Angry Piquet confirms Renault exit
|By Pablo Elizalde||Monday, August 3rd 2009, 15:13 GMT|
Nelson Piquet has confirmed he will not be racing at the European Grand Prix later this month after parting company with the Renault team.
Piquet was already in doubt for the previous race in Hungary, but a war of words with team boss Flavio Briatore last week seemed to indicate the end of the relationship between the Brazilian and Renault.
On Monday, Piquet released a statement confirming Renault has notified him he will not be racing for the team anymore.
"I have received notice from the Renault F1 team of its intention to stop me from driving for them in the current F1 season," said Piquet.
"I want to say thanks to the small group who supported me and that I worked together at Renault F1, although it is obviously with great disappointment that I receive such news."
The Brazilian said he was relieved to finally put an end to a difficult time with Renault, and he is hopeful he can move on to succeed in F1.
"I feel a sense of relief for the end of the worst period of my career, and the possibility that I can now move on and put my career back on the right track and try to recover my reputation of a fast, winning driver," he said.
"I am a team player and there are dozens of people I have worked with in my career who would vouch for my character and talent, except unfortunately the person that has had the most influence on my career in Formula 1."
Piquet also claimed that he had not received the same treatment as team-mate Fernando Alonso this season.
"For the 2009 season Briatore ... promised me everything would be different, that I would get the attention I deserved but had never received, and that I would get 'at least equal treatment' inside the team," he added.
"He made me sign a performance-based contract, requiring me to score 40% of Fernando Alonso's points by mid-way through the season. Despite driving with Fernando, two-time world champion and a really excellent driver, I was confident that, if I had the same conditions, I would easily attain the 40% of points required by the contract.
"Unfortunately, the promises didn't turn into reality again. With the new car I completed 2002km of testing compared to Fernando's 3839km. Only three days of my testing was in dry weather - only one of Fernando's was wet.
"I was only testing with a heavy car, hard tyres, mostly on the first day (when the track is slow and reliability is poor), or when the weather was bad. Fernando was driving a light car with soft tyres in the dry, fine conditions. I never had a chance to be prepared for the qualifying system we use. In Formula 1 today, the difference between 1st and 15th position is sometimes less than a second. It means that 0.2 or 0.3s can make you gain eight positions."
The Brazilian slammed Briatore as his "executioner", and said he is confident he has the skill to succeed in F1.
"I believe without doubt in my talent and my performance. I didn't get this far by getting bad results. Anyone who knows my history knows that the results I am having in F1 do not match my CV and my ability.
"The conditions I have had to deal with during the last two years have been very strange to say the least - there are incidents that I can hardly believe occurred myself. If I now need to give explanations, I am certain it is because of the unfair situation I have been in the past two years.
"I always believed that having a manager was being a part of a team and having a partner. A manager is supposed to encourage you, support you, and provide you with opportunities. In my case it was the opposite. Flavio Briatore was my executioner."