Frantic F1 ~ The Renault Saga, thanks for nothing JR.

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Frantic F1

“It’s a nice touch. Nelson Piquet’s T-shirt has the words “We’re back!” emblazoned on the front of his and his father triple world champion Nelson Piquet Sr… But the message doesn’t end there. On the back of the T-Shirt there is a cartoon of the 22 year old relieving himself on the cockpits of Kimi Raikkonens Ferrari and Lewis Hamiltons Mclaren…”

Oh yes full of attitude. Above are the opening lines to what I would read of Piquet Jr’s first article as a confirmed F1 driver in a motor racing magazine 2008 preview. It was a convincing article too. After all it pointed out that this next generation driver had out-qualified Lewis Hamilton and thought of as the faster driver of the two in the series. Lewis Hamilton? Faster than the 2007 rookie god? The Lewis Hamilton that had been quick enough to seriously rattle double world champion Fernando Alonso? Holy monkey this guy is going to be awesome and he has had plenty of testing so this guy should give Alonso a hard time so much for Alonso getting a slower team mate keep him happy, watch out Fernando!!!

Trouble is, well, didn’t work out like that at all did it? And as I sit here at 6am Sunday morning of the Singapore race weekend I am annoyed. The whole Crash-gate issue in my mind never needed surface at all. It didn’t need to be dragged up at all. Flavio and Pat Symmonds could still have there jobs Renault could still have ING written all over it and 700 odd Renault workers could have had an easier few weeks trying to sleep and not worrying if they needed to start looking in the classified section for F1 jobs. What I hear you cry? Are you mad? Well no im more tired and cant sleep but let me explain…

You see for me now the main problem is not that he crashed and yes before you start sending me hate mail I do not condone the actions of the trio involved. Infact I like a lot of people are saddened and angry about it. When this scandal first broke I jokingly made the comment of well that’s crafty tactics but they worked! The sarcasm didn’t work in the forum trust me. Yet I really didn’t think this was true. It couldn’t be could it? And how on earth could it be proved?

Lets first off look at what Nelson Piquet JR has said why he did it. He was told that he would keep his seat in 2009 at Renault. So that may seem like a tempting offer yes and under the pressure it’s a reason to do it. No. At the point of this plan had been laid out Piquet Jr. was known as a crasher. His career was already on shaky enough ground to be put into that position in the first place. The attitude was still there no doubt despite the lack of results he sounded off saying that it was just Nelson Piquet. No junior and that he would respond to reporters that called him Piquet Jr. Your birth certificate may contradict that Jr…

I digress though. Now I guess that it’s a mindset of a driver to believe he is the best and he can win in F1 that’s what keeps them going. But did Nelson not think that the fact he was being asked to do this made his Renault future pretty much over as far as team leader was concerned. He was still out qualified by Alonso anyway that weekend even though Alonso has stopped with fuel problems. Of course he wasn’t totally finished as a driver. After all looking back to the summer he had stood a proud 2nd on the podium in Germany after he pitted for his only stop whilst the rest of the field were 2 stopping just as Timo Glocks suspension failed bringing out the safety car and propelling him to the head of the field. He was only passed by an unstoppable Hamilton that day and held off Ferrari’s Felipe Massa whilst Alonso seem to loose it a little spinning and dropping down the order. When it was going right for Jr maybe yes he could do it, he could take it to Alonso, but those days were few and far between. He also managed to pass Alonso in France towards the end but after that it was still Alonso’s team and he had Jr well under control.

But was that podium in Germany the beginning of the whole saga that we have now? A perfectly timed pit stop then a safety car giving a great result? Its still a bone of contention between Nelson and Pat Symonnds who came up with the idea but whatever the case they had personally seen how effective it was and whoever did come up with it the fact being was that it was still done. It makes the fact Jr. escaped any punishment from this very sad indeed.

For me I find that if anything Nelson Piquet Jr. should actually have been punished the hardest out of all three, Why? Lets be honest here. If for a second Jr really felt bad about the whole thing then he would A) Come out about the accident straight away not left it 12 months before saying anything or B) Not done it in the first place.

Ok so ill start with option A. This was nothing but the Piquet’s to get revenge on Flavio pure and simple. Now that is fine if its between those two but it wasn’t. It dragged F1 down with it. It also endangered the jobs of 700 Renault workers because of the fear that the whole affair could see Renault pulling out of F1. If Nelson had cared why wait until now? Oh yes because he had just been booted out of a drive, he can argue all he wants about not getting equal equipment to Alonso but that may account for a tenth or two but it does not account for the amount of accidents or spins. It does not account for the year and a half he only out qualified Alonso once. You can tell if a driver has it after the amount of races he had done or at least if they will be a points scorer rather than a regular race winner. Piquet was not so he deserved to loose his drive. It now looks like the only reason he kept it in the first place was because of this but obviously there were other catches in his new deal, like scoring points.

So with him out of a drive he wanted to get back at Flavio. Now he could of tried to get a seat at one of the many teams that will be on the grid next year and proved that it was Renault not him that was the problem. Instead he went and did this, got himself immunity and waged his war on Flavio in public. What’s worse about this is the perception it has given F1. Several of my friends have told me how they wont bother to watch “fixed racing” One even said to me I am “best off following a new sport”. This has done F1 no good at all and the Renault team getting off so lightly has put off the people they have been trying to attract. The casual fan. Its put a lot of hardcore fans on the limit as well its not the first scandal we have had lately and people are sick of it.

Option B of not sticking it into the wall opens up a whole new argument as well. He defiantly could of said no and what’s more the excuse of “he was young and under pressure…” it does not wash. This is formula 1 he is driving at the top series with serious machinery and serious consequences. It’s the same when Liegate happened and people tried to say Lewis was young and in a difficult position for his age. Well im sorry then we really need to look at how young we should allow drivers into F1 and decide what age they are accountable for there own actions. Like I say this is F1 not karting. He’s in the big league now so start acting like a man. He kept his foot down as the backend went knowing the consequences he is guilty.

So now Piquet has got what he wanted. But was the cost worth it? Yes all three should not of done what they did but the end result? With Flavio banned it will be harder for drivers in the future to make it/. Like him or not Flavio has helped many drivers up the ladder into F1, Kovalainen, Alonso and Webber are just a few of the ones in F1 now that owe him a lot. Now Flavio is totally banned you have to wonder what will happen to his drivers that have not made it yet. The results can not be changed as Jr. left it a year to say anything so nothing can be done about Alonso’s “fixed win”. On top of that F1 now looks bad in the eyes of many people thanks to Renault getting off so lightly. The casual fan is confused as to why they did and the dedicated fan is annoyed at the inconsistencies of the FIA if you compare it to the Spygate scandal. Whilst its wrong to cheat and do what was done the damage to F1 and the aftermath was not worth one spoilt drivers revenge against a manager. It would have been better if he had just never said anything at all. Instead of “relieving himself on the cockpits of Raikkonen and Hamilton” he has done that to his own career and F1. Good Bye Jr im sure there’s a banger racing track that will have you somewhere.

On a lighter note from now on I will try to stick in little videos for articles only they will be a few minutes long just a short sketch poking fun at things in the motor racing world. So here is the first and I thought it would be best to dedicate this to Nelson Piquet Jr. after all he helped write it….


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