''I have finally made it''
After a year testing with the Renault team, Nelson Piquet gets his break and will racealongside Fernando Alonso
next year. The former F3 champion is aiming to grasp the chance with both hands.
Nelsinho, what are your feelings following the
announcement you will be an F1 driver with the ING Renault F1 Team in 2008?
"It’s hard to put into words. People don’t see that behind every young driver, there are a lot of years of hard work, dedication and focus to make it to Formula 1. I have dreamed of competing in Formula 1 since I was small, and I have finally made it. It is the start of a new phase, and I can’t wait for the season to begin."
How important has your father been in your getting this drive?
"It would be unfair to all the people who have supported me throughout my career to say that my success is down to one person. My father has been, and will be, a great reference point for me and his support was crucial to the early stages of my career, all the way to GP2 Series. But to get into Formula 1, you need much more than a famous surname. Renault have given me the chance to race for them, and that is because I have the talent and potential to do so. The team knows how we perform in the tests, what configuration the car is in, and our character. That is what counts in Formula 1."
Your father is a three-time world champion. How will you handle the inevitable comparisons?
"Ever since I started racing, I have felt the pressure of being Nelson Piquet’s son.
My father is a legend in the sport, and that makes me very proud, just like it does for his many fans around the world. If I am here today, it is because I have the talent and have worked hard, with the right motivation, to become an F1 driver. Now, I hope to give people plenty of reasons to be proud of me."
Is it a good opportunity for you to start your F1 career with ING Renault F1 Team?
"Probably the best one! ING Renault F1 Team is a top team, they won two world championships and are determined to get back on top. After one year with the team as a third driver, I know everybody and feel very comfortable in the team, I know the way they work and it’s probably the best way for me to start racing in Formula One."
What can we expect from your first season as an F1 driver?
"Throughout my career, I have been very focused on achieving the best possible results – and that’s how I intend to approach Formula 1 as well. I am confident that I can reward the faith Renault has placed in me by being clear-headed about the car’s potential at each race, and working hard. I go to every race aiming for the best possible result, but with my feet firmly on the ground."