Nelson Piquet Jr issued a statement today, after the World Motor Sport Council verdict was announced into the Singapore race fixing case, which again slammed his former team boss Flavio Briatore, much as he had done in the summer after being sacked.
He has made a fortune from motorsport and many other businesses, so his life and livelihood are not ruined. He will suffer some associated difficulties with Queens Park Rangers as he will be disqualified from holding more than 30% of the shares as a result of his F1 ban. But the real pain he will be suffering is the double whammy of Piquet hanging him out to dry and Max Mosley using this as an opportunity to finish him off as a player in F1.
Piquet knows that he is not everyone’s favourite person at the moment and that many people in the sport find it impossible to accept that the person who actually stuck the car in the wall in Singpaore walks away without so much as a slapped wrist from the governing body.
He says he had no choice but to crash the car, because Briatore had control of his career. But if he thinks that he is being a real man by standing up to Briatore now, surely a real man, if he felt it was wrong, should have said no. He has learned some very tough lessons in life and it has almost certainly wrecked his career. But he must have known that was the likely outcome when he decided to go to the FIA.
He comes out of this very badly, as an over protected boy who could only succeed in racing when driving for his Dad’s team, but who could not get to square one or even make simple moral decisions when driving for someone else’s team. I cannot think of a single sponsor in F1 who would want to be associated with him after this.
Piquet, though, says that while he regrets his actions, it’s all over now and he’s keen to show one of the F1 teams what he can really do.
His point is that many drivers have suffered what he suffered at Briatore’s hands; the uncertainty over their futures, being treated as a commodity and discarded at will. Piquet, having found himself on the scrap heap at 23 decided not to take it lying down, but to take a stand and that is what led to the Singapore scandal seeing the light of day.
Piquet’s father, Nelson Sr revealed an unfortunate truth this week when he said that he told the FIA’s Charlie Whiting what his son had done last October. It was up to his son to make a sworn statement in order to launch an enquiry and that is what they did second time around in July.
“I am relieved that the FIA investigation has now been concluded,” Piquet Jr said. “Those now running the Renault F1 Team took the decision, as I did, that it is better that the truth be known and accept the consequences. The most positive thing to come from bringing this to the attention of the FIA is that nothing like it will ever happen again.
“I bitterly regret my actions to follow the orders I was given. I wish every day that I had not done it.
“I don’t know how far my explanation will go to making people understand because for many being a racing driver is an amazing privilege, as it was for me. All I can tell you is that my situation at Renault turned into a nightmare. Having dreamed of being a Formula One driver and having worked so hard to get there, I found myself at the mercy of Mr Briatore. His true character, which had previously only been known to those he had treated like this in the past, is now known.
“I can only hope that a team will recognise how badly I was stifled at Renault and give me an opportunity to show what I promised in my career in F3 and GP2. (both of which he did with his Dad’s team) What can be assured is that there will be no driver in Formula One as determined as me to prove myself.”