x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Piquet Jr blames Briatore

Nelson Piquet Jr launches a scathing attack on Flavio Briatore after the former Renault team principal was banned indefinitely from Formula One.

LONDON// Nelson Piquet Jr launched a scathing attack on Flavio Briatore yesterday after the former Renault team principal was banned indefinitely from Formula One for ordering the Brazilian driver to crash. "I was simply being used by him then to be discarded and left to ridicule," said Piquet. "I am so sorry to those who work in Formula One [including the many good people at Renault] the fans and the governing body.

"I do not expect this to be forgiven or forgotten but at least now people can draw their conclusions based upon what really happened." Piquet Jr put his own life at risk by driving his car into a concrete wall to help his teammate Fernando Alonso win the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. News of the scandal was only made public last month when Piquet was fired by Renault. "I am relieved that the FIA investigation has now been concluded," he added.

"Those now running the Renault F1 Team took the decision, as I did, that it is better that the truth be known and accept the consequences. The most positive thing to come from bringing this to the attention of the FIA is that nothing like it will ever happen again. "I bitterly regret my actions to follow the orders I was given. I wish every day that I had not done it. "I don't know how far my explanation will go to making people understand because for many being a racing driver is an amazing privilege, as it was for me."

Piquet was given immunity from prosecution by the FIA. Of Briatore, the Brazilian said: "By the time of the Singapore GP he had isolated me and driven me to the lowest point I had ever reached in my life. "Now that I am out of that situation I cannot believe that I agreed to the plan, but when it was put to me I felt that I was in no position to refuse." * AP