Nelson's Column

Triple Formula 1 World Champion and AUTOSPORT magazine columnist Nelson Piquet is looking forward to the Brazilian Grand Prix and the British Formula 3 debut of his son Nelson Angelo this weekend. Due to the blokes on the magazine getting their deadlines confused last week, we present a one-off chance for autosport.com readers to sample Nelson's unique, incisive and sometimes leftfield punditry. Enjoy! Nelson's Column will return to its usual place in the magazine when he previews the San Marino Grand Prix in a fortnight's time.

Nelson's Column

Anybody home?
McLaren did it again in Malaysia! While everybody was out there guessing, they arrived with a very down to earth, no-nonsense attitude and Zap! One hundred percent in 2003! Just like an honest, home-type food restaurant that gives an infinitely better meal than some fancy places with foreign names. Renault also came close to boiling things up even more by making a very nice pole position, leading the race and giving Alonso a good stage to put his act together. F1 has given us more things to think and cheer about in only two races than we have had in a long time, and I bet it will surprise us even more this weekend.


Brazil is just like dancing samba, for instance. You like the idea at the first moment but then you have to really get into the spirit to enjoy it properly. And, believe me, you will like it so much that you will even become addicted to it. Yes, I am talking about the country that has the courage and inspiration to have a pop star as a Minister of Culture and no, I am not talking about the Interlagos track, that has nothing to do with what it once was. Anyway, in Interlagos there are still the overtaking spots that will keep hopes for a good race very high. Mainly, Brazil hopes of seeing a homeboy doing well - even if this homeboy comes from Colombia (it's a neighbour country after all) in the shape of Juan Pablo Montoya. After all, he is South American and there will be thousands of Colombians present to support him. But don't forget Big Schummy is a fine sportsman and he will be playing a promotional game at the Santos Football Club (together with the new Brazilian superstar Robinho) and has more than enough rhythm to fight and establish his superiority again.


Since 1979 I have been at Interlagos for every Grand Prix. After I quit racing as a professional, the Interlagos visit was my way of touching base and seeing old friends. It was my way to hear the 'inside stories' and to learn a 'secret' or two. Well this year I will be in England watching the GP on the telly, after the first two Formula 3 races that my son Nelsinho contests in the British Championship at Donington Park. So, instead of F1, I invite you all to support Piquet Sports on Sunday. Then we all can go home and watch the GP comfortably, OK? Memories of past Brazilian GPs will, for sure, be racing through my mind, but only a little because I am very practical, as always, and focused on the F3 race.


The best-kept secret nowadays is the fuel weights for qualifying and the race. Just like in any good recipe, the quantities are fundamental to achieve the results and in Sepang they were burning 3.1 kilos per lap. That means that with three laps of qualifying, plus one lap to the grid and another parade lap, about 15kg of fuel was consumed before the GP even started. I was told that the calculations showed that Alonso started with 60kg, Trulli 65kg, Big Schummy 80kg, Barrichello 83kg, Lil'Schummy 80kg, Montoya 86kg, da Matta 65kg, Panis 50kg, Heidfeld 50kg, Frentzen 70kg, Fisichella 70kg, Raikkonen 75kg, Button 70kg and Villeneuve 76kg. Good show for Renault (less power, softer compound tyres) and for McLaren, who were close by and also on softer Michelins. This is the new game we are all learning to play, and now that the ban on the ban of the electronic devices has happened, it is a game where everyone will have to be more attentive than ever.


Well, this time I was fantastic, wasn't I? I said Raikkonen would clear the table and win. He didn't get pole position, but having Alonso there almost made up for it. Hehehehehehe - I am getting better at this game! Wait for me - in Brazil BMW Williams will finally understand the car better and take all the profit from the Michelin tyres. Montoya and Lil'Schummy one-two. McLaren? On the podium. Renault? Right there also. Ferrari? Big Schummy? I told you already, one needs more than talent and rhythm to be a good Samba dancer.

shares
comments
De la Rosa Signed as McLaren Test Driver

Previous article

De la Rosa Signed as McLaren Test Driver

Next article

Villeneuve to Sign 'Performance-Related' Contract

Villeneuve to Sign 'Performance-Related' Contract
Load comments
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Plus

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Plus

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Plus

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Plus

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break Plus

The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break

OPINION: Formula 1 is about to break up for summer 2021, with the title battles finely poised. But it’s not just the latest round of Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton that will be worth watching this weekend in Hungary, as plenty of drivers are eying big results to change the stories of their seasons so far

Formula 1
Jul 28, 2021
How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Plus

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but 
flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Plus

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't Plus

How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says OLEG KARPOV, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021