F1 Winter Break
Piquet: ‘Sorry about that, now who wants to hire me?’
Piquet: ‘Sorry about that, now who wants to hire me?’
Posted By: James Allen  |  21 Sep 2009   |  7:30 pm GMT  |  244 comments

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.

Where did it all go wrong, Nelson? (Photo: Darren Heath)

Where did it all go wrong, Nelson? (Photo: Darren Heath)

I find it incredibly ironic that a season which began with Briatore saying some extremely uncomplimentary things about Jenson Button, referring to him as a ‘concrete post’ has ended up concluding with Briatore himself being derided on all sides and hammered by one of his drivers. Flavio is the classic example of the old saying, “You live by the sword, you die by the sword.”

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.”

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Piquet is the luckiest son of a gun. I mean this sounds like a mafia story. The hit man kills someone (apparently the idea to kill was his own) then confesses to the police. The police Arrest his boss and hang his boss's boss and let the guy out free. Now the Hit man wants to be hired elsewhere!! Btw James what happens to GP2? Has Mosely worked this to kill GP2 so that he can promote his own series Formula 2??

And to all those people who think fixing a race by bending the rules is criminal read the stories from the 60's to the 90's and its full of people bending rules (right from the fan car to the traction control and active suspension era)


and what about a second driver driving slow. hapens all the time.

wonder how many team principals scape punishment for ordering that, they do it so deribelatly with fuel loads and so on.

vendeta aclompished


You're absolutely right Kedar, there was and always will be cheating. It's just the nature of the beast.

Like the Unser brothers said "It's cheating only if you get caught." 🙂



you're being a wee bit tough on a 22 year old child. As adults Flavio and Pat could have and should put the kibosh on this evil plan.


I do agree with Steve. Piquet Jr wasn't a mature enough person to be put in that situation by Briatore.

Just as a way of comparison, look at what happened to Lewis at the beginning of the year and his position in his team (being with McLaren for such a long time, with none of the sort of pressure that Briatore used to put his drivers under, he still agreed to lie to the stewards!).


Good point Daniel, about Hamilton.


Flav was rotten to the core anyhow, he was bad for F1 IMO. I can easily seem him pressuring Piquet Jnr into crashing on purpose, especially given some of the stories surrounding him.

Granted Piquet Jnr's involvement makes me think he should have served some kind of penalty, but equally Flav and Symonds would still be sat smugly in the paddock thinking they were clever boys if it were not for Piquet.

So me ? I like honesty and fair play, and I think it's good riddance to the bad rubbish that is Flav and Symonds and a slap on the back for Piquet for getting rid of them.

Piquets only hope of getting another F1 drive is to go to an honest team, so that counts out Williams, McLaren an Ferrari straight off!


This is so blatantly a witch hunt it makes me sick to the stomach. Nothing done in this mess or that before it has been remotely balanced. Since Max got caught with his pants down, eveything has been done to the tune of retribution and not that of the sport.

From the onset it would seem that the only intended target was Flavio. How can immunity to all other parties (offered AFTER they have confessed/whistle blown) be seen in any other way.

No doubt Max will be goose stepping in breifs with a bevy of paid for entertainment tonight to celebrate. What is sad is that FIA and F1 in association is strapped to the table in that party and being whipped within an inch of its life.


This is exactly the point.....there is No balance...Max Mosley got caught ....he also had a right to defend himself in court, which Briatore did not get!


Interesting post James, Perhaps no one will want to hire young Nelson at the moment, but peoples memories in F1 are selective and short.

Take Lewis Hamilton's cheating, which was every bit as bad as nelsons perhaps even worse. He was under no pressure to cheat, his career certainly wasn't in danger, yet he still went to the stewards and told lies so his competitor would be disqualified wrongly.

I dont blame lewis for that, he was led astray by people who should have known better, even more so for nelson, who was under pressure from people who should have been helping him. Nelson was a year younger at the time of his incident than Lewis was at his.

For all the moral judgements passed upon him. the verdicts in f1 are fickle, we want to see more of the winners and less of the losers. Nelson's time in F1 has been as a looser, but if we can see the brilliant kid who took Lewis to the GP2 title come back again, all will be forgiven


ok, given that F1 has short memory and people will forget about this thing quickly, what would they remember of piquet? his 17 other crashes?


It wasn't just the cheating, Nick. Remember that hand wringing performance to the press the next day that eddie jordan and others praised as 'so contrite', and 'what a man!' and 'superb' and 'every inch a champion' ?

Paige Michael-Shetley

You have got to be kidding me. Lying is nowhere near as bad as crashing your car deliberately and putting the lives of others possibly at risk.

Hamilton endangered no one's life by lying. Piquet showed that he was willing to endanger other people's lives to prolong his F1 career.


Hamilton did not endanger anyones life but he got a fellow competitor disqualified because of his lie and got caught. He only confessed when there was incontrovertible evidence against him. In my mind being the current world champion and lying so blatantly deserves a lifetime ban.

Piquet cheated as well and he also deserves a lifetime ban from motorsports.

The way both drivers cheated involves moral turpitude. Thus, in terms of the graveness of the offence they are the same.

But the FIA has two standards of Justice, one for the drivers(very lenient), and one for Flavio(very strict).

Paige Michael-Shetley

You can't equate what each driver did morally. You can argue that Hamilton deserves a lifetime ban, but you can't argue that what he did was as bad as what Piquet did. It's not even in the same solar system.


Care to explain how a little fib in regards to being passed under the safety car is 'as bad, or perhaps even worse' that stacking your car into the wall on purpose? Lewis didn't risk the lives of anyone. Nelson on the other hand risked the lives of Himself, the Marshall's, the Spectators, and the other drivers. In no way what so ever can this be compared to Lewis's event at the start of this year.


It is simple folks! No matter what you do, if you can make the car go really fast, you will get hired.

Piquet's obvious inability to drive quickly in F1 will be more of a problem to him than his wrongdoing.

Teams would hire Hitler if he were half a second faster than Hamilton!


exactly, precisely!


You're so right James. Flav will be hurting because not only did Piquet (jr and sr) get one over on him, but so did Max - and that's got to hurt! Piquet Jr simply didn't have the moral fortitude to take the high road and now will, fairly I believe, be cast into the wilderness. He has paid dearly despite his immunity.


They may not punish him, but will the FIA ever renew his super licence?

If he is saying Flav has always used drivers, is he suggesting that Flav made other drivers crash .... or was he the only one who lacked the moral courage to do the right thing, rather than just looking after his own skin?

Why did he ever get in with Flav .... there have always been stories about Flav .... did Jr like Flav's style and was he ready to ride the Flav bandwagon so long as it suited him?

Pathetic, immature, gauche excuse for a human being.

We send teenagers to war and they do the right thing, but a rich playboy couldn't even stand up to pushy bloke in designer slippers.

Is your photo choice above a deliberate jab at Jr's sexuality ... given his recent inferred outing by Flav? There are plenty of things we can say or think about Jr, but his sexuality is surely his own business and doesn't impact on his driving.

Crid [CridComment @ gmail]

Another great comment from Finn


Very well spoken,Finn! Especially the last paragraph.


"We send teenagers to war and they do the right thing, but a rich playboy couldn’t even stand up to pushy bloke in designer slippers."

Correction: those teenagers and other soldiers who go to war, while very brave and deserving of our respect, DON'T always do the right thing. Bad, tragic things happen in war, and sometimes it's because of very bad human decision making, as was the case here.

And that "pushy bloke" has a life's history of having a pretty shady reputation, (how many respectable businessmen have ANY bombings in their life, let alone TWO??). I'm not defending Piquet but no doubt Briatore didn't get to the top of his chosen fields by passively taking "No" for an answer, even from very powerful people, so I'll bet he can be VERY persuasive, particularly to some scared snot-nosed kid desperate to stay in F1.


One sentiment that i keep seeing time and again in this case, and I'll use your quote if I may to illustrate it, is this:

'...surely a real man, if he felt it was wrong, should have said no.'

Aside from this being gender stereotyping, it indicates a lack of understanding that adults - for that is what he is and was at the time - can be put in situations where they do things you would never comprehend.

Without going into a huge amount of detail I'm only a few years older than Piquet Jr and a couple of years ago found myself in a situation which, had you told me I'd put up with it and behave the way I did a few years prior to it, would have seen me laugh in your face and not believe it possible.

I ended up in a relationship with an older guy who wore my self-esteem down to nothing before being abusive in all ways and controlling my every move.

Looking back on it I can't believe how me, an intelligent young woman, ended up having someone make me like that...but it happened.

Therefore I understand where Nelson is coming from. You don't have to be a female to have your self esteem eroded to the point where you do things totally out of character and that, looking back, they can't believe they did.

That's not to excuse the danger and risk to others that occured with his behaviour, but perhaps to make people stop and think a bit more before totally condeming him and stop assuming that men can't be bullied into the ground or be weak too.


Well Totally agree that we all make mistakes and sometimes things seem all right when you have a group of "Wise" folks around you who have been in the business for a couple of decades. If Piquet had come out all by himself without any motives (or seeking revenge) and blown the whistle I would have appreciated him and his integrity. Now the problem is he chooses when he wants to be honest. I am sure he used this incident to be involved in F1 for as long as he has in 2009, which perhaps as Flav said was down to his blackmail!!


I understand the point being made but the fact is Piquet was able to stand up and take the correct decision after he was fired.

That doesn't really suggest much more than simple self-interest on his part.

Crid [CridComment @ gmail]

Rhi, I hate your comment in all respects —

> That’s not to excuse the danger and risk

> to others that occured with his behaviour,

> but perhaps to make people stop and think

> a bit more before totally condeming him

> and stop assuming that men can’t be bullied

> into the ground or be weak too.

Yes, some men CAN be bullied into the ground and made weak. These men are not admirable. And neither, for that matter, are women, and thanks for bringing it up.

This is not about self-esteem. Quite aside from the mockery it made of the competition we enjoy, lives were put at risk, including those of spectators. This is not about teenage feelings so inclusion and friendliness.


Crid, I can't help but think, or hope, you have misread Rhi's comments?

She is not saying that Piquet is admirable or that we should excuse him but raises a very fair point that many comments here are perhaps too quick to completely condemn his actions. She rightly comments that stating things like "only a true man" and dismissing him as just a privileged and spoilt brat is not a correct or accurate assessment.

What he did was wrong, pure and simple. However, the discussion here is as to his motives of why he agreed to do it?

Triple world champion Piquet Snr casts a pretty big shadow and although he has had an easy life compared to most of us, does not mean he cannot suffer from self-esteem issues. He finally made got to F1, his dream for years and years, and he can see it slipping away as he wasn't producing the performance. He had been quick in other formulas but wasn't in F1. That pressure must have got to him. Briatore telling him he was out of a job if he didn't qualify well just before he went out in the car, that must have got to him. Anyone would feel pressure and demoralised in his position.

Rhi rightly puts forward the case that Piquet "might" (none of has the proof, just opinion) have been struggling with these issues and that contributed to him agreeing to crash. Crid, you have the right to disagree with this opinion, but should not object to her raising this as an issue for discussion. She has merit in her argument whereas, in my opinion, yours is severely lacking.


And it's people that you that make battered and abused women (and men) ashamed to tell anyone and seek help cos you make them feel like it's their fault that they're suffering and not those who have done it to them.


Sorry, but I totally don't agree with that. It's funny when ppl talk about the guy as if he was going to die if he did not accept. The guy is a spoiled rich guy, has no debts to pay or children to feed. I mean I would agree with you if the guy was going to ask others for money in order to survive if he was fired.

