluding to a 'conflict of egos', it is believed that relations between Piquet's father – also his manager – and famously irascible Renault F1 managing director Flavio Briatore have become ever-more strained, with the former applying pressure on the latter to grant his son a fair crack of the whip. It has been mooted that should he fail to impress again in Budapest, though, enough really will be enough.

“It is not 100 per cent settled for the rest of the season,” the former GP2 Series runner-up is quoted by Reuters as having admitted this weekend. “That is why I am going to do my job and let my father do the rest. There was a bit of a mess at the last race, [but] I knew there was a big chance for me to be here.

“There was just conflict, and contracts, and a conflict of egos between a few people, but it ended with everything working well. The problem is that these days a contract in F1 doesn't mean much, and we have seen several cases already of drivers and teams breaking contracts.

“The only thing I can do is drive, do my best and leave my father to do his job and see what he can do. I always have to try and do my best. I have a better chance now that I have the same car [as Alonso], and not only that, but it also looks like the car is quite quick. Then [I have] an easier chance to show something.

“This is only part of the stress of motorsport, and I have been facing this kind of situation since last year; it is not something new for me. We are at the top level of motorsport, and drivers need to know how to deal with these pressures and that kind of thing. I would say it was much harder and more stressful for Lewis [Hamilton] at the end of his first season when he was fighting for the championship than this has been for me.”

Last year Piquet took the chequered flag sixth at the Hungaroring, his third-best result of the season.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Nelson Piquet (BRA) Renault R29, Bahrain F1 Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain, 24-26th, April, 2009
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, Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11 and Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team VF-16
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, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34 leads Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team VF-16
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, Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Haas F1 Team VF-16 leads Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team VF-16
27.11.2016 - Race, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team VF-16 leads Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Haas F1 Team VF-16
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

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


andrewm

July 24, 2009 1:18 PM

The problem here is that Renault focus way too much on Alonso due to Flabby Flav being his manager. If Piquet didn't have any skill as a driver, he wouldn't have got this far (OK his old man might have helped a little bit). Mabye if Flav can learn to cope with 2 drivers, Piquet might have a chance. It would be good for Piquet to go to another team and start doing well.

Beamer - Unregistered

July 24, 2009 11:57 AM

I think the biggest problem for him is, that if Alonso will leave the team at the end of the year, they will need a strong driver. Question, who will that be? It's better to test a new driver during the remainder of 2009 then during winter testing.



© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.