Piquet: I am the victim of 'crashgate'

Nelson Piquet Jr claims that he has become the major victim of the Renault 'crashgate' scandal and admits it will be tough to begin his Formula 1 career all over again

Piquet: I am the victim of 'crashgate'

The 24-year-old says that despite team boss Flavio Briatore receiving a life ban and technical boss Pat Symonds being suspended for five years, he has been punished the most and could find it difficult to get another chance in F1.

"Some people have suggested I should have been punished by the FIA but, in reality, no one has been punished more than I have," Piquet said in The Times. "I am at the beginning of my career, unlike the others who have been punished in this case. I am going to have to overcome many obstacles. I more or less have to start my career from scratch in Formula 1 or justify myself in whatever category I might race in."

Piquet says the plan for him to crash to benefit team-mate Fernando Alonso's strategy was only made shortly before the race, claiming he did not have time to think it through and that he was under pressure for his place in the team.

"It all happened so quickly, I must confess that I could never possibly have weighed up the consequences," he said. "I was in a difficult position at the time and the renegotiation of my contract was in play if I didn't accept the strategy. I was taken by surprise by the request of the two most important people in the team — after all, one of them was my manager.

"The crash plan was only made hours before the race, I did not have time to think straight. If the proposal had been made during free practice I would have had more time to think and to act in another way."

Piquet suggested that had his father, Nelson Piquet Sr, been at the Singapore GP, the decision would not have been taken, and that Piquet Sr first told the FIA about the plot at the last race of the 2008 season.

"I don't believe the plan to crash would have been made [if Piquet Sr was in Singapore]," he said. "After that, my father began to go to all the races.

"The first confession was made to the FIA by my father during the Brazil Grand Prix in 2008. During the first half of 2009, both myself and my father spoke to other people about the subject. But the formalisation of the allegations only came afterwards. It was a very serious charge and, for that reason, we had to be very careful and take careful steps."

He denied that he ever used the threat of implicating Renault to try to keep his place in the team.

"Some people have suggested that I was blackmailing Renault to continue my career but the situation was more complicated for a long time before. At each race it was always the same story of threatening to withdraw my contract or the renewal for the next season... I made the allegation so that no other driver would go through what I went through and, more importantly, so that the whole episode would be clarified the way it has been."

Piquet also claimed that he had been the victim of Briatore's frustrations at the team being unable to return to its title winning form of 2005 and 2006, but says Alonso was not part of the plan as far as he knows.

"As a result of Renault not being very competitive, Briatore channelled all his unhappiness on me. He preferred to take it out on me during the two and a half seasons I was in Formula 1. I never saw other rookies being pushed as hard as I was. The pressure for results is normal, but the mental harassment is another story.

"Alonso did not participate in the meeting when the idea of a crash was developed. If he knew or not about the plan, is a detail that I do not know."

shares
comments
Grapevine: Paddock Life: Suzuka edition

Previous article

Grapevine: Paddock Life: Suzuka edition

Next article

Raikkonen only interested in winning car

Raikkonen only interested in winning car
Load comments
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021