The axed Renault driver Nelson Piquet Jr has accused team boss, Flavio Briatore, as being his "executioner".
Axed Piquet vows to fight back
The axed Renault driver Nelson Piquet Jr has accused team boss, Flavio Briatore, as being his "executioner". The son of three-time former world champion Nelson Piquet was released from his contract on Monday, as was expected after his recent war of words with Briatore.
Piquet claimed that he was being given second-rate treatment compared to his teammate Fernando Alonso and when Briatore hit back saying he was making excuses to cover for bad results, the driver shot back saying, "Briatore doesn't understand [anything] about Formula One." With racing seats drying up as teams fall to the onslaught of recession, Piquet said he was determined to revive his career and blamed Briatore for being the chief figure responsible for the "black period" in his life.
"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," Piquet said. After scoring 19 points in his debut year for Renault last season, Piquet claims he was forced to sign a performance-related deal by Briatore for this year. Briatore demanded that Piquet should win 40 per cent of Alonso's points by the midway mark of the season, and the 24-year-old felt it was achievable. But after a poor pre-season in comparison to his teammate, a lack of in-season testing and with the double world champion consistently being given the better car, Piquet found himself swimming against the tide.
"He [Briatore] is my manager. But in his role of team boss he doesn't respect me," Piquet said. "He only thinks about money, about how much money he can pocket in everything he's involved with. He's a man with no friends." With no points to his name and after being out-qualified 27-1 by Alonso in 28 races, Piquet now finds himself searching for a seat for 2010. BMW Sauber have announced they will not race from next year
Admitting to "a sense of relief," he added: "I've the possibility to now move on and put my career back on the right track and try to recover my reputation as a fast, winning driver. "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 One.
"But 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 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, and there are incidents 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."
Whether any doors open up for Piquet remains to be seen, but he is not about to let his career drift away. "Being under pressure is not new to me," he added. "I have had criticism throughout my career and have also had a lot of expectations put on me due to my name. "Up until now I always met those expectations, surpassed them even. "I have never before felt the need to defend myself or fight back from rumours and criticism because I knew the truth and I just wanted to concentrate on racing. I didn't ever let it affect me.
"Fortunately, I can say to those people who supported me through my career that I'm back on the good tracks and considering the options for a new start in my F1 career in a fair and positive way." * With agencies