And then let's assume that he was weak, under pressure when he has done it. Wasn't he supposed to regret it once he recomposed himself? Don't tell me that he did coz the only reason he brought this thing up is for revenge after he got sacked. There are clear ways to show regret and he did not take any of them. If he came a week after the indecent and said "Listen guys, I did this and that. I was under pressure and totally regret it.", only then we can buy it. A guy can't agree to get paid to kill somebody and when they refuse to pay him, he comes and say "you know something, I was under pressure" and receive immunity!! He could have killed someone by the way (thanks god he had 17 crashes in his resume, so he is well trained for the job of deliberate crashing).

The guy sucks, I quote Mr. Allens "…surely a real man, if he felt it was wrong, should have said no." and adds (or at least will show his regret in a way that tells he means it), there is nothing else to be said really!!


Ehh Sorry but I don't think that Nelson had a crush on Flavio! He crashed for money and fame and had the best advisors around him. He's no stupid little kiddo exploring the world. A 24 y old F1 driver is not a normal 24y old!!


Couldn't agree more. This is not a "simple moral decision". It's easy to make a black and white judgment from where we sit. But how many "good" men and women have made the wrong choice when put into a difficult situation (I'd say it's rather common)? Here in the US there are countless tales of "good" athletes choosing to use HGH or juice. In many cases it was in an effort to keep their jobs (as opposed to gaining a competitive advantage), just like NPJ. And NPJ is still a young man, which in my book cuts him a little slack. Who doesn't have youthful decisions they may regret as they've gotten older? We have the benefit of not having those decisions debated in public, NPJ does not. We should applaud people of any age that make a courageous moral stand, but I hardly think we should hold in contempt a young man who didn't rise to that level in this instance. Based on this one mistake I don't feel sorry for him, but I hardly feel he's deserving of moral outrage either.


I think this a very well made point. It is easy to sit back and judge Piquet Jr very harshly for what he did, but I think I can empathise with his position and can very easily believe he felt bullied or pressured into doing it after having his confidence knocked from criticism due to poor performances. This is not say we should excuse Jr for what he did, but maybe temper our harsh judgement a little.


I don't know if I should pull out my violin or a giant box of Kleenex.

Too bad, so sad.


Well put, James.

It sickens me when little Nelson makes himself out to be the victim. He was the man who crashed the car, the Lee Harvey Oswold at the sharp end of a conspiracy, if you like. But it was still him who pulled the trigger, still him who cheated.


And let's not forget that Piquet did not confess for the good of his soul, the sport or justice but out of revenge.

Irrespective of his possibly justified feelings towards Briatore, he has destroyed (the albeit guilty) Symonds, whom he had previously spoken of in a complimentary fashion, and put at risk an entire team and its employees, just as he risked injury to marshals, etc, with his self-seeking sham of a shunt.

Real man? This is a loathsome little pipsqueak with no consideration for anyone but himself.


Aaaahh... but did Lee Harvey actually kill JFK?



I personally think he's also a victim.


I'd say the bonus of all this is that the sport is now rid of these two. Briatore and his ill thought out remarks and Piquet with his constant excuse making for his poor performances.

At least I seriously hope that noone is so dumb as to hire that underperforming backstabbing cheat.


I know its so easy to hammer Nelson but if i was in his shoes, driving in F1, would i have done the same to save my career? Very hard to let go of a dream you've worked so hard to achieve.

Of course he was just at the beginning of his F1 career, he could have not crashed and got sacked with his dignity and respect still intact. He surely would have found another seat with Snr having significant reach in F1.

Id like to think that in Nelsons position i would have told Flav where to go but who knows.


hi james,

the only thing you can say about the whole sorry episode is that I hope that its forgotten quickly!

Its tarnished an already flagging sport, what with everything thats happened this year - diffuser-gate, lie-gate and the whole will we won't we race in F1 or our own championship!

I hope Piquet realises he'll never race an F1 car again, I can't see any sponsor wanting to be associated with him or his father.

Its time to draw a line under it and carry on with F1's main business - racing!


Yer on yer own mate!


He just might get another chance - if he was Senna-quick or Schumi-quick.

But well, I guess he isn't.

James, was he ever that good in lower categories? Did he ever show the promise of a Kimi or a Lewis? Even in karting?


He can be fast, but he's one of those drivers who needs a lot of track time to get up to speed.


James, don't you think you are being modest here? I have followed Piquet Jr. since his A1 days. He doesn't come across to me as anything mroe than an overrated, 2nd grade driver. Moreover, he as a tongue which keeps wagging all the time just like Flavio. Not a great combination, I must say. If not for his surname, I doubt his presence in F1 grid ever. Lucas deserved that seat as much as Nelson, if not more.


Aren't you a little modest here James? I remember watching Nelsinho since his A1 days. He never came across to me as an overhyped, loudmouth 2nd rate driver. If not for his surname, I doubt he would have been in F1! Di Grassi deserved that seat as much as Nelsinho if not more.


I absolutely agree with your evaluation of Piquet Jr. Where was all this courage & stuff last September? I think he can kiss goodbye to his Formula One career. A career in fashion modeling beckons. Or at best A-1 GP. But who knows, his rich papa might float a team just for him.


To start off with Piquet never belonged in F1. It was evident from the very first time he and Nico Rosberg tested the Williams.

I think there is always a price for justice to be carried out, and in this case it was immunity to Piquet.

Nonetheless I for one think that Max can comfortably head into retirement knowing that he has taken out Ron Dennis and Briatore out of the F1 scene for good.


I hope it is not a comfortable retirement - arguably Max has been no angel either over the years - this last decision in respect of Renault for example being inconsistent to say the least - and very lenient if you were to criticise - I have argued elsewhere on this site for the punishment of Renault not to be over the top - and it certainly wasnt - apart from what looks (to this punter anyway) like pretty harsh treatment of Pat


While I have a small element of sympathy for Piquet junior - it would not extend to actually hiring him. He is also not completely innocent either. There are also some seriously good drivers currently without a seat next year (Nick, Robert and Jarno) to compete with. In truth I would hire Bourdais over Piquet were I a team manager and this would be on merit. Personally I think he needs to find another series (e.g. Superleague) and attempt to re-establish a reputation and even that is going to be difficult.


is it only me?

..or does Bourdais always look like he has just been crying..lol..


Hi James,

Like you, I can't imagine that we'll ever see Nelsinho in F1 again. What would you say his motorsport options are now? If indeed there are any!

Also - what's your take on Nelson Sr in all this? I've only seen the stuff that's been on the popular F1 sites but he seems to have come out of this quite badly too - particularly the mudslinging in Alonso's direction about Fernando "having to have known" about the plan.


sad for piquet but he should have denied to crash,end that year with renault,end his association with briatore and find a new team for 2009...but instead he ruined his career...

i can only see him racing in brazilian touring cars from now on


I´m not so sure about that. Tonight Galvao Bueno ( Brazilian version of Murray Walker in F1) hosts a tv talk show about sport and the subject is bound to come up. Depending on what is said there he might not even race in Brazil.


"...surely a real man, if he felt it was wrong, should have said no..." Spot on James.


he is still a child as are most of the F1 drivers, too much too young...


Piquet may get a drive with dial-a-cab, but let's be honest he did not set the World on fire with his driving skills and now he's admitted to crashing on purpose no one is going to go near him.


Well, I wouldn't get in a cab with him ... unless I was driving!


Contrary to popular belief Nelsinho was not driving the Mercedes which crashed in the Alma Tunnel in Paris in 1998 with lady Di on board.


It's odd: if he had kept his mouth shut about crashing on purpose, then perhaps he could have had a future in another F1 team. Certainly his Renault tenure would not have helped, but his name and the fact that testing is banned would have been enough, I think.

Still, at least the sport's rid of a few cheats.


That's the bit I don't get. What was it about? Easy to conclude that it was simply revenge for being fired. But it must have been obvious that the fallout would be catastophic, with PK a major casualty, punished directly by the FIA or otherwise.

Daddy PK also must have realised that he too could only come out of it with whatever reputation he may have had badly tarnished.

I can't help thinking that something significant is missing here. It doesn't add up.


I cannot believe that Piquet thinks that he can really come back and drive for an F1 team.

Yes, Piquet should have stood up to Briatore, but equally he should have stuck up to his father.

He is as much to blame as anyone in this sorry saga - He comes across as a very bitter individual hell bent on revenge at all costs.

Piquet Snr is quoted as saying that more or less everyone must have known what was going on that day, well surely he must have known also.

A very odd situation all round.


What I find interesting, and what everybody seems to ignore, is that Pat said it was Piquet's idea. He went to great pains to not lie in any way to the stewards, but what he did say is: "Nelson had spoken to me the day before and suggested that [the crash]"

My feeling is this was all thought up by the Piquets in an attempt to secure juniors seat. FB and PS went along with it, not realising what they were getting themselves into.

Not defending PS and FB. I find their judgement fair.

The Renault punishment is just laughable. Nobody wants to see them leave, but they have not been punished at all. Not a good precedent and once again shows how inconsistent and political punishment from FIA/Stewards is. I think a reasonable fine would have been between $10mil and $25mil plus the suspended sentence.


In a long interview in the biggest news show in brazil, Piquet Sr have said that he stopped talking with his own son after he knew about and only come closer again after 2 months.

Piquet is not the most sympathetic man in the world (specially for you englishmen) but he trully didnt liked the whole thing.

Tim Cooper Duckworth

I find it amazing that Renault escaped without any real penalty. Max truly took out two kingpins of F1 out before he got the boot himself.

Along with "39,537 internet users" I too received the ING F1 Renault Teams e-newsletter on Thursday, September 17. What were they thinking? No mention of the case or Renaults press release from the day before mentioned at all - simply a sales tool to push more shirts and hats that no one wants anymore.


Although there was no "official" punishment by the FIA perhaps they have realised that he has cooked his own goose to some extent. I dare say we'll see him in the Brazilian A1GP car again (assuming that series is now OK for take off) or perhaps he'll join Bourdais in the Superleague thing, or hop over to Indycar where there is a Brazilian contingent. A string of very competitive and squeaky-clean performances in other open wheeled racing classes over the next few years might provide him a second F1 chance later in his career.


I cannot see Piquet in an A1GP car. I do not like the series but these drivers represent their countries. How many Brazilians will want to be represented by a cheating, vengeful heap of mediocrity?


I don't think that even given the chance Nelson would want to go back to A1GP. He has been there done that. He was the first ever A1GP winner. He won the first two races at Brands Hatch in 2005 on the very same day Fernando clinched his first World Championship. I was there. He drove well that day but I can't remember who the other drivers were to be honest.

He is more likely to go back to Brazil and race in one of the local series where so many not so good Brazilian drivers ended up before him.

I can't figure out why he did not kept quiet. Look at Bourdais, he too had a tough time in F1 and was bitter of having been let go but he swallowed his pride, swiftly moved on and promptly won a race in Super League. Who knows he might come back to F1 one day and have better luck. Scott Speed too moved on after a bitter exit and tried his luck in another formula. Nelsinho was fighting Lewis in GP2 so with a bit of patience and luck he could have found a way back to F1 and come back perhaps in a few years as a more mature driver. He ruined that opportunity for good.

The only option left for him is to create a new formula where he would race Leo and Greg Mansell who are not exactly top level material either but spoiled kids like him who race only because dad has money to buy them a drive.

Another Mansell versus Piquet rivalry would attract people I am sure 🙂

I don't think it is a coincidence that the only two successful sons of F1 drivers who won in F1 (Damon and Jacques) had no pushy dads around but fought for themselves and amde it entirely on their own merit and hard work. Nico is doing well too because Keke is not around and does not want to get involved in his son's career. Full mark to him for acting this way.

The FIA should ban all these pushy dads acting as their sons' managers from the F1 (and other series) paddock. Can you imagine Stirling Moss, Fangio, Clark, Stewart, Hunt, Jones or Scheckter having theirs dads in the paddock managing their career when they were racing ? No way !!!

