Tag Archives: Nelson Piquet Jr

Piquet: Massa still blames me for lost championship

Nelson Piquet Jr has revealed that, because of his actions at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, Felipe Massa still blames him to this day for losing the 2008 Driver’s Championship. Felipe lost the title by a single point to Lewis Hamilton, and lost 10 points in the Singapore Grand Prix, after a mistake in the pit lane, which was caused by a safety car deployment, which in turn had been caused by Piquet Jr.

If it was a mistake by Piquet that had brought out the safety car, then nothing would have been said of it. But as we all know, Nelson deliberately crashed his Renault, specifically to bring out the safety car to help his team-mate Fernando Alonso win the race.

The problem with Massa’s pit stop had been caused by the Ferrari traffic lights operator releasing Massa too early, causing the fuel rig to be ripped out and was still attached to the car as Felipe left the pits. It has been well acknowledged that this mistake by the light operator was caused by the chaotic nature of the pit lane, which of course was triggered by the safety car.

In my mind, despite other losses of points in other races that year, Massa deserves to blame Piquet for what he did. Nelson, however, seems surprised, in an interview with Portugese magazine Istoe (translation has been verified):

“Massa was very upset with me because he thinks, to this day,
that he lost the 2008 championship because of me.

It is no use arguing that he had a DNF in Hungary, that he and
Ferrari made mistakes. Not to mention his lack of luck. For the
love of God, that last lap in Interlagos was pure luck for
(Lewis) Hamilton (who was the champion) and bad luck to him.

But he is still very upset. I have never talked to him again.
We stumble upon each other every now and then, but we don’t
keep on touch.”

He did not remain on the defense, however, as he soon went on the attack, as he criticised Massa for his actions at the German Grand Prix this year:

"Generally you’d want to make such arrangements in a subtle 
manner. At the end of the straight, a driver breaks a little 
early into a corner, let the team mate close the gap and 
overtake. Alright, with the fight for the first place it is 
harder to make it subtle, but it didn’t have to be so blatant. 
There is where Massa surprised me.

He wanted to expose Ferrari’s team game to cause a bit of a 
mess. Because the situation itself is normal. The most common 
code is the one Ferrari uses, that your team mate is faster 
than you. Massa understood, but wanted to make sure that, if 
it was for him, there would be no overtaking.

Ferrari will never miss the opportunity to let one of its 
drivers close the gap to the championship leaders. If Massa 
does not want that to happen, he needs to accept he is slower 
and race faster. He needs to work to get faster than Alonso. 
There’s no other way."

I’m particularly interested at the part where he says: “Generally you’d want to make such arrangements in a subtle manner.” Well he would certainly know about it wouldn’t he? I can understand his comments on the German Grand Prix debacle, but when it comes to the Crash-gate saga again, I don’t even want him to open his mouth.

For those of you who are interested, Piquet has been racing this year in the, erm, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (a world series held entirely in America, I should note). He has competed in 4 races out of 15, and finished in the top 10 3 times. Before you think that’s impressive, it’s only pickup trucks he’s been racing.

Briatore and Symonds accept 3-year ban in Crashgate settlement with FIA

Pat Symonds and Flavio Briatore

Pat Symonds and Flavio Briatore

Both Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds have agreed not to pursue further charges, after a settlement with the FIA that resulted in both effectively receiving a 3-year ban from Formula 1.

In exchange for the FIA dropping charges against the two, they have agreed not to take any “operational role” in Formula 1 until the end of 2012, or any FIA competition until the end of 2011. However, it still seems that no charges are to be brought against Nelson Piquet Jr, the driver who conspired with Briatore and Symonds to cause a deliberate crash, and give Fernando Alonso a huge advantage in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

The full FIA statement reads as follows:

The decision handed down by the Tribunal de Grande Instance of 
Paris on 5 January 2010 at the request of Mr Flavio Briatore 
and Mr Pat Symonds, which the FIA has appealed, revealed a poor 
understanding of how the disciplinary procedure before the 
World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) works. In accordance with the 
undertakings made by the FIA President during his campaign, it 
will be proposed at the next General Assembly, at the end of 
2010, that a structural reform, on which the FIA Statutes Review 
Commission is currently working, be adopted to prevent other 
misunderstandings.

