In a strong statement confirming the cessation of his relationship with the Renault F1 Team, Neslon Piquet has hit back, describing his time with Renault as 'the worst period' of his career coming to an end and also declaring a 'sense of relief' that it has passed.
received notice from the Renault F1 team of its intention to stop me from driving for them in the current F1 season," began Piquet's long statement. "It is obviously with great disappointment that I receive such news. But, at the same time, I feel a sense of relief for the end of the worst period of my career, and the possibility that I can now move on and put my career back on the right track and try to recover my reputation of a fast, winning driver.
"I am a team player and there are dozens of people I have worked with in my career who would vouch for my character and talent, except unfortunately the person that has had the most influence on my career in Formula 1," he added, referring to Renault Team Principal Briatore.
Going on to enumerate the many achievements and titles he gained in go-karts, the South American and British F3 championships, in addition to the GP2 crown lost to Lewis Hamilton, Piquet explained that he and his father signed a management contract with Briatore in order to further his career into Formula One.
"Unfortunately, that was when the black period of my career started," Piquet stated, accusing Briatore of relegating him to the status of 'someone who drives the other car' and often reminding him right before a race to get points or face replacement during his maiden F1 season.
"I have never needed threats before to get results. In 2008 I scored 19 points, finished once on the podium in second place, having the best debut year of a Brazilian driver in F1," Piquet countered.
This year an agreement was reached where equal treatment would be offered, with Piquet having to gain at least 40% of the points accumulated by teammate Fernando Alonso
by the middle of the season.
"Despite driving with Fernando, two-time World Champion and a really excellent driver, I was confident that, if I had the same conditions, I would easily attain the 40% of points required by the contract," Piquet explained. "Unfortunately, the promises didn't turn into reality again.
"With the new car I completed 2002km of testing compared to Fernando's 3839km. Only three days of my testing was in dry weather – only one of Fernando's was wet.
I was only testing with a heavy car, hard tyres, mostly on the first day (when the track is slow and reliability is poor), or when the weather was bad. Fernando was driving a light car with soft tyres in the dry, fine conditions. I never had a chance to be prepared for the qualifying system we use," Piquet claimed.
"Of the first nine races that I ran this year, in four of them Fernando had a significant car upgrade that I did not have," the Brazilian continued. "I was informed by the engineers at Renault that in those races I had a car that was between 0.5 and 0.8s a lap slower than my teammate."
Piquet, although recognising that several people within the Renault team supported his efforts, puts the blame for his failure to shine in Formula One squarely on the shoulders of Flavio Briatore.
"Anyone who knows my history knows that the results I am having in F1 do not match my CV and my ability. The conditions I have had to deal with during the last two years have been very strange to say the least – there are incidents that I can hardly believe occurred myself," he elaborated.
"A manager is supposed to encourage you, support you, and provide you with opportunities. In my case it was the opposite. Flavio Briatore was my executioner."
Piquet continued by indicating that pressure and criticism are not new to him, given the expectations coming from carrying the name of his triple World Champion father.
"Up until now I always met those expectations – surpassed them even," he remarked. "Fortunately, I can now say to those people who supported me through my career that I'm back on the good tracks and considering the options for a new start in my F1 career in a fair and positive way."
The Renault team has yet to officially confirm ousting Nelson Piquet. His replacement is expected to be test driver Romain Grosjean.
It has been previously reported that Nelson Piquet Snr is considering taking over the BMW Sauber team in the wake of the German manufacturer's withdrawal from Formula One at the end of the season.