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Piquet turns his back on F1
Piquet turns his back on F1
Posted By: James Allen  |  12 Jan 2010   |  6:28 pm GMT  |  96 comments

Nelson Piquet has decided to give up on F1 and pursue a career in the United States in one of the NASCAR series.

(Photo:Darren Heath)

(Photo:Darren Heath)

The Brazilian was at the centre of the Singapore crash fixing scandal which resulted in Renault team boss Flavio Briatore and director of engineering Pat Symonds being banned from the sport by the FIA. Last week those bans were overturned by a Paris court, but the FIA has given notice of appeal.

Throughout all of this Piquet received no punishment, as he was granted immunity from prosecution by the FIA in return for spilling the beans on what happened. Briatore’s lawyer has indicated that he may sue Piquet and his father Nelson Sr over the matter. Former FIA president Max Mosley has indicated that he believes that the Piquets may counter sue Briatore.

Clearly Nelson Jr has found most doors in F1 closed to him after admitting he deliberately crashed and by the way he behaved over the matter. He tested for Red Horse Racing in the Camping World truck series part of the NASCAR programme and may race there this year.

“I have spent the last few months carefully evaluating my options for this year,” he said on his website. I had to choose a path and it was a difficult decision to make.

“Being successful in Formula One was always my goal but I have learnt that happiness is just as important as ambition and after my first 18 months in F1 did not go as planned I have decided to focus on something different and have chosen to take a route in America.”

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Piquet Jr – 19 pts in his first time in F1.

Piquet Sr – 04 pts in his first time in F1.

He’s a very good drive but, unfortunatelly, met the bloody Briatore boss in his way. So… you know.

Sorry guys.


Like i’ve said previously on other blog entries, I don’t know how he hasn’t been given a life ban for what he did, his actions were far worse than Flavio’s. I find it amazing anyone with the facts would employ this person in any race driver capacity ever again.


First, NASCAR may give Nelson the benefit of the doubt, until he becomes a hazard on track or the money runs out. Outside a road course, I’d be surprised if he makes too much noise this year. Next year, maybe. It will depend on who he runs for.

Second, there is a bit more to NASCAR than crashing and turning left.

Finally, I’ll be interested how serious this attempt is. If its a ridebuy, Nelson’s waiting for an F1 deal. If he gets the ride on merit or they put real money in it, they maybe in it for the long haul.


I think young Nelson has jumped from the frying pan and into the fire on this one. Of the five open wheel drivers in the last four years who have driven in NASCAR, only Montoya has achieved any considerable success. The list of drivers is impressive, including one former F1 champion in Jacques Villeneuve. Others include multiple IRL champions Sam Hornish Jnr and Scotland’s Dario Franchitti, Franchitti left following lack of sponsorship and injuries sustained in a crash. The other is Scott Speed, whose career in F1 was brief and who has faired even worse since racing stock cars. It is a harsh enviroment, a very different sport from F1.

I agree that the Piquet name certainly helped young Nelson in the beginning, but in America, that will count for nothing. His father achieved great things in F1 over twenty years ago, winning as many championships as Aryton Senna. He too, tried his hand at oval racing, a decision that could have easily killed him. Close to eighteen years ago, whilst practicing for the Indy 500, Nelson Snr lost control of his IRL car at well over 200mph. The resulting huge impact with the wall crushed the Brazilian’s legs so badly, at first there was concern that he would not be able to walk again. Thankfully, that was not the case.

In many ways, the achievements that Nelson Snr attained were sullied forever by the actions of his son and those guilty parties’ within the Renault team. That is a stigma that will not disappear easily. The Crashgate saga did recieve some considerable airtime on American tv in 2009, and although the spotlight was not as great as elsewhere, it was noticeable.

Montoya’s aggressive style has helped him in NASCAR. He is not afraid to put famous stock car drivers in their place, most recently Tony Stewart two months ago in Miami. That, depending on your point of view, hindered Juan during his years in F1. It certainly won him many fans, but it also garnered many penalties and many on track enemies.

The American dream may seem nice for now, but when Nelson Jnr finds himself among forty other cars doing 190mph, it may not seem so appealing. Unless you Juan Montoya that is!


