Driver at centre of race-fix row hopes to move on
22 September 2009

Nelson Piquet has apologised for his role in the race-fix scandal that has engulfed Formula One - and said he does not expect forgiveness for his involvement.

In a statement issued shortly after it was announced that Renault had been given a two-year suspended ban from the sport, Piquet said he has happy the matter had now been brought to an end.

"I am relieved that the FIA investigation has now been concluded," he 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 1 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."

Piquet added that his time working with Briatore had been the worst period of his life.

"Mr Briatore was my manager as well as the team boss, he had my future in his hands but he cared nothing for it. By the time of the Singapore GP he had isolated me and driven me to the lowest point I had ever reached in my life. Now that I am out of that situation I cannot believe that I agreed to the plan, but when it was put to me I felt that I was in no position to refuse.

"Listening now to Mr Briatore's reaction to my crash and hearing the comments he has made to the press over the last two weeks it is clear to me that I was simply being used by him then to be discarded and left to ridicule."

Piquet added that he hopes to race in F1 again.

"I have had to learn some very difficult lessons over the last 12 months and reconsider what is valuable in life," he said. "What has not changed is my love for Formula 1 and hunger to race again. I realise that I have to start my career from zero.

"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. What can be assured is that there will be no driver in Formula 1 as determined as me to prove myself.

"As my final words on this matter, I would like to repeat that I am so sorry to those who work in Formula 1 (including the many good people at Renault) the fans and the governing body. I do not expect this to be forgiven or forgotten but at least now people can draw their conclusions based upon what really happened."

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22 September 2009

I was only following orders...mmm, heard that one before somewhere...

Surely he can't seriously believe that anyone would hire him now, he should have been banned along with the other two as he was equally culpable.

22 September 2009

Hmmm, I'm not sure on that one. Bear in mind he is a young driver with his whole career ahead of him; which is now pretty much ruined. That may be punishment enough I think.

He was never going to be a world champion in F1 but he was certainly better than some of the dead beats who get the opportunity.

Also, what does this say about Alonso? Has Flav made sure all of Alonso's team mates were kept in check. Little wonder he didn't quite fit into McLaren where he had to prove himself against his team mate.

Lots of skeletons are potentially going to be getting turfed out of their closets soon

22 September 2009

Piquet had already shown himslef to have little ability as a driver at the F1 level.

Now he has shown himself to have no moral courage.

He should have refused the order and gone public immediatly, that way he would at least have had a chance of a future as a racer and we would have had a clean Grand Prix.

Failing that, he should have gone public much earlier.

The fact that it was only his getting fired that caused hm to do it, so that he could inflict collateral damage, shows him to be a petulant coward.

...the band was playing Dixie: double-four time...

22 September 2009

"he does not expect forgiveness for his involvement...Piquet added that he hopes to race in F1 again"

He does not expect but hopes - this is a cheap PR stunt to save his reputation. Sorry, it will not you crashstard.

22 September 2009

I think if he believes he has what it takes then why not give him a second chance? After all it was the whole of Renault who were responsible for this atrocity.

So Piquet's career is ruined and Renault get a slap on the wrist? That is a gross injustice.

And remember, if it wasn't for this charade, Massa may well have won the championship last year.

Suddenly the shine has come off Alonso's so called comeback last year isn't it?

If I were Ferrari I'd think long and hard before employing the Spaniard, no matter how good a driver he may be.

22 September 2009

I can't stick up for what he's done and hope it doesn't happen again but I can't help feeling a bit sorry for him.

A young driver, under huge pressure to prove himself, 3 times World Champion Dad, Alonso as a teammate and the latin playboy bully as a boss/manager. Almost sounds like a Tom Cruise film but without the Hollywood ending.

It's easy to criticise afterwards but who can really say what you'd do in that situation? I think he probably knew he wasn't the next Hamilton (else Alonso would have him as a team mate) and If he quit Renault it's not as though any other top-flight teams were waiting to snap him up - Renault was where he needed to prove himself.

We now know the kind of support he was getting from Flav the chav and with Pat Symonds in on the plan too (who always seemed like a sensible/experienced kind of guy) and the promise of a Renault drive till the end of 09 - who can honestly say whether in that situation they wouldn't do the same?

It's not Honourable but understandable in a battered relationship kind of a way and ultimately I think he's lost out the most for speaking up, I doubt we'll see him in F1 again.

22 September 2009

Why didn't Piquet take the option of reporting this situation to Renault as soon as it arose? Nobody there would have sanctioned it, and Briatore would have been out on his fat ear a year ago. Unless of course Renault knew about it all along. There is more to come out here, and I bet it will come from Briatore and his team of lawyers once they've worked out a battle plan. The FIA might well have to join forces with Renault against him to protect the commercial future of F1, but don't be surprised if Renault simply exits the sport once the dust has died down a bit.

22 September 2009

[quote manicm]If I were Ferrari I'd think long and hard before employing the Spaniard, no matter how good a driver he may be.[/quote]

Agreed.

Alonso isn't that good a driver either, he got well and truely beaten by a rookie at McLaren. And has always been pampered with the latest and fastest bits on his car.

I just hope Ferrari wake up before they make a terrible mistake.

22 September 2009

to be honest hes a young guy that didnt want to get lobbed from renault so obeyed and listened to orders, i feel sorry for him, i reckon a lot of young drivers would do the same if it meant they could continue to race in an F1 team, and were worried about their future in the sport. So like i said if he had refused he probably would been fired for not listening to the bosses ....

22 September 2009

[quote jamesbrown15]f he had refused he probably would been fired for not listening to the bosses ....[/quote] But RENAULT are the bosses, not Briatore. If Piquet had reported it to them immediately there is no way Renault would have sanctioned Briatore to proceed down this ludicrous path. How FB ever expected to keep this whole thing secret in the world of F1 is unbelievable enough. To expect to keep a lid on it while simultaneously (allegedly) abusing someone like Piquet – who does not give the impression of being someone you'd rely on to be the soul of discretion in personal battles of this kind – is a measure of the towering arrogance that often brings people like Briatore down in the end.

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