Nelson Piquet can still turn around his troubled debut season in Formula One - but needs to start believing in himself if he is to do so.
That is the view of Renault's director of engineering Pat Symonds, who thinks that the Brazilian has to improve his self-confidence if he is to make the step forward in performance he needs.
Piquet has yet to score any points so far this year and the team are trying all they can, which includes giving him three days of running at next month's Barcelona test, to help him gain more confidence in the car.
And although there is growing speculation that former Super Aguri driver Anthony Davidson is being lined up as a possible replacement should Piquet not improve his form, Symonds still has faith that Piquet can sort the situation out.
His conviction is based on the fact that Heikki Kovalainen, who also had a troubled start to his rookie season with Renault last year, transformed his campaign with a strong fourth-placed finish in Canada last year.
"It has been difficult for him (Piquet), but he has put in some good races," Symonds told Renault's official podcast. "This time last year, a lot of people were thinking Heikki was entering his last few races, and Canada was just an incredible weekend for him because on Saturday could things really have gone worse?
"He had two major accidents, one of them in qualifying and it is still a miracle to me we got the car out in qualifying to get anywhere. (Then he had) a fabulous race on Sunday in Canada and he never looked back.
"I've said it so often before how much with a driver or sportsman is about self esteem and believing in yourself. And all Nelson needs to do is turn that corner and believe in himself and it will happen again."
Piquet has expressed some optimism that his fortunes will improve from the French Grand Prix, when he returns to tracks he knows well. The Brazilian also says he is not surprised he has been told to improve his pace if he is to retain his place in F1.
"It's normal for them to be pushing me, this is the way Renault is," he said. "They like to push the drivers and they think this is better. The driver needs to know how to focus himself, put things aside, and work."
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