In the meantime, at its meeting in Bahrain on 11 March 2010, the 
WMSC decided on the one hand to adopt a Code of Practice to 
clarify the working of its disciplinary procedure, and on the 
other hand to give the FIA President full authority to seek a 
definitive outcome, whether judicial or extrajudicial, to the 
disputes with Mr Flavio Briatore and Mr Pat Symonds, best 
preserving the interests of the FIA.

After discussions between their lawyers and those of the FIA, 
Mr Flavio Briatore and Mr Pat Symonds have each made a settlement 
offer to the FIA President with a view to putting an immediate 
end to the legal proceedings.

Each of them recognising his share of responsibility for the 
deliberate crash involving the driver Nelson Piquet Junior at 
the 2008 Grand Prix of Singapore, as "Team Principal" of Renault 
F1 where Mr Flavio Briatore is concerned, they have expressed 
their regrets and presented their apologies to the FIA.

They have undertaken to abstain from having any operational role 
in Formula One until 31 December 2012, as well as in all the other 
competitions registered on the FIA calendars until the end of 
the 2011 sporting season.

They have also abandoned all publicity and financial measures 
resulting from the judgment of 5 January 2010, as well as any 
further action against the FIA on the subject of this affair.

In return, they have asked the FIA to abandon the ongoing appeal
procedure, but without the FIA recognising the validity of the 
criticisms levelled against the WMSC’s decision of 21 September 
2009, as well as to waive the right to bring any new proceedings 
against them on the subject of this affair.

Considering that the judgment of 5 January 2010 concerned only the 
form and not the substance of the WMSC’s decision of 21 September 
2009, and that the undertakings and renunciation of all claims 
expressed by Mr Flavio Briatore and Mr Pat Symonds are in line 
with what the WMSC is seeking, the FIA President has considered 
that it is in the best interests of the FIA not to allow the 
perpetuation of these legal disputes, which have received a great 
deal of media coverage and which, regardless of the outcome, are 
very prejudicial to the image of the FIA and of motor sport, and 
thus to accept this settlement solution, thereby putting an end 
to this affair.

If you actually read all that (bit heavy-worded wasn’t it?), you would also know that Briatore and Symonds have both rejected the £18,000 and £4,000 compensation packages that the FIA were forced to give to them in January, after a court ruled that their previous life bans were illegal.

Now though, they must bide their time, as they have to wait until the 2013 season until they can apply to get back into Formula 1. The question is, will anyone take them? Symonds might get in with a team, since he’s a nice guy, and certainly didn’t play as big a part as Briatore, though he still deserved the ban. Briatore might go back to driver managment, but it is unclear if any driver would want to work woth him after all of this.

However, the FIA have the option to turn nasty. A few months ago, the idea of driver managment liscences was suggested, to stop Flavio Briatore from getting back into Formula 1. If they were to bring it in, they could stop Briatore, without the threat of court action, since they are in the legal right this time.

Alternatively, we could just hope that the 2012 doomsday predictions are right, and they will never get into F1 again.

Petrov: Grosjean made huge mistake

Vitaly Petrov at Jerez testing last week

Vitaly Petrov at Jerez testing last week

Vitaly Petrov, the new Renault second driver alongside Robert Kubica, believes that Romain Grosjean should have bided his time, instead of jumping into Formula 1 halfway through the season.

Grosjean joined Renault after Hungary last year, when Nelson Piquet Jr was dropped after failing to score a point after 10 races. However, he struggled as much as Piquet, and failed to score a point either for the rest of the season.

Petrov spoke to Auto Hebdo, saying:

“Grosjean made a huge mistake by entering F1 mid-season.”

“There was much more to lose than to win, especially with a car that even Alonso failed to find any good in. One of the F1 teams asked me to step in mid-2009 but I refused and my father supported me; we must start when a season begins, not step in en route.”

When Petrov says he was offered a drive halfway through last year, he must mean either Renault or Toro Rosso (or Ferrari, but that’s highly unlikely). I must say I’m impressed by Vitaly’s maturity to wait until next year, when he might not have been able to get a drive.

Singapore considering track layout revisions

The Singapore Grand Prix

The Singapore Grand Prix

The organisers of the Singapore Grand Prix have said that they are considering revisons to the circuit, to make it faster.