To be a dad and a manager is another obvious conflict of interest. A son, out of loyalty to his dad, might agree too easily to some bad/illegal/dangerous decision made by his dad acting as his manager to further his career and that could lead to more problems for F1. We witnessed such problem in Tennis. It could happen in F1. This should be looked into by the FIA by implementing a new rule forbidding it to be possible.


I agree, DAN, with your comments on Piquet but I'm not so sure about the fathers bit. There is a difference between support and pushiness (if such a word exists). Button and Hamilton both have omni-present paternal relatives who appear to be supportive rather than pushy or dictatorial. Comparisons with Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve are dodgy for obvious reasons.

I have spoken with Damon Hill at a couple of Formula Ford events this year, where he supports his son, Josh. My impression is of a combination of support, pride, enthusiasm and fear. I felt the same when I spoke to Jody Scheckter some years ago. You are probably right about Piquet (and maybe Mansell but I'd trust his integrity, I think)) but I would hate to taint all F1 fathers.


I'm pretty sure Stirling Moss's dad was around in the paddock quite a lot during his son's career.


Well, if it's anything to go by, and it might not be much, the situation has not affected his stock on Twitter. twittercounter.com shows his followers steadily rising from 71000 to 87000 since the end of August, compared to only 6000 of us who follow James Allen. Nelsinho usually tweets in his native language so I can't understand most of the tweets and replies on his page, but it doesn't *look* like his followers are all messaging him to slag him off. Then again I guess the views that really matter are those of the teams he might get a drive with in some series or other. On 1st Sept he tweeted in English that it was looking good for next year so maybe he has something lined up already.


Don't see him in Indycar at all. There's been a whole lot talk about this in the IRL (which has a sizable Brazilian contingent) and right now in a series that is somewhat dictated by sponsorship's, his name is dirt.

I've no idea what the story is with A1GP or Superleague, but I think the same applies - who is going to want to be associated with him?


I'm sorry, but I don't what 'driving for his Dad's team' has to do with it. Nelson Jr won in two series in which the cars are either virtually identical (F3) or entirely identical (GP2). To win in either formula shows raw driving talent and I'm certain that Nelson Jr would shine in a team where he was given an even chance in equal machinery.


Crid [CridComment @ gmail]

> I’m certain that Nelson Jr would shine

> in a team where he was given an even

> chance in equal machinery.

Some blogger said there 17 spins in 24 races. (And no my knowledge, no one's begun investigation of the other sixteen. It might be fruitful...)


In the light of the recent crashgate story I wonder if the FIa should not look back retrospectively at the entire career of Andreas de Crasheris and see if some of his big crashes who made him infamous were not intentional fools committed to help his team mates ?

Only joking but who knows 🙂



Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that you are saying that whole GP2 grid is actually more level playing field than two F1 cars from the same team.

I don't really think it's like that.


You're comparing just two drivers now, one an ex world champion and acknowledged as one of the best there is...even within Renault it was not the case that Piquet had the same car as Alonso for most of this season.

With F3 and GP2 I'm comparing him with a much larger field of drivers with more or less equal equipment.

My view is simply that Piquet didn't get a fair crack of the whip under Briatore at Renault and does deserve another chance. However, I doubt he'll get it and for a very good reason.



I guess Papa Piquet with all the money can start a team for him, otherwise who would hire someone that they would be scared of firing ?


Hmm...there's a thought. They could call the team "Broken Arrow". The driver's not much good, but you can't fire him.


Broken Back Arrow =)


A spoilt brat just like his father.

If briatore had kept him on the little pampered shit would have still been trundling along at the back of the grid now.

He will never drive a F1 car again


Agreement here also!


Gotta agree with this


I sincerely hope I don't see nelson piquet jr on an f1 grid. His role is no less than the others. This whole thing has greatly saddened me but if piquet jr turns up next year with a fat contract in his back pocket I will be looking forward to some more of his crashes!


Judging by the picture immunity is a good thing. The clear truth is that even the picture (as outstanding as Darren Heath is) is a fake. Piquet Jr doesn't doesn't have the emotional intelligence to pull those two birds in a go. It's a setup. Same goes for his F1 career. Piquet Snr got him in the car and Flavio knew and used the situation to whatever advantage he thought he needed. I also dream of being a F1 racing driver but lack the talent and don't have the money to buy a seat. Instead I enjoy it as much as I can. The return of Piquet to F1 would be the confirmation that only the very privileged have a shot in this world. Sport was invented to dismiss such an assertion. Please give the opportunity to promising young drivers.


Nelson Piquet really now deserves his title as 'Jr'.


Call me a cynic, but I don’t think Piquet Jr. would’ve written that statement without Mosley giving him some sort of promise of help. Mosley wanted dirt on Briatore; Piquet Jr. wanted a ride – they each had something the other wanted.

If Mosley knew about this since last year, I think he was only waiting until he had that leverage over Piquet Jr. (i.e. after he was out of a job).

Mosley has an inordinate amount of control over the new teams entering F1. They’re entering on his terms, not all of them public. He just has to ‘suggest’ that a team’s entry will get a little boost by writing in Piquet Jr. as a provisional driver, and they’ll do so. Besides, there are only so many superlicensed drivers out there, and a number of spots opening up next year. All Piquet (and his father) have to do is convince the sponsors that Jr. was a victim of brutal mismanagement and they’ll give him another chance.


Very interesting - one could totally see that scenario playing out. For sure Mosley knew long before this, so he's definitely been biding his time to wreak maximum damage to his enemies with it...


I think this has a whiff of truth about it... Isn't it quite widely known that although the FIA seems to have a special interest in all the new teams, they have an extra eye on Manor F1. Nick Wirth is an old friend of Max Mosley and may be convinced by taking on Nelsinho if his pay was subsidised by the FIA perhaps?? Virgin seem to have already signed a long-term deal with them, and maybe they too can be convinced of Piquet's 'victim' status instead of the conspirator in him too?

Although I think this is a despicable act, I do understand Piquet's explanation. Flav is like a mafia boss in his methods (and some of his past :P) and that can be very overbearing for a young rookie like Piquet. Top that with his 3-time WDC father hawking over him and you get a young lad who would consider putting a car in the wall, if it meant some praise or even some attention. I think it is right in some ways that this is focussed on Flav, as he is a truly terrible man and the things that happen around are too many and too coincidental to be acts of other people.

If he does miraculously get another drive, he better make good on it and show everyone how good he really is. I'm sure if he did get a drive he would be under strict watch from the FIA and the team, just to make sure no more funny business went on...


I feel a bit bad for Piquet, but he can't just cry that it was all Briatore's fault that he never impressed in F1. He had a chance, and he wasn't up to it. I think a comparison to Heikki Kovalainen is somewhat enlightening: Heikki's start of his rookie year was miserable just as Piquet's was, and Briatore certainly let him hear that. The difference is, Heikki pulled it together and had a great latter part of his rookie year, outdriving Fisichella. Of course one can't expect Piquet to outdrive Alonso, but he certainly should've been able to improve alot.

However, given Piquet's recent comments, it's interesting to remember back to last year, and what McLaren had to say about Heikki's mental condition: according to them Heikki was completely wrecked and it took alot of work for them to rebuild his self-esteem. That does give some credibility to what Piquet has been saying. Nevertheless, the fact remains that Heikki was able to overcome that on track, Piquet wasn't. I don't think he belongs to F1.


I have no sympathy for that spineless worm. If he had any integrity to begin with he would have refused to crash. If he had remorse he would have come forward shortly afterward. Instead, he chose to take revenge for being fired due to his lack of talent.

Good bye and good riddance, Nelsinho.


Piquet has only blown the whistle because he was dropped from the team. He has acted as a petulant and spoilt kid who did not get his own way, not out of any sense of morality or honesty. Had he not lost his drive he would not have spoken out.

I hope we never see him again in an F1 car. It was bad enough listening to his excuses for failure at each race without now having the knowledge he is a cheat.


As a note to all the people commenting about what he "should" have done, but overlook is he was under Briatore´s management contract he would have been "stuffed" and probably not released from the "contract" legally to race elsewhere etc as revenge by Briatore. Given the legal obstacles this represented, one has to consider his "predicament" It is never as it seems, so deriding him is not necessarilly fair, it is an emotive reaction, partly true but overcooked also, in view of a lack of the "full" facts. Just my thoughts.

Crid [CridComment @ gmail]

> under Briatore´s management contract he

> would have been stuffed and probably not

> released from the contract legally

> to race elsewhere

So, golly, a grown man is put under some pressure in a sporting league, so therefore it's forgivable to befoul the competition and put the lives of spectators at risk?

No. No.


The guy has not been fast enough,THAT is his problem.

James you talk about the sponsors,I agree with you,but Schumacher won 1 title by hitting Hill on purpose,he did it again 3 years after but could not achieved it,he parked his car in Monaco to secure a pole.....isn't that enough to scare sponsors?

That is being a cheat.

He was fast,and in F1(at least on this modern times) is what counts.


Dear Hugo,

i am not a dedicated fan of Schumacher, but there is one thing to crash in your rival while seeing the championship slipping out of your fingers, and another to sit on the beach and plan meticulously how to crash your car...

I don't justify Schumi's act, but it's surely not just speed!


And I would like to add that if piquet jr was going to be the next Schumacher he would never have been put in this situation. So times up on his career any driver who considers that crashing is better than honestly trying his best to prove his worth must know his days are numbered. There are so many better drivers out there, when is someone going give Anthony davison a chance?


Well, there’s certainly no denying the little lad has optimism by the bucket load and a sense of humour to match. Nelsinho just needs to grow some balls of his own now.

While Pat and Renault should have known better we may miss Flav’s and his amusingly nonsensical attempts to practice his English on TV. Ultimately he brought little to the table and his loss is surely being denied the glamour association of F1. Let’s face it, as gorgeous as he is to behold, it is unlikely he would have pulled some of the girls he did if he’d stuck to flogging shell suits at Benetton.

Anyway, it’s been fun but I’d like a bit of a break from the off track antics. Let’s enjoy some racing again.


Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Give Nelson a break. Blaming a whistle blower for being part of the problem is easy, but I wonder how we can ever fairly judge Nelson's character and motives? We can't. Leave him be and resist putting the boot in.

He's recovered some of his dignity by coming clean and helping the FIA clean up some of the dark side of F1. He's also set himself up to be the target of many a fan and journalist.

A brave driver who he could have just landed a pay seat next year with a struggling team but instead chose to come clean.


What do you expect when F1 sanctions a blatant conflict of interest.

Briatore should have been instructed years ago that it was driver mgnt or team principal, that no one within the sport forced the issue tells you a lot about the acceptance of casual corruption that is rife.

Had NPj had a strong willed independent manager prepared to go eyeball to eyeball with Briatore and Simmonds this wouldn't have even been discussed let alone carried through.

Can you imagine Hamilton Riakkonen or Schumacher's managers allowing this to happen?


Or Alonso's. Errr.. that's Briatore isn't it?


I think that this blog entry is a little too scathing of Piquet Jr. I think it's inappropriate to comment on how, as a man, he should or shouldn't behave. Without wishing to bring this down to a level where we're comparing driver behaviour and arguing whose actions are worse/better, but much of what we regularly see from drivers is hardly the behaviour you'd generally associate with being particularly manly or honourable. Some of the stuff Schumacher pulled was both dangerous and childish, yet the fact he was a winner means most (not all) of this is washed over.

While I would in no way, shape or form condone Piquet's behaviour, he has had the cojones to stand up to one of the toughest and most durable characters in F1. For that alone, he deserves a degree of respect.

