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Nelson Angelo Piquet.jpg
Nationality Brazil Brazilian
Formula One World Championship career
Active years 20082009
Teams Renault
Races 28
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 1
Career points 19
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First race 2008 Australian Grand Prix
Last race 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix
2009 position 21st (0 pts)
Nelson Piquet, Jr.
Born July 25, 1985 (1985-07-25) (age 24)
Hometown West Germany Heidelberg, West Germany
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series statistics
Truck #, team #1 - Red Horse Racing
First race 2010 NextEra Energy Resources 250 (Daytona)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 1 0

Nelson Ângelo Tamsma Piquet Souto Maior[1] (born July 25, 1985 in Heidelberg, West Germany), also known as Nelson Piquet Junior or Nelsinho Piquet, is a NASCAR driver. He currently drives the #1 Toyota in the Camping World Truck Series for Red Horse Racing. He is the son of three-time Formula One world champion Nelson Piquet, one of Brazil's most successful F1 drivers. In the 2005 and 2006 seasons he raced in the GP2 Series, taking a win in Belgium in 2005 and claiming 2nd place in the series in 2006.[2] He was signed as test driver for Renault Formula One team for the 2007 season, and was promoted to the race team for 2008,[3] before being dropped midway through the 2009 season.[4] After losing his drive, it emerged that he had crashed deliberately at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix to help his team-mate, Fernando Alonso, win the race; the resulting scandal has become one of the most important in the sport's history. For 2010, Nelson will drive in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in the #1 Toyota for Red Horse Racing.

Contents

Personal Details

Piquet's parents separated soon after he was born, and he lived in Monaco with his Dutch mother, Sylvia Tamsma, until he was eight years old. He then moved to live in Brazil with his father. "They kind of swapped me. My mother wanted me to get to know my father, she wanted me to know Brazil and the language, and she realised life in Brazil would be better for a child."[5] Piquet has two sisters, Kelly and Julia, and four brothers, Geraldo, Laszlo, Pedro and Marco. He lived in Brasilia and attended the American School of Brasilia until he was 16 years old, when he decided to pursue his racing career full time.

Before F1

Piquet's racing career started in 1993 in Brazilian karting, where he would stay until 2001 when he moved to Formula Three Sudamericana.[2] His father's wealth enabled him to race for his own team, a practice he continued until he left GP2 Series. He raced in part of the 2001 season there, staying for 2002 winning the championship[6] with four races to go. In 2002 he also raced one race of Brazilian Formula Renault.

In 2003, Piquet moved to the UK where he joined the British Formula Three Championship and formed the Piquet Sports team. He went on to finish the championship in 3rd place with six wins,[6] five podiums and eight pole positions. A test with the Williams Formula One team followed.[6]

In 2004, Piquet won the British Formula Three Championship. He became the youngest driver to have ever won the championship at 19 years and 2 months.[2] He also did further running for Williams.

In 2005, Piquet took part in the A1 Grand Prix for A1 Team Brazil, winning both the Sprint and Main races at the first event of the season at Brands Hatch,[6] as well as scoring a point for the fastest lap. He also drove for the HiTech/Piquet Sports in the GP2 Series, winning his first race at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium, and tested for the BAR-Honda Formula 1 team.[6]

In 2006, Piquet gained second place in the championship to British driver Lewis Hamilton in his second year of GP2.

Formula One (2007 - 2009)

Piquet driving for Renault at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix.
Piquet scored the first points of his F1 career at the 2008 French Grand Prix.
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2007: Renault

During the 2007 season he was the official test and reserve driver for the Renault Formula One team. [7]

2008: Renault

The 2008 season saw Piquet promoted to the Renault Formula One race team to drive alongside returning double World Champion Fernando Alonso.[8] It was reported that he gained preference for the seat over Heikki Kovalainen because Kovalainen was seen as a potential rival to Alonso, and such a challenge to Alonso could damage the team.[9]

The first race of the 2008 season in Australia saw Piquet start 21st and damage his car in a collision on the opening lap, before ultimately retiring on lap 31.[10] This was exactly the same result as his father achieved in his first race at the 1978 German Grand Prix. At the Malaysian Grand Prix he started from 13th on the grid and finished 11th.[11] He started the Bahrain Grand Prix from 14th but retired with a gearbox problem after his second pit stop. Piquet qualified in 10th for the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, taking part in the first top 10 qualifying session of his career.[12] However, his race ended on lap seven after colliding with Sébastien Bourdais in an attempt to overtake. The Turkish Grand Prix saw him qualify 17th[13] and finish the race 15th.[14] His problems were further compounded with a pair of non-finishes, when he crashed out at Monaco after failing to get to grips with the damp conditions,[15] and spun off while chasing team-mate Alonso in Canada, before ultimately retiring on lap 42[16] with brake failure.[17]