Both of the Singapore Grands Prix have run nearly two hours long, which is the FIA’s mandatory limit. Significant changes are being considered, to speed up the 3.152 mile track’s laps.

The current lap record was set by Fernando Alonso, a 1m48.240s. It is too late to make revisions to the 2010 circuit in time, but the Singapore Tourism Board are looking at making the changes by the 2011 race.

Justin Chew, the Singapore Tourism Board’s executive director, said:

“We are always looking to see how we can improve the Singapore Grand Prix. If it is for the good of the race and makes it more exciting for fans and drivers, we will consider it.”

The two modifications being considered are cutting Turns 7 to 9 into one 90 degree left-hander around the War Memorial, instead of through it. Also, the bus stop chicane that runs underneath the grandstands may be completely removed. Interestingly enough, this would get rid of the infamous Turn 17, where Nelson Piquet Jr intentionally crashed in 2008.

Piquet had F1 offer for 2010

Nelson Piquet

Nelson Piquet

Nelson Piquet Jr has revealed that he had a firm offer of a drive in F1 for 2010.

The Brazilian, who has not raced in F1 since the crash-gate scandal last year, has announced that he is to race in a NASCAR series, having previously tested a Toyota Tundra truck.

Piquet claims that he left F1 because of all the politics. He said:

“I could’ve been there (Formula 1) if I wanted to. A team offered me to be there.”

“I just thought I was sick and tired of all of the stuff over there. I just took a decision of starting a new step in my career and a new challenge in coming to NASCAR.”

“For a lot of people who are outside of America, it’s a downgrade. But for people that really understand – maybe it’s a downgrade in technology of the car — but in terms of career, of how big the sport is in a lot of ways it’s even a tougher step than F1.”

“For me, I compare it side by side. It’s just two different types of cars. The level of competition and the seriousness and the business of both series are very, very high. I was just sick and tired of things over there. I got a very, very good opportunity over here to start my career here and I’m here.”

It is not known which team made the offer, but Piquet was heavily linked earlier with the new Campos team, having already signed fellow Brazilian Bruno Senna.

Even if he had taken the offer, he never would have survived in F1. Very few people will forgive him for what he did, and I doubt I ever will. Anyways, he would have crashed.

Briatore to sue FIA for “loss of income”

Flavio Briatore, when managing Renault

Flavio Briatore, when managing Renault

Former Renault team boss Flavio Briatore announced today that he is to pursue legal proceedings against the FIA, for the loss of income to his driver managment business.

The FIA had previously banned Briatore from all motorsport, after he was found to have conspired with Nelson Piquet Jr and Pat Symonds to cause a crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

Last month, a Parisian court overturned this ruling, saying that the FIA did not have the authority to remove Briatore from the sport. However, the ban had meant that many of Briatore’s drivers had left his agency. This included Fernando Alonso, Heikki Kovalainen and Lucas di Grassi. Briatore told The Telegraph that the FIA would be sued for the money lost because of this.

“We lost Alonso, we lost [Heikki] Kovalainen, we lost several drivers,” he said. “We will sue the FIA for the money we lost.”

The FIA has already announced that it is to appeal the French court’s decision.

In my opinion, this can only end in disaster. Alonso, Kovalainen and Di Grassi left of their own accord, not because of the threat of having their superlicenses removed. This court battle is only giving negative publicity to a scandal which should have been closed up months ago.

Massa had quizzed Piquet about Crashgate

Felipe Massa and Nelson Piquet Jr

Felipe Massa and Nelson Piquet Jr

Nelson Piquet's staged crash at Singapore 2008

Nelson Piquet's staged crash at Singapore 2008

Felipe Massa has revealed that he had quizzed Nelson Piquet Jr and Flavio Briatore about the events at the 2008 Singapore GP, even before the scandal had broken out.

In Singapore 2008, Nelson Piquet crashed 2 laps after Fernando Alonso had pitted, and brought out the safety car. This gave a huge advantage to Alonso, who went on to win the race. Massa, who had been leading and dominating the race, pitted when the safety car was over, but a disasterous pit stop meant he finished last. Felipe later lost the championship to Lewis Hamilton by a single point.