I love your blog and am an avid reader but I cannot help feel that this whole approach to the Renault scandal has been a little subjective. No holds barred criticism of Piquet but barely a murmur (in this and previous posts on the topic) about the possibility that Alonso was in on this. I understand there's a limit to how much you can speculate but surely, if you are willing to so openly criticise Piquet Jr for his actions, why pay such short shrift to the possibility (probability?) that Alonso was well aware of what happened? I seem to recall you mentioning that Fernando's reaction on TV seemed to clear him of having any knowledge but a carefully placed comment in front of the cameras is hardly a stretch of the imagination given the complexity of this scheme. I'm aware that it's a separate topic but I find the disparity in how the two have been portrayed quite disappointing.

That's two of the biggest scandals in the history of F1 that FA has been pretty close to. I'm sure this kind of thing is incredibly difficult to prove but I'm sure it's not just me that thinks that's probably a bit than coincidence.


Funny how James has shown nothing but contempt for Piquet jr. but edifies Briatore and Symonds. Surely Briatore or Symonds had the idea before the other. Why didn't the other one say no?.....Think about it.


I must say this is an interesting one.


Perhaps because Piquet agreed to the conspiracy but a year later, after he was finally sacked for incompetence, he betrayed the deal, went running to the FIA - having all of a sudden discovered his moral compass - and nearly got 700 people sacked. Whereas Briatore and Symonds fell on their sword to save the team, after their deeds were uncovered.

They're all guilty as hell. Only one is a spiteful, bitter weasel who negotiated immunity from censure. If the FIA already knew, why did Jnr need immunity?


Piquet has blown it both ways, teams with integrity would have expected him to blow the whistle last year, teams without integrity would have expected him to keep quiet at all costs. Blowing the whistle late and in your own interest is a no win situation for him. I agree with an earlier response, if he wants a professional drive it will probably be a cab.


I am glad to see the back of Junior. He has shown that not only is he weak, he cannot be trusted. It's a fine thing to blow the whistle after you've been sacked, a man would have sworn out a statement immediately. A real man would have said "No, I will not crash for you." I always found junior to be a whiner racing against Alonso, I won't miss him. Not to put too fine a point on it, but junior is the actual race-fixer. He crashed his car in order to provide an advantage for his teammate. Why he did this or who else was involved does not change the fact that he executed the criminal act. I wouldn't let him drive for any team.

Goodbye Junior, I hope not to see you on a track again.


There could be 4 new teams next year (if the new BMW team is allowed in) and so 8 seats up for grabs. As much as its hard to see him getting a drive, if he was able to muster up some sponsor money to go with him, I could imagine one of the new cash-strapped teams might possibly consider it. I hope not though.


"a season which began with Briatore saying some extremely uncomplimentary things about Jenson Button, referring to him as a ‘concrete post'"

Perhaps the real reason Piquet was sacked was that someone from Renault pointed out to Briatore that 'piquet' in French means a picket or stake...


Great choice of photo James! 🙂


I feel very sorry for Nelson, how he must of suffered at the hands of his boss. I know what that feels like. I hope he has learnt from it, as I did. And stand up for himself, never let yourself be controlled by others, however great the prize.



What a mess? Am I the only who thinks that Renault should have had a more severe punishment?


A disappointing article, from the title downwards, but balanced by some of the comments. Rhi and Paul MC have pretty much said what I wanted to say, both about the use of the term 'real man' and about the lack of understanding about how easy it is to make the wrong decision (especially in an enclosed, hothouse atmosphere as F1 must be). Are some people really as steadfast in their morality as they seem to think that they are from their comments on Piquet?


The sad part is that all this wouldn't have happened if NP Jr. was a faster driver getting more points for the team and scoring regularly. If that was the case he would have never agreed to such a plan no matter who brought it up. And isn't it sad that his 2009 contract had a clause that he could be booted if he didn't score 40% as many points as FA. Imagine negotiating that... His agent and father sitting down and bargaining for a figure of 25% and Renault wanting 50-60% in the contract before they agreed upon 40%. I would be ashamed to have such a paltry figure in my contract. No matter what you may think of LH's 2007 season, he would never accept scoring 40% as many points as his teammate no matter if he had just won two WDCs on the trot. And I dare say Nico would never have such a clause in his contract either. For Sr. to put that in the contract must only be interpreted as a giant vote of no-confidence in his son. How can NP Jr. ever have a shred of self respect with this kind of thing negotiated? I would say that getting such a low regard from your own father is more psychologically debilitating than any amount of abuse that Flav could ever pour on him.

Whether Flav and PS thought up the plan because it became clear to then that all the help to the team that they could ever expect from NP was a few crumbs and some seriously bent cars, or whether NP thought it up because it was something he could offer the team.... well it is all a pretty sad commentary on NP Jr's driving and his ability to contribute to the team. All this is apart from the ethics. Even if FB, PS and NP Jr all had ZERO ethics, if NP Jr was faster such a plan would not have been considered because NP Jr would be solely focussed on getting his own points if in fact he was fast enough to achieve them. Since he was not fast enough either FB and PS were able to convince him that he could "contribute" to the team by crashing or NP Jr. suggested it because he knew getting points on merit was beyond his ability.


And the sad part is that all this wouldn't have happened if NP Jr. was a faster driver getting more points for the team and scoring regularly. If that was the case he would have never agreed to such a plan no matter who brought it up. And isn't it sad that his 2009 contract had a clause that he could be booted if he didn't score 40% as many points as FA. Imagine negotiating that... His agent and father sitting down and bargaining for a figure of 25% and Renault wanting 50-60% in the contract before they agreed upon 40%. I would be ashamed to have such a paltry figure in my contract. No matter what you may think of LH's 2007 season, he would never accept scoring 40% as many points as his teammate no matter if he had just won two WDCs on the trot. And I dare say Nico would never have such a clause in his contract either. For Sr. to put that in the contract must only be interpreted as a giant vote of no-confidence in his son. How can NP Jr. ever have a shred of self respect with this kind of thing negotiated? I would say that getting such a low regard from your own father is more psychologically debilitating than any amount of abuse that Flav could ever pour on him.

Whether Flav and PS thought up the plan because it became clear to then that all the help to the team that they could ever expect from NP was a few crumbs and some seriously bent cars, or whether NP thought it up because it was something he could offer the team.... well it is all a pretty sad commentary on NP Jr's driving and his ability to contribute to the team. All this is apart from the ethics. Even if FB, PS and NP Jr all had ZERO ethics, if NP Jr was faster such a plan would not have been considered because NP Jr would be solely focussed on getting his own points if in fact he was fast enough to achieve them. Since he was not fast enough either FB and PS were able to convince him that he could "contribute" to the team by crashing or NP Jr. suggested it because he knew getting points on merit was beyond his ability.


Jaems, Sorry if this is a repost but you blog has been messing me about.

Anyway, first, possibly second, posting.

I know it is easy to criticise Piquet junior but that is no reason not to.

Please keep a box of tissues to hand for the first paragraph or two.

On occasion I had to turn up for work at 5.45 am to an office on the edge of one of Brighton’s most depressing council estates, Moulscombe, on the A23. You’ve probably seen it, on the right, just by the traffic lights immediately after the railway bridge. It has its fair share of drug dealers, groups of feral youths, disjointed families and its own file in the CID office. Yet after my early morning cuppa I would turn out, drive through the estate and see queues of teens/early 20s at the various bus stops waiting to be taken into town.

Busses arriving would disgorge older people, cleaners, returning after their two or three hour basic wage stint polishing offices and washing floors. The word career would be a strange one to them.

I suppose you will have got my drift by now.

I was born and brought up in the East End. Whilst I’m not totally clean, I feel I am honest. I burned down three what we called tower blocks, but were only four storey tenements, even in the 50s. They were empty as they’d been damaged in the war. My one consolation is that the site is now a park, one of the few on the Isle of Dogs for many years. When you cross the Thames at Greenwhich via the foot tunnel, the greenery you encounter when you come out on the other side of the river is courtesy of me and two of my mates. I’m still waiting for the honorary plaque.

So I know that there are precious few who are sparkling clean throughout their life – Alonso being the only one I am aware of. But I can’t agree that Renault’s decision not to contest the charge is in any way similar to Piquet’s decision to crash into a wall. Renault were, if they are to be believed, ignorant of the actions of three of their staff. Piquet was a co-conspirator, and originator if Pat Symonds is to be believed.

His statement lacks contriteness. (Yes, the word does exist. I checked.) It doesn’t come over as the acceptance speech of someone who acknowledges that what he did was beyond the pale. It is one thing to bitterly regret, it is another to agree that what he did bordered on the criminal. Following orders is the weakest of excuses.

He had it all, didn’t he. And from an early age. It might not be apposite but I can’t help wondering what the kid waiting at the bus stop, sodden from the early morning drizzle, will think of Piquet. They’ve been tested already, and probably many times.

The arrogance at the end, ‘No driver in Formula One . . .’ really repulses. It is just as if he feels he deserves to be there on skill alone. Surely morals come in there somewhere. There are a lot more drivers awaiting the chance to prove themselves. The feeling I get is that Piquet already has.

My experience is that as you go through life there are many tests (tissue time alert). Most of us will fail one or two. But being a racing driver and not driving into walls would be, I suggest, one of the easiest to pass.

When you fail the norm is that you pay for the mistake. There are few circumstances where you can go back and start all over again.

Piquet blew it and it is sad that he did. My sympathy is tempered by the fact that it took him a year and a sacking for his sense of honesty to overcome his understandable reluctance to cough to it. My feeling is: Shame on you, Piquet. But shame is missing from his press release. Let us hope it does come. It will do him good.


Brilliant post...


I couldn't agree more. He's older than many of the men (and 'boys') we send to far flung countries to fight wars for us - some of whom sadly don't come back. We expect them to face the Taliban and he expects sympathy and understanding for not being able to face Flavio Briatore? Not from me I'm afraid.

In the words of James Robertson-Justice from that great film about a Grand Prix car (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) - "Had your chance, muffed it!"


Why are so many people putting the knife into Piquet for deliberately crashing when the FIA planted the seeds back in 1990 when they let Senna win the title by deliberately crashing out with Prost. This let to shumi taking out Hill in 1994 & trying it in 1997. Bot of them had previous form in being over enthusiastic in putting pressure on others.

I am just saying that there is a point at which we start on a slippery slope and that was years ago.


Hi James.

Firstly I'd like to sing my praise for your website. It is the best place in my opinion, to get real F1 insider information. (lol its funny, as I sit here replying to a professional journalist, I am painfully aware of my grammar)

Ok, to the point of my reply/question. You obviously and understandably feel very disappointed with Nelson Piquet jr's actions. However, he was one of three culprits, two of which were his highest ranking superiors. Do you consider them as responsible as Nelson? And are you as angry with them as you are with Nelson?

Secondly you said "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."

What I'd like to ask is; did you feel that Lewis Hamilton had failed ,to a degree, as a man, when he repeatedly told mistruths to the stewards and later Charlie Whiting about the events during the Australian race, under the instruction of his superiors?

Granted the incidents are planets apart in severity but I feel there is a certain overlap between both situations regarding 'doing what one is told'and the obvious pressures both individuals were experiencing at the time.

On a personal note, I feel the only proper sentence the WMSC could have dealt to Renault, given the severity of the crime, is a permanent ban from the sport.

And that is coming from someone who LIKES Renault F1.

Kind regards,



Yes, I would agree with the Lewis comparison and he admitted that himself. It was a bad episode for him and he did the wrong thing which will always haunt him and stain his character, but clearly not as bad as deliberately crashing to fix a race.


I am not so sure about how "clearly" Hamilton's action was not as bad? He deliberately lied to fix a race. Both were deliberate, and both were cheating. Hamilton only came clean when he was caught out, whereas Piquet came clean when he had a vengeful motive. The only area where I can see that Piquet Jr was worse, is safety concerns... but then isn't danger part of the allure of F1 anyway?

