Taking the Piquet

Is it just me, or is it strange that Flavio Briatore has signed Nelson Piquet Jnr at Renault for another year? Or is it not so strange? Maybe it’s not so strange at all.

I usually get too deep into figures in these blogs, but don’t panic, this one has only one figure: 0.513. That’s the average amount Nelson Piquet Jnr qualified behind his team mate Fernando Alonso during the season this year. Over half a second. That is bad. The final tally, head-to-head, was 18-0. Oops, there are another two numbers. Sorry.

Of all the team-mate qualifying battles in 2008, it was the only 18-0 on the grid. Even David Coulthard

managed to outqualify Mark Webber twice. The next closest were a trio of 14-4s for Rosberg over Nakajima, Trulli over Glock and Hamilton over Kovalainen. Utter, utter domination of the rookie by the Spanish master who never surrenders. Even for a rookie, Nelson is poor.

Perfect team-mate for Alonso, then? Yes indeed. Reckon that was a stipulation for Fernando renewing

Bill's stats. He's been busy

Bill's stats. He's been busy

his Renault contract for another two years? I can imagine Fernando saying it: “sure, I’ll sign for two years, Flav-Baby, as long as I get to race alongside Nelson. He’s rubbish and a lot different to Lewis and I love him the most.”

But surely it’s not good for Renault as a team? Nelson only got to the final qualifying top-ten shootout twice in 18 races, while Fernando did it 15 times. What a contrast! That’s why Jamie here on the topgear.com team reckons Nelson will be on some sort of performance-related contract. I’m not so sure. I think Renault knows it won’t be fighting for the constructors’ title and is happy to put itself firmly behind Alonso. And that means giving him a team-mate who is shat.

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This reminds me of a few seasons ago when Flav dropped Trulli – another baffling driver decision linked with Alonso being in the team.

My personal intarweb conthpiracee is that Alonso is extremely specific on co-drivers and doesn’t like anyone challenging him – hence the dropping of Trulli in 05 (I think?) and the retaining of Piquet Jr this year. Could be complete tosh though – who knows what goes on in Flavs mind, he has a pretty good track record, so must have good reasons?

I think the most complete young driver is Rosberg – excellent engineering background, great with the media and an extremely professional racer. I hope Frank can provide him a better car in ’09 :o)

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Agreed Bill about next year. If he doesn’t deliver, he should be out. He certainly has the potential though. It’s a pretty sensible decision from Flav though – lots of new rules next year, potential shuffling of the grid and consistancy in the team is a big part. All of the other alternatives – di Grassi, Bruno Senna, Grosjean etc would be a bit of a risk with them all being rookies. Had someone like Barrichello not been offered a drive for next year then he may well have been snapped up by Renault. Piquet is probably the only viable option for the team at the moment. I personally hope he steps up – I like the guy and think he’s got good load of talent – he gave Hamilton a run for his money in GP2 anyway…

What baffles me more is the fact that Sutil will probably keep his seat next year. He’s had about 2 or 3 fairly good drives over 2 seasons and has struggled to keep in touch with a Fisichella who is many tenths down on when he was at his best.

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Alonso’s not scared of any teammate. I’m sure he’d beat any teammate they throw at him.

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Lets remember who Alonso’s teammate was when he won his two world championships…Fisichella not exactly a blisteringly fast driver either.

According to the pole on the F1 site alot of people think Alonso will be fighting for the title next year and although Nelsinho might not be challenging him i think he is the perfect driver to back up Alonso, they get along well and he has alot of potential, i expect to see him on the podium often next year.

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Fisi was fast when he was younger, but he was already a bit too old when he finally got a competetive seat at Renault. A shame really, he is a very likable guy.

But back to this Piquet-thing, i really dont think its that strange that Nelson kept his seat. Sure, he had a crap season, but its nice to see him get a second chanse, i still have a bit of faith in him. Maybe he will suprise us all.

He will not be as fast as ‘lonso, that is for sure though. But nobody else is really either, except for Kimi. Lewis and Felipe are also just as fast, but only on clean tracks, when they are running first.

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Don’t forget Vettel. That boy is insanely steady and fast. I think it’s just the fact that we have people like Hammy and Vettel that make Piquet look bad, when perhaps, Piquet is actually performing what a ‘usual’ rookie will perform.

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PIQUET SUCKS BIG TIME, but then again perfect team mate for Alonso.

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bill thomas,
thank you for continually participating in the discussion. i’d like to see more of that from other writers, if possible.

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The matter is that if you want the driver’s tittle you need to concentrate on one driver. IF you don’t then you loose. Hemilton and Alonso last year by a point, Massa this year by a point. A strong driver with a weeker teammate = driver’s championship. Two fast drivers = constructors championship (see Ferrari this year).

Alonso gets a lot of stick that he picks teammates to be weaker. But what is Kovalainen in a Mclaren?

I believe Picquet will be better this year. Give him a second chance to learn from the best (Alonso)and drive a car developed by the best and i thing he will be a good support driver.

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If Piquet does a good job in a support role and Alonso gets a seat at Ferrari for 2011, Renault may reward him by giving him a shot at a championship (if they’re still competitive) like they did with Irvine in ’99.

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By “they” I assume you mean Ferrari?

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In the run up to F1 Piquet had impressed me a lot, his second GP2 year especially – although he was beaten by Hamilton the final result would have undoubtably been a bit closer if there hadn’t been some reliability issues in the Piquet Sports car.

From the information I’ve read about him he is very in touch with the engineering/set up side of things, which I would guess is a big boost for the team.

I hope next year he will be a bit more on pace, perhaps a year of just testing took it’s toll on his race-craft, there’s potential there.

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I think it has a lot to do with Alonso not liking a competative team mate. He was used to having useless Fisi as his no.2 in 05 and 06 and got a big shock with Hamilton in 07. Alonso wants all the spotlights shining on him and not on an upstart co driver.

However, Nelsinho may still come good with practice, as will Heikki (we live in hope!)

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no matter what they do in the back, lewis is still the best. although he needs to stop giving me a heart attack when he wins the world championship. I’m terribly sorry for my english, because, like my screen name suggests, I am a Flying Dutchman.

PS seems like F1’s gone retro… another piquet, another senna… And Hakkinen has returned!

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Piquet Jr. is the luckiest guy on the planet! He’s possibly the worst driver I’ve seen in F1 (apart from Yuji Ide)! The only useful thing he’s done all year is crash in Singapore & let his team mate win!

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Piquet looks very lazy than Nelson and so i become bored during this

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