Piquet was under increasing pressure from his Renault team over the course of the 2008 season, and there was speculation he would lose his race seat if he did not improve.[18][19][20] Renault did nothing to quell the rumours, publicly urging him to improve after the Turkish Grand Prix[21] and suggesting after Monaco that he lacked confidence.[22] Despite the pressure, the young driver responded well. Piquet scored his first points in F1 with a 7th place finish at the 2008 French Grand Prix passing his twice-World Champion team mate Fernando Alonso in the last few laps. In the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Piquet was at one point laying in fourth place, having passed his team mate who was on old tyres. Piquet aquaplaned and spun out on lap 36 along with several other top runners as the wet conditions reached their worst. A race later, however, at the German Grand Prix, he finished ahead of the Ferrari of Felipe Massa to claim second place to Mclaren's Lewis Hamilton and his first podium finish, after — with a stroke of luck — being the only driver on a one-stop strategy which, with the help of the Safety Car segment, gained him several positions. In Japan however he had his best race of the season, finishing a solid fourth. In the closing laps he was even catching up to Räikkönen and Kubica before making an error.

2009: Renault

Despite rumours that he was on his way out, Renault decided to keep Piquet by signing him to a one year contract.[23] Alonso continued as his teammate hoping to elevate Renault into title contention once again.

Piquet had a disappointing start to the 2009 season, failing to make past the first qualifying session in any of the first three races. His first race, in Australia, ended on lap 24 when he retired with brake failure.[24] He had a better race in Malaysia the following week finishing 13th, two places and only seven seconds behind team-mate Alonso after the race was cut short due to extreme weather. China was another disappointment, however, and after spinning several times and requiring two new nose cones for his car he eventually finished 16th and last, two laps down, in what team manager Flavio Briatore described as a "very, very bad race".[25][26] He had a better race at Bahrain on his way to 10th making up one of the most amounts of places behind Webber, whom he held off at the end of the race. In Spain he had a quiet race but was still disappointing after finishing 12th.

At the 2009 Monaco Grand Prix, Piquet was running 10th in a long train of cars being held up by Sebastian Vettel. Piquet's strategy was such that he could have gained many places when those on earlier stops came in, as he was not due to stop until lap 36. He criticised Sebastien Buemi, after the Toro Rosso driver ran into the back of Piquet's Renault, taking them both out of the race. Piquet said, "I'm very angry because Monaco's a long race and that's why these young drivers need to be careful with what they're doing. I don't know what he was thinking there — we planned a long first stint and, if it wasn't for that fool, I could have ended up in seventh."

Later, at the 2009 German Grand Prix, Piquet out-qualified his team-mate for the first time. However, following the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, he still had not scored any points in the 2009 season. On 3 August 2009 Piquet confirmed that he had been dropped by Renault.[27] He hit out hard at his former manager and team boss Flavio Briatore calling him his 'executioner' and questioning Briatore's general Formula One knowledge. Piquet also said the Renault boss favoured teammate Fernando Alonso.[28] Renault's test and reserve driver Romain Grosjean replaced Piquet for the rest of the season.[29] Along with several other drivers, Piquet was linked to a drive with Ferrari as a replacement for injured Felipe Massa, after stand-in Luca Badoer finished second-to-last at the European Grand Prix.[30] However, Ferrari instead signed Giancarlo Fisichella.

2009 FIA investigation

In August 2009 after Piquet Jr. left the Renault F1 team, allegations surfaced in the media that Piquet Jr. had deliberately crashed his car at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, in order to benefit team-mate Fernando Alonso who went on to win the race.[31][32] At the time, Piquet, Jr. had characterised the crash as a simple mistake. Piquet made statements to the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) that it had been deliberate, and he had been asked by Renault team principal Flavio Briatore and engineer Pat Symonds to stage the crash. In return for his evidence, Piquet Jr. was given immunity by the FIA,[33] and on 4 September 2009 Renault F1 were charged with conspiracy and race fixing, and were due to face the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on 21 September 2009.

