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Piquet looks for the arm around the shoulder
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Piquet looks for the arm around the shoulder
Posted By:   |  08 May 2009   |  7:09 am GMT  |  0 comments

I went along to Nelson Piquet’s press briefing yesterday afternoon. The poor lad is under some pressure at the moment, with speculation that he has this race and Monaco to save his seat.

So far this season he has not impressed, struggling particularly in qualifying. Twice 15th on the grid, twice 17th he admitted that lack of testing had caused this problem,

“Not getting pre-season (testing), not running low fuel, and then suddenly, when you put everything together, you can’t get the maximum out of it. Or you push too much and you end up overdriving the car. I think I need to get qualifying sorted.. My strong point always in my career was qualifying. Of course it doesn’t mean much in lower categories, but I have been the driver with the most pole positions all the years. This year I’m struggling a little bit more. Last year it was okay because it was my first year. But this year I should have been much better in qualifying.”

Piquet is one of those drivers who needs miles under his belt to perform. He has to play himself in, can’t just turn it on straight away. It is no surprise that they have kept him in the car for this race and Monaco because they are both difficult tracks for a new guy to come in and master on a race weekend. But also because he knows this place really well, so if he’s going to do it anywhere it will be here.

Piquet can get the job done if given the preparation and the time, but what is happening to him is an illustration of the fact that in F1 nowadays you have to be adaptable and nail it first time, as drivers like Sebastian Vettel do. With no testing during the season, drivers like Piquet will become less attractive to teams.

In an amusing exchange, where he was asked whether he just needed an arm around the shoulder, a bit of a cuddle, he said,

“I think that’s also a part of it. There’s a lot of people in the team who don’t like being cuddling. But the important people that we work with day to day, the engineers, they are trying their best.

“I’m very happy to have them because they are trying everything possible to get my back into qualifying rhythm. I think I need to get my rhythm in qualifying back and once that’s sorted in the races I’m more than capable of doing it.”

He has been given a lot of help and support. Now the pressure is really on, he has to deliver on Saturday in qualifying.

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  1. Lee Gilbert says:

    Hmm- lets face it Nelson is not good enough

    Even with testing he was no different last year

  2. Thomas says:

    Well, he is better than bore-daïs.

  3. irawan says:

    Have to agree with Lee. Well Thomas what about Vettel?

  4. Gavin says:

    I think most drivers who aren’t 100% on top of their game would look bad compared to Alonso.

  5. Phil W says:

    A good point about Piquet needing miles under his belt to perform. I seem to remember reading in Autosport a few years ago that during his F3 career in South America he was able to drive more testing miles than his contemporaries. Didn’t he modify his F3 car so that it wasn’t covered by a testing ban? Now that he is on a level playing field he doesn’t seem able to keep up.
    Everyone has a limit to their talent…

  6. Gareth says:

    He did well in first practice.. Can’t see him lasting the season though !

  7. M__E says:

    I wish I saved my detailed analysis of why nelson is not performing and posted it here instead – doh!
    in short he’s finished, and just not up to it…next..

  8. Gareth Winslade says:

    Last year Renault were sending Piquet out really early in Q1 so he could settle into the rhythm and hopefully get in Q2. I don’t think I’ve seen them doing that so much this year but maybe they should.

    I’m not sure if Piquet has a future in F1. You would expect a vast improvement in a drivers second season though I suppose Kovalainen’s results have not been exactly stellar this season either!

    Nelson’s defenders often point to his second GP2 season where he was challenging Hamilton for the title but conveniently forget he was driving a car for a team built around him (Piquet Sports gives it away some what!) and was up against a rookie. It does seem to be consistent with his requiring more mileage than other drivers to achieve similar results.

    On that basis, I’d agree he’s not long for the seat.

    James, who would you see as being his replacement? I presume it would be Romain Grosjean.

  9. Gareth Winslade says:

    Do you rate him (Grosjean)?

    Didn’t get the job done in last years GP2. I was expecting big things from him after he won the GP2 Asia championship.

  10. Lee Gilbert says:

    Imagine that as a driver line up – for one of next years new teams!

  11. Thomas says:

    I think everyone agrees that seb vettel is a genius. Seems very humble too.

    It’s tough for piquet, he is clearly trying hard.

  12. James Allen says:

    Yep, He’s the back up guy at races

  13. James Allen says:

    Couldn’t say, He looked quick in GP2 Asia, but didn’t get the job done in Europe. Going up against Alonso half way through a season with no testing is not my idea of a good career move…

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