August 3, 2009

Piquet confirms Renault cut him

Brazilian Formula One race car driver Nelson Piquet confirmed Monday he has been fired from the Renault team.

Piquet said in a statement he attributed his situation to team principal Flavio Briatore. 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 One, Piquet said.

Piquet has failed to earn any world championship standings points since starting his Formula One career with Renault in 2008.

He said receiving his termination notice from Renault caused him great disappointment.

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, he said.

Piquet contends he was not given the same breaks teammate Fernando Alonso has been afforded, including testing time and car updates, and had been threatened repeatedly with replacement if he failed to produce.

Piquet's best performance in 28 races was a second place in last year's German Grand Prix.

Last week, F1 race officials banned both Renault teams from the next race -- the Aug. 23 European Grand Prix in Valencia, Spain -- after the French team let Alonso exit the pits with an improperly secured wheel during the Hungarian Grand Prix.