Friday, 24 July 2009

Piquet admits F1 future in doubt


Renault's Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet admitted he has no idea whether he will see out the remainder of the current Formula 1 season.
The 23-year-old has had 27 races in F1 without recording a win and questions have been raised over how long Renault will stand by him.
"It is not 100% settled for the rest of this season," he said ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
"We've seen several cases of drivers and teams breaking contracts."
Piquet, who has not won a point in his nine races this season, goes into the race in Budapest unsure whether it will be his final F1 appearance.
The situation is further complicated by what Piquet calls a "conflict" reportedly between his father, three-time world champion Nelson Piquet Sr - who is also his manager - and Renault team boss Flavio Briatore.
"There was a bit of a mess at the last race in Germany," added Piquet.
"I knew there was a big chance for me to be here in Budapest, but there was conflict, contracts, and a conflict of egos between a few people.
"It ended up with everything working well, but the problem is these days a contract in F1 doesn't mean much.
"So the only thing I can do is drive, do my best and leave my father to do his job and see what he can do."
Renault's race team manager Steve Nielsen said in June that Piquet would be given time to improve but 10th place at the Bahrain Grand Prix is his best finish this season.
Toro Rosso proved that under-performing drivers are always vulnerable as the season progresses after they sacked Sebastien Bourdais shortly after the German Grand Prix, a move which again drew questions about the security of Piquet's position.
Should the Brazilian by moved out by Renault, one driver being linked with his seat is Romain Grosjean - a driver currently second in the GP2 standings, four points behind Williams reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg.
Piquet, however, shrugged off the speculation and insisted he will not be affected by the pressure in Hungary while pointing to British driver Lewis Hamilton as an example of how to deal with the stress of life in F1.
"I have been facing this kind of situation since last year," stated Piquet.
"It is not something new for me. We are in the top level of motor sport and drivers need to know how to deal with these pressures and that kind of thing.
"If you look at Lewis at the end of his first season, fighting for the championship, that must have been even harder than what I am going through, which is only part of the stress.
"Lewis must have been through much more stress than I am at the moment."

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