On 11 September, Renault and Briatore stated they would initiate a criminal case against Piquet Jr. for making false allegations and blackmail. However, on 16 September, Renault announced they would not contest the charges, and that Briatore and team engineer Pat Symonds had left the team.[34][35]

On 21 September, on conclusion of the FIA hearings, Piquet Jr, who was 22 at the time of the 2008 Singapore GP, said "I bitterly regret my actions to follow the orders I was given... My situation at Renault turned into a nightmare. Having dreamed of being a Formula One driver and having worked so hard to get there, I found myself at the mercy of Mr Briatore. His true character, which had previously only been known to those he had treated like this in the past, is now known. Mr Briatore was my manager as well as the team boss, he had my future in his hands but he cared nothing for it. 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."[36] It is worth noting that "Witness X" who provided a first-hand details of the conspiracy planning, backed up Pat Symonds' claim that the idea for the crash came from Piquet Jr. himself as a way to atone for his poor performance and possibly aid in his ongoing negotiations for a contract extension with the team. [37]

On 15 October 2009 Massa was reported as saying he was "certain" Alonso was involved in crash-gate, adding, "Without a doubt he knew it."[38] Six weeks later it was reported that Alonso turned down Massa's charity kart race invitation.[39]

Piquet Jr. has received criticism from many in the F1 community. BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle suggested that Piquet Jr. was now unemployable in Formula One, saying that no team or sponsor would want to be associated with the Piquet family. Brundle noted that Piquet Jr. "didn't deliver at Renault, he wasn't fast enough, that's why he was released and that's why he has dropped hand grenades into the system ever since". Brundle was also highly critical that Piquet Jr. escaped sanction from the FIA despite admitting to race-fixing, while the others involved were heavily punished. [40][33] Other leading F1 figures have echoed Brundle's sentiments. Toyota team principal John Howett was quoted as saying, "I think on his performance...disregarding the issue, I probably would not give him a drive and I would probably be further influenced in that decision by what took place." Christian Horner, team principal of Red Bull Racing, has added, "I don't think we would have any interest [in Piquet Jr.] at Red Bull Racing."[41]

A few hours after Campos confirmed one of its drivers for 2010, website Planet F1 reported that F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone hinted at the identity of Bruno Senna's teammate. Ecclestone said in the paddock of the new Yas Marina Circuit that he would like to see the sacked Piquet Jr. get another chance in the wake of the Crashgate affair.[42] "It'd be good wouldn't it, another good name," Ecclestone was quoted by the British Daily Telegraph newspaper as saying, "that's what's being talked about actually."[43]

On December 28, 2009, it was reported by Spanish website Motor21.com that Nelson Piquet Jr. had signed a three year contract with the new Campos Meta team alongside Senna.[44] However, this was later revealed by Motor21.com to have been a hoax in celebration of the Spanish Día de los Santos Inocentes festival.[45] Piquet himself hinted that he had talks with Force India.[46] However, they have since opted to retain both Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi so Piquet decided to sign for NASCAR for 2010. [47]

NASCAR (2010-present)

Piquet told Brazilian TV Globo that he will test a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Red Horse Racing from Rockingham Speedway in North Carolina on October 12, 2009. When asked whether the test could take him down the NASCAR route next season, Piquet said it is not the plan.[48] However, he announced that he will race in NASCAR in 2010—albeit without specifying which series—during the following January.[49] Piquet will drive in the Camping World Truck Series with Red Horse Racing[50], and made his stock car debut in the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Daytona International Speedway driving the #6 Toyota for ARCA powerhouse Eddie Sharp Racing. In his first truck race, Piquet was managed to score a 6th place effort, the first Brazilian driver to finish in the top ten in the series history.

Racing record

Career summary

Season Series Team Name Races Poles Wins Points Final Placing
2001 Formula Three Sudamericana Piquet Sports 7 1 1 77 5th
2002 Formula Three Sudamericana Piquet Sports 17 16 13 296 1st
2003 British Formula Three Piquet Sports 23 8 6 231 3rd
Macau Grand Prix  ? 1 0 0 N/A 8th
Masters of Formula Three Piquet Sports 1 1 0 N/A 2nd
F3 Korea Super Prix Hitech Racing 1 0 0 N/A 3rd
2004 British Formula Three Piquet Sports 24 5 6 282 1st
European Formula Three Cup Piquet Sports 1 1 0 N/A 4th
Macau Grand Prix Piquet Sports 1 0 0 N/A 10th
Masters of Formula Three Piquet Sports 1 0 0 N/A 8th
Bahrain F3 Superprix Piquet Sports 1 0 0 N/A NC
Porsche Supercup Porsche AG VIP Team 1 0 0 0 NC
2005 GP2 Series Hitech-Piquet Sports 22 0 1 46 8th
2005-06 A1 Grand Prix Brazil 14 2 2 71 6th
2006 GP2 Series Piquet Sports 21 6 4 102 2nd
Le Mans 24 Hours Russian Age Racing (GT1) 1 0 0 N/A 4th
Mil Milhas Brasil Cirtek Motorsport (GTP1) 1 0 1 N/A 1st
2007 Formula One Renault Test driver
2008 Formula One Renault 18 0 0 19 12th
2009 Formula One Renault 10 0 0 0 21st

Includes points scored by other Team Brazil drivers.

