With the fate of his former employers Renault hanging precariously in the balance, and Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds having seemingly left Formula 1 for good, Nelsinho Piquet has created a trail of destruction in his wake over the past few weeks – and made himself 'unemployable' into the bargain, reckons BBC F1
commentator Martin Brundle.
It was confirmed today by Renault that managing director Briatore and executive director of engineering Symonds have parted company with the team [see separate story – click here
] – but even that is unlikely to be the final twist in a scandal that has kept the sport gripped for the last month and, Brundle contends, has done F1 no favours at all.
Should the Enstone-based outfit be found guilty of having 'fixed' the result of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix in instructing Piquet to deliberately crash to enable team-mate Fernando Alonso to win the race, the Régie
could find itself banned from competition outright – and even if it escapes with a lesser punishment or no punishment at all, some surmise, the French manufacturer may well choose to walk away at season's end regardless due to the global loss of reputation caused.
Brundle points the finger of blame firmly at Piquet and his manager father Nelson Piquet, as the paddock and public alike nervously anticipate Monday's hearing of the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) in Paris.
“The Monza weekend was dominated by the Renault controversy,” the former McLaren, Benetton and Ligier ace wrote in his regular BBC
column. “The sad thing is that the damage to F1 is already done because of the leaked information.
“I'm disappointed in Piquet father and son. Like many of us in the paddock, they have benefited enormously from being in the privileged inner sanctum of F1, and the boy's career opportunities and funding existed only because of F1 – so crashing deliberately in the first place, as he claims he did, and then lobbing this nuclear bomb into the paddock is not impressive to say the least.
“They've cut off their noses to spite their face, because surely Nelson Piquet Jr is unemployable in F1 now. Which team and sponsor wants to be associated with all this? Anger has got the better of them here. F1, though, will survive it and move on.”