One think I don’t quite comprehend though. Before Piquet crashed, for it to work, he probably needed some sort of ‘go ahead’ which would involve engineers, strategist & certainly briatore. Besides, how could a driver of alonso experience and temper not question the strategy on a track where overtaking is almost impossible? As for Picket, he doesn’t deserve to come back to the sport. But in my opinion, michael schumacher did pretty much the same when he deliberatelly crashed into hill or villeneuve. Not to mention his move in monaco to prevent alonso from getting pole. He too cheated put lives at risk. The difference being that it was to his own advantage. However he’s still regarded as the greatest of the decade and greated with open arms to f1. If picket move had brought him a WDC may be he would have got a drive in f1. That’s how things work in f1 unfortunatelly.


people wont like him for what he did and people called him a crap driver but look at Grosjean who has done a even worse job than Piquet


In fairness, all of the replacement drivers have done worse than the guys they have replaced. I am doing a summary of 2009 using the official FIA stats on my blog and no matter what way you cut it, they did worse:

I would argue that the lack of in-season testing is a factor in this…




Good Riddance


I don’t know how it works in other countries, but here in England when an international footballer is no longer being picked for the national squad on a regular basis they quite often hold a press conference to announce that they are ‘retiring from international football’. In other words they are trying to put some gloss on the fact that they’ve been dropped and their career is over. It’s wonderfully childish behaviour that we have to come to expect of such overpaid stars.

Piquet Jr’s statement sounds eerily similar to me.


I make an important distinction when remembering crashgate.

Piquet volunteered it, he was not a victim of hapless request from either Briatore or Symonds.

Perhaps he better off offering his crash services to NASCAR fans where it’s appreciated.


1. F1 has turned his back to Sebastian Bourdais too. I cannot believe Algers…whatever was that much better than Bourdais. Bourdais, being a multiple champion, should deserve another chance with Renault!

2. I think only Kimi and Montoya have turned their backs to F1.


I don’t think the Piquets will be missed. It is nice to know F1 teams don’t want to touch them, but like others, I suspect it has more to do with on-track performance than anything else.

The real ‘morality’ test for the teams will come if/when Briatore and Symonds actually come back…


I don’t think he should be aloud to race again, he should have never been given immunity


It seems a bit odd that he has gone to NASCAR – has he been that outcast from F1 that no other European-based motorsport will take him?

On that subject, if he feels he has to go stateside, why not go into IndyCars? I would have thought that would have been an easier fit?

If the exceptionally talented Montoya struggled to get going in NASCAR, I fail to see how Piquet will be able to hold his own…


Hmm… european motorsport… somewhere that crashing isn’t a problem…



Well he proved in Singapore in 2008 that he knows how to turn left. That experience should put him in good stead as he’ll have more close encounters of the concrete kind in NASCAR.


I’m glad this ugly chapter in the Formula One history is finally over; I was afraid someone would actually be very brave and hire this cheater.



Piquet Jr. may be out, but I doubt that this Chapter is closed – far from it …


That’s true; we still have Briatore in the frame, but honestly think that Piquet could have said no and game over since the beginning.


I can’t say I’m going to miss him. Flashes of promise were thin on the ground, and his mistakes and the scandal in the end turned his f1 career sour very quickly.


Good Riddance.


Piquet failed in F1. What he did was a desperate move to retain his drive. Perhaps understandable; a secret he should have kept to himself. Ratting on his team after he complied is not acceptable in my books. I doubt he will ever have the respect of his peers regardless of which categorey he races. A drive in trucks, big deal- best he could get. Money talks.


One of Nelson’s worst enemies was himself, because of the amount of pressure that he had applied to himself. Still his performance in F1 was sorely lacking, and his future really isn’t NASCAR, but probably lies in Brazilian Touring Cars.


Being successful in Formula One was always my goal but I have learnt that happiness is just as important as ambition and after my first 18 months in F1 did not go as planned I have decided to focus on something different and have chosen to take a route in America

Roughly translated as:

I’m not good enough for formula 1 and never was. Now that I’ve confessed that I’m a cheat into the bargain, who in their right mind would touch me? Time to race in a series commensurate with my talent level.




Nice for him to find something that values his ‘skill set’.


I won’t diminish the rep of Pedro Dinitz by comparing them…. but money has always provided space on the grid with someone. As long as there are drivers who’s role is to pay the bills and fill the numbers drivers like Nelshino will have jobs.


Good riddance… He was such a whiner. Piquet Jr. is as dislikable as Mansell was likable!

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