Nelson Piquet Jr has launched an astonishing attack on Renault F1 team boss Flavio Briatore after revealing that he has received notice that he will be replaced in the team's driver line-up.
In a lengthy statement, Piquet said that the news he was to leave the team would be the end of the 'worst period' of his career and that Briatore hadn't been a supportive manager but an 'executioner' who prevented the Brazilian from showing what he could do in F1.
Pulling no punches in his criticism of his team boss, Piquet said he was determined to remain in the sport and again insisted he hadn't been given the same equipment and treatment as team-mate Fernando Alonso.
“I have received notice from the Renault F1 team of its intention to stop me from driving for them in the current F1 season,” Piquet said. “I want to say thanks to the small group who supported me and that I worked together at Renault F1, although it is obviously with great disappointment that I receive such news.
“But, at the same time, I feel a sense of relief for the end of the worst period of my career, and the possibility that I can now move on and put my career back on the right track and try to recover my reputation of a fast, winning driver. I am a team player and there are dozens of people I have worked with in my career who would vouch for my character and talent, except unfortunately the person that has had the most influence on my career in Formula 1.
“Anyone who knows my history knows that the results I am having in F1 do not match my CV and my ability. The conditions I have had to deal with during the last two years have been very strange to say the least – there are incidents that I can hardly believe occurred myself. If I now need to give explanations, I am certain it is because of the unfair situation I have been in the past two years.
“I always believed that having a manager was being a part of a team and having a partner. A manager is supposed to encourage you, support you, and provide you with opportunities. In my case it was the opposite. Flavio Briatore was my executioner.”
Briatore, however, hit back, telling Italian magazine Autosprint
that Piquet had 'opened the book of excuses' for his lacklustre performances and insisting that he has never treated his drivers anything less than equally.
“I've always been fair with my drivers,” urged the famously outspoken 59-year-old. “I expected more from Piquet, because this is his second year with a full-time drive. He has done less testing compared to Alonso, but Mark Webber has tested less than Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull because of his broken leg – and look where he is now.
“When a driver lacks results, he opens the book of excuses and begins. The fault is the weather, a spectator's sunglasses, a spin on the straight, this and that. It's not true that there's a technical difference of seven tenths between Alonso's and Piquet's car.
“If that was true, we'd have a car capable of winning the title – and that unfortunately isn't the case. The technical difference has always been minimal, and never longer than one race.”
“Flavio is a businessman, but he doesn't understand s**t about F1,” countered the aggrieved Piquet in an interview with the same publication. “He is my manager, but in his role of team boss he doesn't respect me. He only thinks about money, about how much money he can pocket in everything he's involved with. He's a man with no friends.
“Every day everyone asks me what's going on, so why should I always keep quiet? Webber has been in F1 since 2001. He started in a different era, when testing wasn't limited. He has probably done more than 20,000km in testing, so it's not a fair comparison. Now the situation is more difficult for a driver with little experience.
“Besides that, I have to fight against Briatore and Alonso himself, who is a fantastic driver. When I wasn't competitive in qualifying, I was the first to own up to it – but if Briatore doesn't understand that, what can I do?”
Piquet's statement can be read in full by clicking HERE