I wholeheartedly agree with anyone declaring Piquet Jr not fit for F1 due to his lack of talent, however if you say he should never race again because of this incident, then you must be ready to say the same for Hamilton... and Schumacher & Senna & Prost for that matter.


Crash-gate or not Piquet was damaged goods, and was never going to get another F1 drive unless daddy set up a team for him. Thankfully that doesn't seem to be the case.

It is very clear that he will not be missed.

Alonso's comments after Piquet was fired were interesting. He said something along the lines of that he was unable to make the connections with the people in the team. Piquet always had a misguided sense of entitlement and misplaced arrogance that has got him into this situation

Crid [CridComment @ gmail]

> Crash-gate or not Piquet

> was damaged goods

Interesting point, thanks.


while i do feel sorry for him and understand the pressure he must have been under the truth is he risked live's by agreeing to do what he did. The greats make thier presence felt as soon as they turn a wheel, i am afraid he has ruined his career but to be honest.. he never had the speed and had the oppertunity because of who he was, not what he did. The whole situation potentally could have caused serious injury to the fans and stewards or worse and this whole situation is dispicable.


Great blog James.

I reckon Piquet will be on the grid next year, that was probably part of the deal, max and bernie will arrange it as piquet has helped destroy another FOTA ringleader.


I am a cynic but not this cynical. Who would ever want NP to drive their car? He crashed 16 other times, as far as we know without instruction. What team want that many bent cars? Give me Nick and 33 races consecutively finishing... it would pay for his contract on saved cars and parts alone.


Mr Allen, its time to take a step back. You have known F1 for so many years and been involved at personal level. In my experience as an employer over the years, young people in their early 20's make mistakes, are given the wrong advice that they follow etc. Nelson is young and lets face it we all make mistakes and wrong decisions at that age. Look, he was wrong in what he did, but if you have a couple over overbaring people in control of your'e future what do you do... comply, thats what you do.. If you take away the F1 and put him in a day to day job picking cabbages, if your'e boss tells you its a carrot, then its a carrot...


And also, top-level athletes are not (and should not be) considered as young and immature children... At 34 they get their pension, your average guy has 30 more years to go...


Sorry, normal young people in everyday jobs don't get paid $1 million a year and drive F1 cars into a wall at 100mph. Tell me what is normal about the white heat of top level competition. Desperate men do desperate things


Completely agree James. If NPJ still had a drive with Renault, none of this would have come to light. This I find incredible if what NPS says is true re his conversation with Whiting. I don't see how anyone can expect anyone involved in this sorry mess to come away smelling of roses.

If NPJ was an ordinary Joe, I imagine he would be a cabbage picker given his lack of talent behind the wheel.


I agree with you to some extent, but, most drivers I have met are very normal albeit rich when compared to actors, pop stars and the like. They arent as big headed, are way more shy, less arrogant out of the car, softer, feel more inferior and arent so phased by the money. In other words they are more likely to be pushed around because they are usually quiet and studious types to being with.

Most drivers are in the position they are because of years of hard work and misery trying to make it from the bottom to the top and its bloody hard work. I know I am there. I wish I could find sponsors to drive in FPA but its nigh on impossible. I come from a council estate so I have no chance. I would choose to go for a drink with an F1 driver over an actor or a rock star every time. Yes most drivers are desperate because to make it to the top takes an inordinate amount of effort to get somewhere that would cause most people to walk away and do something else. Yes they are privileged to be in F1 but what everyone forgets is the 10 years of sheer determined grit it takes to get there in the first place.


Piquet makes me sick.



what I want to know is whether Nelson Jnr confided in his father prior to the crash and sought advice, seems likely that he would have. If that's the case then it seems a bit rich for to have caused all this. He should have made a stand then..


I read that dad found out 2-3 days later.


thanks Graham, still reckon he must have known beforehand, they seem pretty tight


It sounds like he didn't from reading his testimony. He confided in a friend


James, do you think this will alter the way that Piquet Snr will be remembered? He hasn't exactly covered himself in glory with all of this. If nothing else, you would have thought he would have been able to offer Jnr a bit more support if Flavio was as bad as is being made out.

Paige Michael-Shetley

Piquet, Sr. didn't exactly have the most sparkling reputation as a human being before all of this began. In fact, I can't think of many more clearly vile people in the history of F1 than him.


Of course, we are all judged by our actions


Yes, the apple does not fall to far from the tree?

Michael Frennesson

I noticed that young Piquet was satisfied when all was settled regarding crashgate and that he got Flavio Briatore banned for life from F1.

Do you think that all this was down to revenge?

Does it mean that Briatore ordered him to crash all these times (I think it was 17 times during his stay with Renault)? What goes around comes around, the truth is young

Piquet shouldn't be in F1 if it wasn't for his name, is there anyone (media, teambosses, drivers, spectators) who have been been impressed of him?

How much influence of this outburst do you think comes from his father (who never was a nice fellow despite his 3 titles)?

Do you really think that it never happened before that a team does everything to succeed? Would be

interesting to hear your view of this matter.


Hi James,

May be you can explain to me why on earth a team mannager will do anything to stop his second driver to score points like Piquet claimed that Briatore did. What good does that do to the team? I find it hard to believe Piquet. To me, there's no doubt that he did all this for his own personal benifit, i.e. a 2009 drive.


Of course they don't do that, because it leads to a lower position in the constructors championship and that leads directly to less revenue


I find it hard to believe, that so many people kept using this “whistle-blowing” term, when describing PKJr scheming acts. Maybe I am wrong here, but a true whistle-blowers are never associated personally with reported wrong-doing, aren't they? Moreover, they are often putting their own safety, livelihoods, if not lives, in order to bring to light fraud, any misconduct etcetera.

“A whistleblower is a person who alleges concealed misconduct on the part of an organization or body of people, usually from within that same organization. This misconduct may be classified in many ways; for example, a violation of a law, rule, regulation and/or a direct threat to public interest, such as fraud, health/safety violations, and corruption”.

“The term whistleblower derives from the practice of English bobbies, who would blow their whistles when they noticed the commission of a crime. The whistle would alert both law enforcement officers and the general public of danger.”

How does it fit our 'hero' then? He did put his live at risk al right, but only to earn a trust and 'few million' quid by keeping his drive in Renault F1. How noble! Besides they all risking their health out there, so what's the difference anyway? That was only, by some coincidence then, that it took him exactly the same amount of time, to recover from state of mental difficulties he suffered, as for Briatore to make him redundant! He was so non compos mentis for all that time of employer/manager pressure, that he happened to remember all the details of the case and technicalities of his crash! It all played beautifully to FIA's advantage, in their hunt for bad boy FB. The bad guys were caught and sentenced (rightly so) and our “whistle-blower” got away unharmed, looking forward to prove, that his driving skills match his undeniable whistle-blowing talent. There is justice after all ...

Mind you though:

“Whistleblowers frequently face reprisal - sometimes at the hands of the organization or group which they have accused, sometimes from related organizations, and sometimes under law”.

Wonder, if there is still a prize to pay?


I wouldn't let him drive a shopping cart. He waited a year to speak up and waited to apologized only after he got his boss sacked?

I'm only surprised he didn't blame it on the evils of rock music or video games.


Good Post James.

It was bound to happen sooner or later. If Piquet Jr, didn't exact his revenge on Flavio Briatore, another disgruntled ex-driver (under his watch) would have done the same thing.

Briatore was "Double Dipping" on both sides of the negotiation table. He was an agent for numerous F1 drivers, while at the same time, a team principal for Renault F1. He was playing with fire and got burnt in the end.

The really sad part is that Renault & Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn let him get away it for so many years. Briatore's downfall is a mere reflection of the BIGGER corruption prevalent in F1 today.


I find it ironic that despite me constantly pointing out ( in other articles ) that Senna, Prost, Schumacher - all world champions all deliberately drove into other drivers (risking lives - fixing race results) nobody in the press... James?.... wants to mention this.

Constantly wanting to hang shame on Piquet Jr, yet ignoring other cheats ( who by the way took ages to confess their guilt) is very underhand


Glad you mentioned Senna here, as most people seem to believe that these things began and ended with Schummi.


Dave, what Senna, Prost and Schumacher did, is totally different to this. These individuals acted by themselves, not with the knowledge of anybody else in the team. They were there one on one. This there actions were for self interest.

The three individuals involved in this case should be banned for life. Piquet should not be given immunity.


I was never saying it was identical, just the point that the end action of running a competitor of the road was as dangerous ( more so if you read Maurice Hamilton's Guardian article) than piquets. As selfish, and fixed the race.

Why are you saying that because 3 individuals were involved it makes it worse? One on one?... are you saying that some how Prost had some choice in the matter, or that the public wanted to see a crash on the first corner. And the fact that anyone could have been killed was OK?

You are also saying Piquet should have been banned for life but it's OK for Senna, depsite what everyone acknowledges to be an absolute cheating action?

It's this constant inconsistency that is prevelant in the FIA...


If you don't understand the difference between those events and the Piquet crash, I for one am not going to waste time explaining it to you.

And that goes for everyone else who compares this event and aftermath with say, the Prost-Senna thing.


Easily said, but I am backing my comments up with explanations...


Missing the point of my post entirely......


Schumi and Senna yes but not Prost. And Certainly not at Suzuka in 89. Look at the video all you want... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiaQf7mhUBQ


There are many views on 89. But if you wish skip that one and just deal with Senna and schumacher..

People should try to think about Piquet and his position. By the way, I am no special piquet fan. I wanted him out for the 2009 season and could not understand why he was given a contract.. until now!


one thing that i can remember from the race last year that nobody has mentioned - soon after piquet crashed the (renault powered) red bull cars came straight into the pits and made a massive gain in track position - how come they werent at least questioned by the FIA/QUEST as part of the investigation? (not that i am implying that red bull had prior knowledge of the race fixing incident)


Speaking of drivers deliberately crashing, I can remember the Senna and Prost incidents...just as dangerous the one where Senna took Prost out at the start to win the championship...lucky no other driver was caught up in that..it always has happened in F1 things like this, They just usually do it on the quiet and not so public. We all may think its an honest sport but where huge amounts of money and big companies are involved it is anything but, the reality is its a harsh cut throat business where dog eats dog win at all costs which just happens to be a sport. I am sure there are more things we dont hear about that have happened. It may look nice on the TV but I bet its like being in a warzone sometimes. Lots of rich egos walking around and stuff. I am not looking at this through the blinkers of being a beloved fan of F1 because at the end of the day I love all motorsports and so have stepped back to get a clearer view. What Nelson did was wrong but then up until I was 25 I didnt really have a grasp on life or the wisdom I have now so I can fully appreciate how and why he did it. I did things for my boss I shouldnt have done, but when you value your position you do. I am sure 50% of people in life do things at work they are not meant too, its human nature. Look at rugby, its happened there too recently. Just because Piquet is rich doesnt mean to say he has the best judgment or is grown up enough to know better, if he was he would be a teacher or something. Several drivers have made silly errors of judgment in thier careers except they were more public about it. Senna Schumacher, Hamilton, to name a few from F1. BTCC for instance Collard has been iffy in the past.


I know it's not PC to say this but I have something approaching sympathy for Briatore and Symonds. Sure what they did was beyond the pale but am I the only one who was not shocked?

If it suited Mosley to turn a blind eye that is what he would surely have done. But Nelson and Nelson were piqued (sorry!) that Junior had proven himself sub-F1 journeyman standard. Their frustration & thirst for revenge was manna from heaven for Max's last great purge. Is it a coincidence that Ron and Flavio, the most outspoken critics of the FIA and cornerstones of the sport are both gone within a season. That's what really unsettles me.

Those criticising Briatore need to wake up and smell the coffee. I bet Nelson Snr. and Max are far more despised with the paddock after all this than Flavio or PS.


james i have made my feelings clear on this earlier, how evr there is one question i have to ask you. Is there any possibility you could replace Jonathan legard ? please......


