Q & A with Nelson Piquet

Along with Jarno Trulli and Mika Salo, Nelson Piquet Jr was also a visitor at Phoenix International Raceway this weekend. AUTOSPORT heard from the Brazilian on Sunday before the Sprint Cup series race

Q & A with Nelson Piquet

Q. So how was you Truck series test?

NP: It was fun, it was different. It was what I expected from these cars, but I obviously didn't expect much more, coming from where I came. But it was good. The team helped me a lot; it was good having everybody helping me to give me tips. I'm very thankful for Red Horse, for the whole team. They were very nice.

Q. How different was the car to what you expected?

NP: I did Le Mans before. I did a few races in Brazil, a 1000 kilometres we did with my father and we won. Finished fourth in Le Mans also. Had a little bit of a knowledge but obviously it's much more different. You're in an oval; the car is even much different as I was racing an Aston Martin. So still a little different, but had a bit of a knowledge.

Q. Did the test raise your interest more for NASCAR?

NP: Not only the test. I mean, driving these kind of cars is not really difficult. Actually it's quite simple. It's nothing compared to a Formula One car. But I think the difficult part here is NASCAR, is the racing in completely different.

In F1 if you're quick in the car, it's 70 per cent done, you need to race a little bit but if you're quick you're there.

NASCAR is different. Everybody is quick but you need to know how to race because it's so close, all the cars banging side-doors and touching each other all the time. So, that's the most difficult part to get used to.

Q. Do you like it here?

NP: Yeah, I think the important thing is enjoying the whole environment, not only the driving. But in the race, during the race if you're having fun, is not only by liking the car.

Obviously there's cars much better technologically. An F1 car, what I'm used to is the top of the world. I think as long as you're having fun it doesn't matter if you're racing a go-kart or if you're driving a NASCAR. If you're having fun and competition is good, that's important.

Q. Is this something you're seriously considering for your future?

NP: Obviously I'm trying to have as good as a look as I can over here. Trying to get a good feeling of what everything here is in America in case I have to make a decision to know what I'm going to feel.

I didn't want to take a decision of coming to America without knowing how things work here, so I've been spending these days here meeting drivers, team owners, and racetracks to really know what I'm getting into if I come here.

Q. Speaking to people here, are you getting some good advice?

NP: Well obviously I don't want to jump any stages if I come to America, I want to do it properly. I want to learn from the bottom. Coming from Formula 1 doesn't mean that I can come here and step into a Cup car. Obviously I don't think about that.

I really want to start with my head down and build myself up because it's a completely different kind of racing, you know. I want to arrive here in Cup because I earned it, not because I'm arriving from Formula 1.

Hopefully if I come, I'll start doing the East [Regional Camping World] Series, you know, maybe doing a few dirt races.

Q. How much have you followed Juan Pablo Montoya's progress?

NP: Well I mean. I raced in Europe with him. I've been following when he came to NASCAR, we tried to follow a little bit in Europe what he was doing here. Not very close, but as much as we could. I don't know what conditions he had, or why he struggled so much at the beginning but I mean, probably it was a different world and he was learning.

Q. Do you have a deadline to make your decision about next year?

NP: No, I'm searching for something to do the 24 hours of Daytona. That's my main goal at the moment, and then obviously exploring because if I decide to come here, then I already know what to do.

Q. Are you planning any further NASCAR tests for this year?

NP: No, not really.

Q. Is Formula One still possible in 2010?

NP: I'm close to Force India at the moment but obviously this is being very interesting for me, so I don't know. I'm still in the process of deciding what I'm going to do. Maybe spend one more year in Europe before coming here; it's still all up in the air.

Q. So you're racing at Las Vegas in the Supernational next week?

NP: Yeah, Schumi and Buemi as well, all the world champions, European champions, so it's going to be a very tough race. But I'm looking forward to it.

shares
comments
Q & A with Jarno Trulli
Previous article

Q & A with Jarno Trulli

Next article

Piquet exploring NASCAR options

Piquet exploring NASCAR options
Load comments
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Plus

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup Series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Plus

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR
Oct 5, 2021
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Plus

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organisation - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR
Aug 31, 2021
The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin Plus

The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin

A multiple F3000 race winner, Marc Goossens was on the precipice of making Formula 1 in the 1990s - but a lack of budget left him without a path to the promised land. Turning to an illustrious racing career in sportscars, Goossens left the endurance circuit to try his hand at racing stock cars - and now calls the NASCAR Euro Series home

NASCAR
Jul 1, 2021
Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR Plus

Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR

There has never been a full-time British driver in the NASCAR Cup. But Alex Sedgwick, who is rising through the stock car ranks, wants that to change and could be a trailblazer for European talents to reach the top echelons of the NASCAR ladder

NASCAR
Feb 28, 2021
How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport Plus

How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport

It's 20 years since legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr died at the Daytona 500, but the legacy of his crash continues today through the pioneering safety work done by NASCAR

NASCAR
Feb 18, 2021
The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021 Plus

The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season

NASCAR
Feb 12, 2021
How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career Plus

How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a shot at redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith

NASCAR
Feb 11, 2021