'Ego bigger than anything else' - Piquet on Briatore
13 August 2009 – Nelsinho Piquet has stressed in firm fashion his version of recent events, which saw him label Renault team principal Flavio Briatore as his 'executioner' before departing the French squad after the Hungarian Grand Prix. The Brazilian, who is currently out of the sport, has criticised the Italian's general knowledge of Formula One.
With Piquet, 2006 GP2 championship runner-up to Lewis Hamilton, having announced his departure from Renault in dramatic fashion by releasing a strong statement, he emphasised his opinions to Autosport. "He is ignorant about Formula One," Piquet said of the Italian. "Maybe, because of all the things that didn't favour me, he put me so low that he just didn't care. He didn't understand what is going on with the team.
"If you listen to the pit wall radio, it's like a joke; he hasn't got a clue what is happening in the race - sometimes he asks if a driver has slick or wet tyres when it is obvious." In Hungary, with the other Renault of Fernando Alonso out of the race in the early stages, television viewers were greeted by shots of Briatore leaving the circuit as Piquet continued in the race.
"Everyone knows that his ego is bigger than anything else," the 24-year-old Brazilian continued. "He likes to show off. You can be a very good businessman and whatever, but the F1 team itself can do very well without him. When I first started he would attend all of the meetings and briefings, but taking away the business side, he makes comments that don't make any sense.
"The only good thing the team takes out of him is his good relationship with Bernie (Ecclestone, F1 commercial rights holder) and the FIA (governing body of the sport). Other than that, he doesn't know what is going on. It's like listening to something my sister would say about the car. Pat Symonds is the guy who really understands what is going on with the team."
Piquet added that others who find themselves in a similar position should also speak out: "We're free to say whatever we feel like and I don't see why more drivers don't do that. It was important for everyone to know what has been going on and not to hide, like a lot of other drivers tend to do, because they are scared that it could put their career in danger."