James,in a few words,would you say Alonso being cleared changes something in the Ferrari deal possibility for next year?


Not really. The situation is still about what happens with Massa and Raikkonen


Sometimes an F1 team puts together a car that is so far ahead of its rivals and the car becomes very adjustable while still keeping ahead.

That would mean both drivers in a team can set the car up to match their respective driving styles and both are able to do well.

Often, though, the gap to competitors is very close and the car becomes less adjustable. Naturally this might force the team to develop the car in a way that benefits one driver.

This may have been the case with Brawn this season. Button did well early on, then something changed and now Barrichello is doing better.

Surely in a team like Renault F1 they would do their best to create a car to suit Alonso. It doesn't matter how much or little track time the 2nd driver gets - if the car is setup in a way very different to his natural driving style he will struggle.

Another thing - F1 cars crash all the time. In the last twenty years only two people have died in F1. The FIA and teams have driven the safety level extremely high and the tracks and cars are designed to handle crashes.

The proposed crash location was well thought out - from a tactical but surely also a safety aspect. Piquet had recent crash experience.

Teams are "allowed" to use one of their drivers to help their other driver in certain circumstances.

If you put yourself in NP Jr's position, sitting in a small room with Briatori and Symmonds, and there is the suggestion of crashing your car to help fellow Latino Alonso, perhaps even to extend your stay in the exciting world of F1... would you be (to paraphrase) man enough to say no?


The only thing on Piquet Jr's side is that hes still young and talented, time will make most ppl forget this incident and if he settles for a drive on a low-profile racing series he can achieve decent results. A1GP is starting to fade away with financial problems, Surperformula is an option, but i think the best thing for him is the going to the States racing for Indycar.

Best of luck for him.


Piquet is a whiny little [mod]. Can I say that on this blog? I haven't read the rules...


The thing that interests me in all this is how Briatore or Symonds gambled on trusting Piquet in all this... did they believe he would never come out and say it as any revelation would be a nuclear option for his career?

If so, did they not rekon that a rich kid - no offence - doesnt really need to work? Flav should have been more wiley....

That said, this level of cheating deserves punishment and although Piquet is ruined, I understand why people will still feel 'Judas' got off despite his pivotal role... the FIA could have surely issued a major rebuke of his actions...

Finally, what an intriguing world F1 is... Briatore and Symonds condeming Schuey at Monaco... who would have thought it?!


That's a very good point, Nick. I guess they underestimated him.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

An idea might be do take away his superlicence and oblige Piquet to do "community service" to get it back. This could include:

- Marshaling

- Polishing every car on the grid

- Driving the safety car, and not crashing it

- Helping Max Mosley write his memoir

- Acting as security to prevent his father from attending grands prix


Hehehe, brilliant stuff had me in stitches!



Piquet made a big and serious mistake, no two ways about it. He should have said no during that GP, or told someone in the FIA about FB and PS plans at the time, got it all out on the open there and then.

But I think it's fair to say that Piquet did NOT come out of this unpunished as such. Maybe he didn't get a 5 year ban from the sport, or even a 2 year suspended sentence with no fines or points deductions (aka "balanced" in the world of F1), but he certainly lost chances in F1 and elsewhere when he decided to come to the FIA and told the story. He told the truth - something Renault confirmed today - and all he wants is to get back to driving without this episode haunting him.

For his career it would have been better if he kept quiet about it all, we'd be non the wiser, Briatore would still be plotting in the background, Piquet might get a drive in F1 next season... Would that make him more of a man? He was weak and misguided 12 months ago, but would you say he is still the same now, after enduring Briatore and his twisted morals and disgusting treatment?

Circumstances may be different, fine, but if you look at F1 drivers over the last 10 years we have a lot of people who have also made big mistakes, serious errors of judgement, down right cheating of their OWN bat, showed weakness of character, unable to say "no" when ordered to do something questionable - but I don't remember anyone banning them from F1, or denying them a second chance. Some of them even get standing ovations down the pit lane...


Hear hear.... well said... a good voice of reason...


Gotta agree with you on this.


Nelson.....is that you?


After looking at that picture of NPJ with a babe at either side I wish I was!! hehe


Nelson gets no sympathy from me - your blog says it all.

Flavio, I shall miss - he always adds "colour". He's paid a heavy price (but most likely a just one).

But Pat Symonds? I can't help but feel that somehow he's paid the biggest price of all despite seemingly handling himself with dignity throughout what was surely a painful process.

Incidentally, Pat appeared to take great care not to tell lies to the FIA enquiry, so why should we doubt his word when he says Nelson instigated the plan?.....

They all did the crime and in their own way they'll pay for it, but of all of them Pat is the only one who appears to show genuine humility, regret and shame.

We tend to remember the drivers, but over the years Pat Symonds and his brilliant mind has given us some of the most exciting races of a generation. James, if you ever get the chance, make sure he knows that he'll be missed and although I can't excuse his crime, I for one hope he finds a way back into F1 in the future.


Interesting you can miss Briatore, feel sorry for Symonds but slam Piquet.

One is a driver that is new to F1, trying to prove himself but having a hard time in a team that treats you as "the other guy" while drooling over Alonso, fearing for his job, being bullied and belittled by the team boss who is also his manager (you know, the guy that LOOKS AFTER your career). All he wants is to drive in F1 the following season and get a chance to show he is a good driver - yet he is called in by 2 senior people in the team just before the race and told to sacrifice his race to benefit their favourite driver. It's like saying "Feeling low yet? Well son, go a little lower, we don't care for you that much. Crash your car when we tell you to!"

The other has been in F1 for decades, worked with the best drivers in the business, had success, nothing to prove, could have walked away from it and would still have a proud career. He is a person with experience, knows what he should and shouldn't do, strong character. Yet (independent of who came up with the idea) he went with it, made the most of it, tasted the champagne after the race. Why didn't Symonds say "get lost" during that pre-race meeting then? Why did he agree to let one of his drivers, someone HE is responsible for, do this?

As for Briatore, not worth losing any time with him - "colourful" people certainly isn't the reason I watch F1.


I don't disagree with you, it is interesting - I guess it displays the human element in all of this as nothing is black and white.

But to address a few points you raise;

1. I like F1 for all its elements; the scandals, the characters, the racing, the injustices and the occasionally senseless rules. I enjoy coming to read about the politics as much as I enjoy watching the race. To me, it would be a duller sport if it was just cars racing around a track. The off-track politics is part of what makes the sport so compelling.

2. I haven't defended either Briatore or Symonds. There is no defence. But I think Briatore has added to the F1 "show" and I'll miss him for that. Symonds I'll miss for his tactical brain and the racing that's given us over the years. Nelson though... I can't think of a single reason to miss him. But I've not defended any of them. I think the punishments are just and I suspect Nelson has ended his own career even if the FIA haven't.

3. It's interesting you talk about Nelson being told to sacrifice his race. I still haven't seen anything conclusive on this. But what I have seen is a contrite Pat Symonds, who was at pains to ensure he told no lies to the FIA enquiry, telling us that Piquet brought the plan to them. I see no reason for him to lie and I see no reason to doubt him. You're absolutely correct, he should have said "get lost", but he didn't and he's paid the price. Nelson though still seems to think he can worm out of his part in all this. That's what I "slam" him for.


Fair point, can't argue with that.

But was he actually invited to the hearing? James?


If Pat wanted to really be contrite... he would have gone to the hearing, and spoken out the truth and all that he knew. By keeping silent he lost my respect. We will never know the truth now. Who's idea was it? was it pressure from Renault? or Alonso? or sponsors? etc.. For all we know it was Renault... and they have just handed him a big golden handshake to walk away and say nothing. So I cannot respect him for his silence.


"The most positive thing to come from bringing this to the attention of the FIA is that nothing like it will ever happen again."

Surely the moral here is YES YOU CAN do this again anytime you like, so long as:

- you don't fall out;

- or if you do, maintain a consistent lie in the face of accusations;

- or [most crucial] don't be on Max's hit list


I wanted to find out what actually happened between Piquet, Briatore, and Symonds. Did they really put the hard word on him to crash or did Piquet suggest it and followed by Symonds saying "ok, do it at turn 17".

I think it only makes a difference as far as how much a "victim" Piquet was. If he suggested the crash, I think it makes it worse for him.


Sympathy for NPJ. Not. Twice he was tested and twice he failed. He could have said no in the first place, he didn't. He could have stuck to the agreement he made, he didn't. Not out of honor and respect for the truth but out of anger and spite. He has shown that when pressed he will not stand for right over wrong and when angry his word is meaningless.


Lots of interesting discussion going on here clearly showing "No publicity is bad publicity".

As for Piquet Jr. I like to compare his situation at Renault with Scott Speed at STR. Scott was not a bad driver. He may thrive in other teams. But at least he has the spine.


Hi James,

What postal address can I send my copy of your book for you to sign?

You can email me at michaelprestia@rogers.com


Clearly, FIA choose who they want to punish, in this case, Flavio.

They did't even punish the man who committed the crime, let alone, Alonso.

Ironically, he was the man who used stolen Ferrari data and he wasn't punished because he helped FIA to eliminate Ron, pretty much the same thing like what Nelson did.

But, then again, FIA is not about finding out the truth, it's all about getting rid of Flavio.

History suggests that once you commit a crime, you are more likely to do it again then not, especially if you get away with it.


Piquet should look for an Indycar drive. The series would be wise to pick him up and the notoriety from all this would be good publicity.


NP Jr. can be a fake motor racing model for unknown brands build up. Other than that his racing career is deeper than 6 feet. NOT ONE BIT SORRY FOR NP Jr. Don't give up there might be TEAMBUKTU in the future.


I've lost all respect i've ever had for Piquet as a driver.

Like everyone else on the grid Piquet got a car which most of the time was as good as Alonso's yet he consistently underperformed or flat out failed with the equipment he was given.

Now I understand that the R28 wasn't a great car until the 2nd half of the season and the R29 isn't that hot either, but the fact is that his performances have come so short of Alonso's that he is not worth having around.

I believe his contract stated he only had to score 40% of Alonso's points to keep his drive, which is more than fair.

In the end Piquet has to understand that he needs to take personal responsibility for his performances.

Compared to Briatore's other drivers, Kovalainen, Alonso and Webber it's clear that Piquet doesn't hold a candle to any of them.

I guess what annoys me most about Piquet is that he complained a lot yet not once did I ever see him try and put in the hard yards to try and improve his racing skills. He seemed to have a resigned attitude to F1, that because he had 'made it' into the big leagues that he still didn't need to keep working on improving his skills. I think it has to do with Piquet's upbringing that he has never had to fight for race seats and has had a sense of entitlement all his life.

Piquet needs to go back to GP2, F2 or even Indy Car and has to prove himself that he's ready for F1 if he wants a shot at another seat.


I think it's a strong possibility that Benetton did use traction control now in 1994.


1. Renault got off with a slap on the wrist

2. NPj got away with murder (almost literally)

3. FB and PS got what they deserved

4. It will be interesting to hear Pat's side of the story. He will eventually tell his side of the story I hope


I think Piquet's F1 career was finished even before this story broke.

People in the know, know what Flav is like, and terms under which Piquet was driving.

However he was a little bit too much slower then Alonso, a little bit too often. And he crashed rather too frequently too.

Now - if all of those other crashes were deliberate too...

Sorry, but if I were an F1 manager, I would take a chance on a rookie, rather than Piquet.

Piquet had a year and a half in F1, which a hell of a lot more than most aspiring drivers.


I think it is difficult for drivers who are so young to act 100% correctly all of the time with the pressure that is put on them from the outside and from themselves due to the fact they are doing what they have dreamed of for many many years.

