Nelsinho Piquet vowed not to 'look back' after crashing out of his home grand prix at Interlagos at the weekend on only the opening lap – as Renault have confirmed they will reveal their 2009 Formula 1 driver line-up this week.
The under-pressure Brazilian needed a strong performance in front of his partisan supporters in São Paulo to stake one final claim to retaining his seat at the Enstone-based outfit next year.
After qualifying a solid if unspectacular eleventh – missing out on the top ten shoot-out by only the very tiniest of margins – what he did not need was to spin into retirement just seconds into the race.
“I don't really know what happened,” the 23-year-old confessed. “[I don't know] if I was touched or if I simply lost control of the car, but I couldn't see that much and I lost the rear in turn three.
“It's really frustrating not to complete my home grand prix, because a lot of things happened in the race and we could probably have taken advantage of them. We should not look back, though, and I want to thank the team for their support this weekend.”
Whether that support will continue into next season remains unclear, as Renault managing director Flavio Briatore told international news agency Reuters
in Brazil that 'we will announce both drivers on Wednesday' (5 November).
Whilst former double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso is seen as all-but certain to stay on-board rather than jump ship to Honda – his only real viable alternative now – the identity of the Spaniard's team-mate could be one of potentially three drivers.
Piquet's vastly-improved second half to a troubled rookie campaign in the top flight has done much to help his cause, but with test drivers and GP2 Series front-runners Lucas di Grassi and Romain Grosjean both eagerly waiting in the wings – and suggestions the French concern 'needs' a French driver in 2009 [see separate story – click here
] – the jury remains out. Wednesday, it seems, will finally provide the answer.