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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  |  246 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.”

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“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?


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!


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


Is Nelson Jnr posting here as Dave P…?


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


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


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”.


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.


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.


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?


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..



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?!


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?


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.


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.


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


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….


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?


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!

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 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.

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…


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.


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.


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…

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