It is easy for people who are perhaps allot older and have allot more life experience to criticise but who hand on heart can say they would not be tempted to do the same if they were in that situation or for that matter who can say they have always acted correctly no matter what pressure was put on them.

The other thing that is worth mentioning is with the improved safety crashing is not such a big thing as it was in the past, they expect to crash at some point and walk away from the lower speed ones.

Though I am not saying I condone his actions I think the blame has to be shared by his dad and management. To have a team boss who is also your manager has got to be a conflict of interest surely? Briatore says he resigned to save Renault, if he had stopped this in its tracks before it happened, 12 months ago (as he had the power to do) Renault would not of needed saving.


re: Flavia B.....

Nothing changes. It is amazing how money can affect the thinking process in the brain and the overall relationships with other people. He is not worried. He has the money and the business interests to fall back on. It is society who will judge.

The puzzlement is what will his former engineering director do now. But of course, being a long time friend of FB, there should not be any problems. Once again it is up to society. People who show such crass judgement in life should not be allowed to show their judgement in other fields.

One big fish down - one to go (of hs own volition this time)


Interesting debate... I agree that the guy is rather young to write off completely but saying sorry is different from acting sorry...

The former isn't easy but it's a good deal easier than the latter...

The person most at risk in this foolhardy enterprise was Junior himself... and he is just a kid who is desperate to fulfil his dream...

He is obviously very easy to manipulate and bully ... and that is the reason why he should not have a drive at present ....

Interestingly the fact he is pleading for a drive shows that he doesn't really appreciate how people feel and I blame his family and friends for that....

The whole episode is very sad but he needs to grow up and show that he has before he should consider asking for another chance....


Rhi’s moving posting at 7.44pm above must have got to me as when I woke it was still going through my mind.

Having slept on it, another thought has hit me.

Put yourself in the place of a probationer PC. You’ve just come back from training, you are probably the fittest you have ever been, and you get a call to what is euphemistically called a domestic dispute, a very mild term for what is sometimes a serious assault. You turn up to find a bruised and maybe bleeding woman and a man (term used physically only) justifying his actions to you.

At the risk of being sexist – big risk I know – there is something about such a scenario that affronts a man. It’s a personal insult in a way. This is not what a man should do. You feel some of the guilt. You can also feel the women blaming you as a man. That’s not a criticism of course.

This young lad has a choice. He can deal with the matter professionally or take justice into his own hands. Or fists rather. In this case the choice is less clear than Piquet’s cheating. There could be no moral justification for him. An excuse I might have to agree, given Rhi’s insight, but that is all.

But would you blame our young PC for handling the prisoner roughly? For giving him a slap, a punch? A good kicking? There are few who would deny that whilst such action might not be justice, it would be just.

There is something satisfying about a bully being bullied.

So there is no moral imperative for the lad over and above his promise to uphold the law. Some might say he’s obliged to act given the leniency of the courts.

We send 20-year-old officers, unsupervised and unfilmed, into such situations where they might personify the victim as their mother or sister. So who could blame them for overreacting? If that is a fair description of the act. But if they did then there is no option for them but to leave the service. As tests go it is a biggy. To suggest that the law must be complied with is too simplistic.

And to make it even worse for him, he knows that the offender will be lightly punished, will do it again and, the cruncher for the lad, that he will get no satisfaction for not acting. Just the reverse. He’ll imagine the accusations of his shift and end up regretting not giving into his primal urge.

It would have been so easy to justify separating the man from the woman. You could always say that as you were shutting the door to the room you placed him in he threw a punch and all you did was defend yourself. You could apologise for the error, after all the man had already shown himself to be violent, but you were concerned for the woman’s safety. Your worship.

You could get a medal. But what you will get is a call to another domestic.

I’ve got to say that my sympathy for Piquet, despite Rhi's eloquent plea for understanding, is still rather limited.


I personally agree that Piquet Jr has not behaved in a correct way over any of this. Firstly craching, secondly waiting until he was fired to reveal this and thirdly continuing to act as though it wasn't really his fault (even in his apology his is really blaming someone else). I think that James' comment about him not being a real man is bang on.

I also think that Briatore, and most especially Pat Symonds are equally to blame, although I feel that some of the personal remarks made by some of my fellow posters are a bit over the top.

The fact that Flavio, and NPJ did something morally questionable I don't have a problem believing, but I am shocked that PS had anything to do with this. In fact, when you consider that this was effectively a strategic decision that required a lot of detailed planning and execution, you would have to assume that Symonds was the architect and probably came to Flavio with the idea. I don't know why, but it actually makes me slightly ashamed to be English. He has let everyone down badly.

While we are all on the subject of honour, I think that the person who I would like to hear the apology from the most is Nelson Piquet Senior. He knew about this and his first question in raising this was, what happens to NPJ if it comes out. He makes sure of protection for his sons career before going any further. He then tries to blackmail FB with this info, and when his bluff is called, and only then when his son eventually fired he persuades Junior to blow the whistle. This is honesty and self righteous indignation from a man on entirely his own terms. They have made no sacrifice to do the right thing as they have already lost the F1 drive on merit.

The main issue I have is that as a father, Nelson Semior has singularly failed to instill any kind of strength of character into his son. He has brought up a child to see his worth only in terms of his father's achievements, and for who driving in F1 is above everthing, even the safety of others.

Speaking as a father, is my son does something bad, I feel responsible. I would find it hard to speak in public about this issue and not express some sort of respnsibility myself.

I you need to ask why NPJ is not a man, you can see that the apple has not fallen far from the tree.


If we sum up all comments here in past 10 days, Piquet jr. and sr. are nothing but the devils on the earth.

This is nothing but a wich hunt.

Numerous, endless angry comments about "immorality" of one greenish, insecure and obviously bullied youngster, and just sporadic about two successful, well-known and appreciated life experienced adult who had power upon him, who were in control of all events?

Well, this is predominantly English site and name "Piquet" is obviously not too much popular since 1986-87.


Zadrav, I disagree... I can assure you that all 3 of the perpetrators have had a panning on this site. In fact, on another thread a poster states that they can't believe everyone is cussing Flav and Pat, but not Nelson.

Some people hold Jnr in more contempt; some hold Briatore and Symonds in more contempt... those are people's subjective opinions and forums are all about opinions.

Me? I blame Flav and Pat - categorically - they were in charge after all. I also blame Nelson, but I can see how he made his choices. I can also speculate over why Flav and Pat made the decisions they did. It still doesn't make any of it right \ it doesn't excuse any of them for their actions.

I have no problem with Senna, Prost and Schumi driving into anyone as I feel that they were decisions made by individuals in real-time (ok, maybe Senna in Japan wasn't - but I don't believe there was a plan including other team members). They were still "in the wrong" though; but spur-of-the-moment decisions can be e.g. Schumi's decision to park up in Monaco 😉

In the case of crash-gate it had been thought about, considered, thrashed around... i.e., it was premeditated and planned. That's why I'm cheesed off... with Nelson Jnr, Flavio and Patrick; all 3 of them!!!!


So if Senna had killed Prost that day, would his defense have been' Well it was a heat of the moment thing.... you know mano a mano' and the judge? ' Well that makes it all OK then '


I can see that you've been debating this point with others... and I think I can see where you're coming from; that they're all wrong for crashing on purpose?

I agree... and I think others do too.

It's the subtle nuance of this case that rankles. The plotting and planning by several (in some cases well-respected) people who should have known better.

For me, this world isn't black and white; it's shades of grey... and some shades are darker than others. Nelson, Flav and Pat's devil horns are slightly longer than Senna's.


Hypothetical situation Dave... but I doubt it. Senna said at the time it was a racing incident, I imagine he'd of said that. Later on (way after the event) he said he'd considered it. It's well documented that that was the nature of the man.

When I said "I had no problem"... sorry, wrong turn of phrase, as I dislike anyone crashing into anyone "on purpose". When I saw it at the time, I didn't think it was "on purpose" - call me naive, but I didn't. [Mind you, I didn't think Piquet's crash was "on purpose" either; I thought "whoops there goes Nelson again" ;-)]

For me, it's the rationale behind the crash; one person making that kind of decision (alone), is not right, but I can understand\empathise with that spur-of-the-moment call (we all make snap-shot judgements, some right, some wrong). I can't, when people who should know better, plan it.


Sorry about disrupting, I'm not an usual writer here, but I feel compelled to say that it's starting to be a shame declaring in public that you are an F1 fan...

I read once in a comment to some post here that if you loved F1 nowadays the best way to enjoy it was to get a simulator for your PC, preferently to play past seasons. And indeed trying to drive Villeneuve's 1979 Ferrari through Jarama's hellish corners is all the joy I get from this sport lately.


Carlitos, don't feel that way, please. F1 is absolutely fantastic, it has so many layers to it and that is what makes it so compelling. We have some great races and there is a large cast of characters, who are properly three dimensional because what we know about them goes way beyond the basic competition. That's why F1 works. Be proud to love F1 and come here to celebrate what's great about it with others..


Thanks James. I kinda like your point about 3-dimensional characters. After all, I watch some other motorsports and still F1 is the only one where I remember absolutely every driver's name by heart,as well as the teams they drive for, know pretty much their entire careers and what's at stake for them in the ongoing season. And it's probably not just due to a greater media coverage.

I need another Interlagos 2008 or Spa 2008 to regain some faith, that's all!


I just hope I'll never PK's prstty face on a track...

I feel strangely sorry for FB though. From the radio transcript I've seen, I still can't find what made him guilty.


piquet just doesn't have the speed. This is just enough not to be employed ever again in f1.

He couldn't make it in these underpowered f1 of today. And they want to equalize the engines down to the less powefull one.

May be the fia is trying to make the cars so easy to drive, that even nelson could drive them.

In 1983 his father was driving the brabhan bmw with more than 1400 horses in qualifying trim, and they had to change the second driver several times, because they just couldn't handle the performance. Marc surer was able at the end. Do you think piquet jr could have done it?


In a way the FIA didn't need to punish Piquet. His actions, both on the track and then going to the FIA as an act of revenge rather than guilt, have made sure he is a pariah in F1 and will almost certainly never race in the sport.

Another way to look at it is that he must have been a pretty bad driver if he had that kind of evidence on Briatore yet still got the sack!


on deliberate crashing...

I respect people who point out Senna/Prost/Schumi etc crashing deliberately into their opponents, but do not see the connection with this case.

Crashing with your direct championship enemy IS, of course, under the belt professional fouling, but it is also the result of the duel-like atmosphere in F1. It is, if you will, a duel gone bad, but still a duel. (the parties involved could always claim "red mist", "heat of battle", probably BS, but still somewhat believable)

Piquet Jr on the other hand duelled... with a wall, on instructions from his pit, in order to change a long term race scenario and therefore favour a team mate. This is quite different and much worse. At least the big guns did their dirty stuff themselves and we all could see it and make up our minds (those two Prost/Senna championships will always count for half in the minds of many fans...record remain but our memories are long).

This was much more devious.


Your missing the point, if Senna et al had crashed and killed or injured a competitor, Marshall or spactator, it would not have been judged in this heroic light...


When I read the news yesterday I couldn't believe it - too bad the site crashed, but I guess if it hadn't it never would!

As for Piquet... well, F1 is a circus, as we all know, and people go to circuses to see the acrobats, the pretty lion-taming girls, etc... but we don't mind the occasional clown, do we..?

...just as long as they don't try becoming acrobats - again.


There are no scruples in the paddock; the F1 teams would hire Charles Manson if he was fast enough. Piquet thus far hasn't shown himself to be fast so I don't see him getting a job in a hurry.

Opposite Lock (Ken)

Great title James.

I still think the FIA should have at least condemned Piquet's actions in their statement even though they couldn't levy any punishment against him. Instead, he barely gets mentioned at all.