However, Massa says that he had always been skeptical about Piquet’s crash, even before the scandal broke out this year. At a Ferrari media event, he said:

“I spoke to him, yeah. I spoke to him before [it became public],” said Massa. “We were going together to drive go-karts in Italy and I asked him about Singapore – I wanted to hear the right story because I was thinking that the combination [of events] was so perfect [for Renault], what happened in that race.”

“And he was laughing, he didn’t want to say the truth. I said ‘okay, you’re laughing, but I understood. Maybe one day we’ll speak again’. And after one month or less, the story came back in the press.”

“I even spoke to Flavio about that in Bahrain last year. I asked Flavio about Singapore and he said ‘no, no, it’s impossible’ and he was even trying to laugh sometimes.”

However, even though he probably lost the championship because of it, he does not wish to revisit the incident.

“But if I spoke to them after I knew? It didn’t change anything,” said Massa. “Why should I go there and speak? We will not go back to the past. We need to think about the present and the future. The past is the past.”

“Everybody knows what happened in 2008. I don’t think we’re going to win anything by going back through all these problems. For sure it was very frustrating what was happening in that race, and it changed many things around the championship.”

“But anyway, we need to think forward. I hope these things don’t happen anymore – for the sport, not just the business. I hope we’ll go back to fighting for the championship and I hope I can be a champion one day. That’s the way I’m thinking.”

Nelson Piquet Jr to race in NASCAR

Nelson Piquet in his preferred driving style

Nelson Piquet in his preferred driving style

Nelson Piquet Jr has claimed, on his personal website, that he is moving to one of the NASCAR chanpionships this year. On his website, he stated:

“NASCAR is hugely challenging and nobody has ever come in as an outsider before and gone on to win it – it will be the ultimate challenge.”

However, it is unclear whether he will race in the elite Sprint cup, or in a lower level, such as the Nationwide series. He could move to an even lower league such as the smaller sanctioned series. A spokeperson said that this will be clarified within the next few weeks.

Piquet tested a NASCAR car last October, so he is already slightly familiar with the cars.

In my opinion, this is excellent news. Piquet can give the crowds what they watch NASCAR for- crashes, crashes and more crashes. Suits him very well.

FIA to appeal Briatore verdict

FIA Flag

FIA Flag

The FIA has decided to appeal the decicion by a French court to overturn the lifetime ban imposed upon Flavio Briatore and the 5-year ban on Pat Symonds, for their involvment in the Crash-gate scandal.

Last week, Briatore succesfully got the courts to overturn his lifetime ban, as the judge stated the FIA did not have the authority or power to remove them from the sport.

Following meeting between FIA president Jean Todt and other representatives, they have elected to appeal the court’s verdict.

A statement from the FIA read as follows:

“The President of the FIA has consulted the FIA Senate and the FIA’s lawyers about the decision of the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris of 5 January. It was unanimously agreed that an appeal would be prepared.

“In his election campaign last summer, FIA President Jean Todt and his team announced that new measures for constructive change, including a disciplinary procedure, would be introduced. Work on this is well advanced. Once in place, this will address the issues in the Court’s judgement. Nonetheless, an appeal is merited.”

Also, the FIA were quick to point out that, while they are appealing the decicion, the original punishment still stands, meaning that Briatore and Symonds, for the time being, still cannot be involved in FIA-sanctioned sports.

In my last article on this, I mentioned that the FIA may choose to not give superlicences to drivers who use Briatore as their manager. However, this may not be done, pending the outcome of the FIA’s appeal.

Briatore continuing legal cases

Flavio Briatore, when managing Renault

Flavio Briatore, when managing Renault

Flavio Briatore has said that he plans to continue his legal pursuit of the Piquet family, and any drivers who terminated their contract with him.

Back in last September, Flavio announced that he was to take legal action against the Piquets, when the Crash-gate scandal broke out. He claimed that the family were blackmailing him to keep his contract.

In an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, he said: “That’s very likely(continuing legal action). The bad that has been done to me won’t be forgotten in one day.”

Also, he stated that his previous lifetime ban was influenced by disputes between him and former FIA president Max Mosley. He said that: “First Mosley tried to make me lose titles, first with Schumi then with Alonso, and then to destroy me with this story.” He expects to have a better relationship with Jean Todt.

Regarding his role of driver manager, he said that he may also pursue legal cases against Heikki Kovalainen and Lucas di Grassi, who he claims have breached the terms of their driver-manager contract.

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