Complete GP2 Series results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 DC Points
2005 Hitech/Piquet Racing SMR
FEA

14
SMR
SPR

6
ESP
FEA

5
ESP
SPR

2
MON
FEA

11
EUR
FEA

5
EUR
SPR

3
FRA
FEA

Ret
FRA
SPR

DSQ
GBR
FEA

Ret
GBR
SPR

Ret
GER
FEA

3
GER
SPR

8
HUN
FEA

Ret
HUN
SPR

10
TUR
FEA

4
TUR
SPR

6
ITA
FEA

3
ITA
SPR

Ret
BEL
FEA

1
BEL
SPR

14
BHR
FEA

Ret
BHR
SPR

15
8th 46
2006 Piquet Sports VAL
FEA

1
VAL
SPR

4
SMR
FEA

5
SMR
SPR

2
EUR
FEA

Ret
EUR
SPR

19
ESP
FEA

4
ESP
SPR

2
MON
FEA

Ret
GBR
FEA

4
GBR
SPR

5
FRA
FEA

4
FRA
SPR

2
GER
FEA

13
GER
SPR

DNS
HUN
FEA

1
HUN
SPR

1
TUR
FEA

1
TUR
SPR

5
ITA
FEA

2
ITA
SPR

6
2nd 102

Complete A1 Grand Prix results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 DC Points
2005–06 Brazil GBR
SPR

1
GBR
FEA

1
GER
SPR

3
GER
FEA

Ret
POR
SPR

2
POR
FEA

8
AUS
SPR

3
AUS
FEA

9
MYS
SPR

4
MYS
FEA

10
UAE
SPR

Ret
UAE
FEA

Ret
RSA
SPR

Ret
RSA
FEA

9
IDN
SPR

IDN
FEA

MEX
SPR

MEX
FEA

USA
SPR

USA
FEA

CHN
SPR

CHN
FEA

6th 71

Complete Formula One results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 WDC Points
2008 ING Renault F1 Team Renault R28 Renault RS27 2.4 V8 AUS
Ret
MAL
11
BHR
Ret
ESP
Ret
TUR
15
MON
Ret
CAN
Ret
FRA
7
GBR
Ret
GER
2
HUN
6
EUR
11
BEL
Ret
ITA
10
SIN
Ret
JPN
4
CHN
8
BRA
Ret
12th 19
2009 ING Renault F1 Team Renault R29 Renault RS27 2.4 V8 AUS
Ret
MAL
13
CHN
16
BHR
10
ESP
12
MON
Ret
TUR
16
GBR
12
GER
13
HUN
12
EUR BEL ITA SIN JPN BRA ABU 21st 0

References

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  41. ^ "Little support for Nelson Piquet". F1-Live.com. 2009-10-02. http://en.f1-live.com/f1/en/headlines/news/detail/091002121925.shtml. Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  42. ^ "Bernie welcomes the return of the Senna name". planet-f1.com. 2009-10-31. http://www.planet-f1.com/story/0,18954,3213_5663522,00.html. Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  43. ^ "Ayrton Senna's nephew Bruno to drive for Formula One newcomers Campos Meta". planet-f1.com. 2009-10-31. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/motorsport/formulaone/f1news/6473042/Ayrton-Sennas-nephew-Bruno-to-drive-for-Formula-One-newcomers-Campos-Meta.html. Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  44. ^ "Piquet money to give Jr a second chance?". crash.net. 2009-12-29. http://www.crash.net/f1/news/155608/1/piquet_money_to_give_jr_a_second_chance.html. Retrieved 2009-12-29. 
  45. ^ "Website admits Piquet story was hoax". www.motorsport.com. http://www.motorsport.com/news/article.asp?ID=354201. Retrieved 2009-12-30. 
  46. ^ "Nelson hints at Force India talks". Autosport.com. http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/80168. Retrieved 2009-12-30. 
  47. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8454905.stm
  48. ^ http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/79320
  49. ^ Elizalde, Pablo (2010-01-12). "Piquet moves to NASCAR for 2010". autosport.com. Haymarket Publications. http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/80819. Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  50. ^ http://insiderracingnews.com/Daily/2010/Feb/020810.html

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Robbie Kerr
Autosport
National Racing Driver of the Year

2003
Succeeded by
James Thompson
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Juliano Moro
Formula Three Sudamericana Champion
2002
Succeeded by
Danilo Dirani
Preceded by
Alan van der Merwe
British Formula Three Champion
2004
Succeeded by
Álvaro Parente

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