There's a good boy. Now go play with your models, er toys while the adults carry on with the serious discussions...


I note there is still little coverage about the 'Formula 1 racing' this season. Another distraction from the subject of how the regulation changes have not worked, in my view of course. I hope that comment does not come across as an another blog shouting rant, which in itself is a shout about rants.

I really enjoyed the Italian Grand Prix trackside at Lesmo 2. It was interesting watching Vettel’s body language change as the chance of winning the title was slipping away when charging round in 9th position. Barrichello had an air of confidence and speed from Friday without ever really having to show his hand. Great pizza too.


I agree Glen, but this story is A BIGGIE (I've had so many non-F1 fans talk to me about it) and people through frustration and disbelief are going to post their thoughts... I'm glad that here (generally) the posts are thought out and well presented, even if I don't always agree with the viewpoint. I can still respect someone's position though and there's no sign of bickering.

I'm not surprised by Flav's behaviour really (Ross Brawn's comments about him not sharing the glory of the podium, speaks volumes about the man); I'm not really surprised that Nelson bowed to pressure; yet, I am truly surprised that Pat Symonds, who has given this impression of being honest and open (especially with the media), is so lacking in integrity. Anyone of them could have said 'no'; yet they didn't!

So, tell me, how did Vettel's body language change... could you see into the car from your spot at Lesmo 2? 😉 Sorry, just a little leg-pulling there. Seriously, I'm intrigued by this... was he not hustling the car so much? Was there a resigned attitude? How so? I imagine their engine troubles are seriously affecting them - little or no setup time - will another one blow!!?!!??

What did you see of Hamilton's spin\crash\over-exurberance?

P.S. And what topping did you go for on your pizza? I'm partial to a bit of pineapple... but hey, I could be opening up a whole further debate there!! 😉 Take it easy 🙂


Its likely people are generally more interested in scandals, skulduggery, and controversy than wheel-to-wheel racing nowadays. I think Bernie and his PR team have picked up on this.

I don’t know the drivers personally, but Vettel appeared more downbeat once the likelihood of him finishing in the points became less likely. He appeared to be over-driving or maybe he was losing concentration, which maybe led to his off moment. In comparison to Silverstone this year where his ‘head’ position seemed more focused ahead of his car, but it’s possible he had a seat fitting change.

I think Fisichella seemed almost embarrassed to be slightly slower, as he appeared to be avoiding eye contact with the crowd. He seemed to slow down much earlier into Lesmo2 than the others, maybe he was being cautious or maybe the KERS affects the breaking into the corner, which may take time to get used to. His Ferrari made a strange powering up noise, though this was to a lesser extent from Raikkonen’s Ferrari.

Hamilton appeared to drive through seconda variante much quicker than anyone else all weekend, its possible he arrived at Lesmo 1 too quickly in his brilliant efforts to catch and pass Button. The Italians cheered very loudly when he crashed.

Just A Bloke (Martin)

Do you think there will be any long term repercussions to vet driver managers and segregate team management from driver management. After all this arguably gave FB too much influence with NPj.


I don't agree that N. Piquet's career is ruined because of him deliberately crashing his car. His career is indeed ruined, but from his lack of speed.

We all know how many times Shumacher crashed his car on purpose(i can think of 2) and escaped harsh penalty. Quick drivers like Alonso, Lewis, Kimi and etc, will never get anything harder than slap on the wrist.

that is the way it is.



NP career was ruined because he wasn't a quick driver!

If he was fast enough, he wouldn't have to crash to get noticed!


In the article above and on a few occassions on this website I have seen mentions of Benneton dark days around 1994.

I was wondering what the team did at the time?


If Flav is the kind of guy he is reputed to be.... Max has some retribution coming his way. Flav has been around too long not to know where some bodies are buried. This could be just the beginning. It could get real fun. Especially if you are a Max fan....


Funny comment I saw on a forum - how can Ferrari win the Singapore GP in 2010:

1- take the drivers and engineers for a walk around the circuit on thursday

2- take note where the cranes are

3- put baldisseri in charge again

4- put badoer in the second car

5- fuel raikkonen enough for 14 laps

6- baldisseri talks to badoer and shows him where he should crash

7- badoer says to baldisseri" he would crash anyway so not really big problem"

8- call kimi in around lap 12 and fuel him to lap 44-45

9- safety car comes in

10- one year later, FIA investigation starts

11- fire badoer and baldisseri and get a 2 year suspended ban


What is clear is that everything Piquet Jnr has done has been self serving. He agreed to crash in the first place so he would (undeservingly) get his contract renewed and then only fessed up properly to the FIA once he'd been sacked, to seek revenge on those who put an under performing driver out of his job. As with his father before him I doubt there is a moral bone is body. Reading his statement yesterday made me think of only one thing, crocodile tears. He can count himself very lucky to not be punished in all of this, the fact that he is in his early 20s is irrelevant, young adults of this age in any other profession are expected to behave responsibly, a sheltered and privileged upbringing is no excuse for a lack or moral judgment.

Sadly it would surprise me little to see him back in F1, I'm sure Daddy can pay for a drive somewhere or maybe even buy a team. With the grid expanding next year there will be less sponsorship money to go around in these troubled financial times, and money always talks in F1.

What bothers me most of all right now is that we still don't really know whose idea it was in the first place to cause the crash. Pat Symonds refused to answer most of the FIA’s questions rather than lie and yet he stated that it was Piquet Jnr’s idea in the first place. Surely if he was prepared to lie about that he would have lied about everything else, why be inconsistent? Even though Pat was obviously complicit in the scam I’m still inclined to believe him above Piquet Jnr. If it was Piquet Jnr’s idea then I hope it catches up with him, but this point seems to have been conveniently swept under the carpet now that Max has Flavio's head on a plate, which I guess is all he was really after in the first place.


Well the punishment to be fair was right. Under normal circumstances, I think we should have seen record fines and disqualifications but the FIA recognised that the current times are precarious and above all the FIA and us as fans want to see the continuity of Formula 1.

There was obviously a lot of 'politicking' going on and despite the seriousness of the crime we must recognise that it would be an even bigger loss if another big hitter pulled out of the sport.

The FIA took a bullet for the continuity of the quality of the sports competitors. We want big names in the sport, household names, Mercedes, BMW, Ferrari, Honda, Renault etc.. Sadly BMW and Honda have both pulled out. These are teams with history in the sport the last thing we need is for them to withdraw.

The silver bullet solution would be for harshest penalties to be given, disqualifications for the next five years, and millions worth of fines while all the while having Renault commit to Formula one invest in their team as normal but I think what we can agree on is that this silver Bullet does not exist and such punishments will almost certainly send Renault out the door.

Both choices the FIA had have positives and negatives, it is a choice between which positive/negative combination is best for the sport.


Apologies if this is buried within this thread or else where but did the FIA press release after the meeting yesterday not say "The full reasons for this decision, in addition to a complete recording of the proceedings before the World Motor Sport Council, will be made available shortly." So where are they? Do you know of any timescale, James?


Usually a week to 10 days.


Is there perhaps some judicious editing going on?


James, I have to confess I'm fascinated by all of this and I firmly believe it's all part of F1's wonderful tapestry. I was wondering, do you know of any books documenting F1 "scandals" (I hesitate to use the word cheating).

I'd love to read a well written inside story about the Honda fuel tank, Benetton traction control, Tyrrell lead shot etc etc...

If there isn't a book, have you thought of writing one?!


WHo? Nelson Who? Nelson Piquet Jr?

After all this mess, wanna get hired again?

Wt a joke for him to drive F1!

I had always doubt about his driving skill. 17 spins out of 24 races. I feel i can do much better in the seat.

He shouldn't have been in F1 and never ever..

Wt a shame FB. You picked really spoiled wrong horse mate.

AS human being, i really can't understand wtx Jr want F1 seat again. Mate..



Your article strikes me as yet another example of someone who'd rather Piquet had kept his mouth shut. He (or his dad) did the right thing by speaking out, whatever their motivation. Why would he not deserve a second chance, if he has the talent?


This is yet another indicator that F1 is in decline. It is all about money and revenge which this incident has plenty of.

You can be sure the Ghosn et al were working the phones with BE, MM and members of the WMSC to let them know Renault would leave if they were disqualied for any length of time.

MM got Flav as he did Dennis. All he needs to get is Luca to be happy but time will work against him.

The penalty is so disproportionate to what McLaren got for a much lesser offense. They too dumped Coughlan (and should have dumped De La Rosa and Alonzo as they knew about it) did the mia culpa etc. and got disqualified in reality for one season, fined heavily, had scrutiny on their affairs for a season after and did no development in the area that as subject to the IP stolen by Stepney.

How anyone can see this as being fair escapes me. Whitmarsh et al should be appealing or suing.


Flav got himself.

I just cannot fathom what SYmonds was "thinking" though.


It's amazing how many people on this site are making excuses for Nelson Piquet Jr. actions, and could imagine were calling for Hamilton's head during lie-gate. If Hamilton had committed any act like Piquet Jr., many people here wouldn't be looking for excuses, but a rope.


Piquet is a vindictive snitch. Even if he was fast, which it appears he is not when seated in an F1 car, he is not the sort of human being I can feel anything but derision toward.

No team OR sponsor would associate with Piquet Jr., unless they ( like Piquet Jr. ) are interested in deliberately losing.

I sincerely hope Vatanen gets elected, and that when he does he will bring some semblance of honor back to what once was a sporting activity conducted by gentlemen.

As for Mosley : he is a [mod] bitter old man, and this can be seen in most any photo of him taken in the last

15 years. His visage reminds me of the old man who tortures the protagonist in the film "A Clockwork Orange".


I'm going to take the kids side here.

3 points:

- Piquet didn't even 'cheat' for his own racing benefit. In fact it reinforced his lack of F1 credentials for a lot of people. He would've known that. Quite a sacrifice he must have thought.

- Everyday there are thousands of young people buckling under less pressure than NPJ was under, and making irresponsible decisions that put lives in danger. We often let them off with a stern lecture. Symonds and Briatore knew better.

- I dont see Grosjean doing as well as NPJ so far, and he's supposed to be the hottest new kid on the block. I think Piquet would test well for most newer teams


James, do you think Singapore was a one off incident? Or is it possible there have been others in recent times? And do you think Ferrari, regarding Massa's title bid last year, will seek compensation?


Possibly, but not so obviously and no I don't think they have a case


Is Nelson Jnr posting here as Dave P...?


mmmmm yeah, well good luck with that career thingie, Junior!


As someone who makes a career writing and commenting about F1, your comments in this article are rather amateurish. You stick to the standard tripe about "Dad's team" and all that stuff, never mind that this guy actually finished second in the British Formula whatever series behind Lewis Hamilton.

When Alonso threatens to spill the beans on Mac, no one seemed to see much wrong with it but I guess that is because Santander is willing to hand over a blank cheque to teams that will hire Alonso - and this from a guy who actually gleefully participated in spying on Ferrari.

But when Piquet does tell, you can only trot out such inanities?

What a pity, your double standards!


"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."

Now James Allen, i've listened to you for years on the F1, but that has sickened me, reading you taking that sort of stance on this sorry story that's brought F1 further down. That's the sort of line that people use to excuse stuff like child abuse. "Oh yes, if he was a man, it would never have happened to him." And how much do you think it takes to actually admit that some other person (like Briatore has) made you comply with something no "man" would do?

I recommend you try reading To kill a mockingbird before you continue about Nelson Piquet Junior and his crash action. I'm disappointed there's still people out there not "man" enough to even attempt to look at things differently.


I don't understand your point at all. You don't explain what different way you think there is to look at this. And the point about a man being made to do things isn't clear at all. Also what is the reference to war in Cumbria in your email address? Can you explain that?

Top Tags
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!