Flavio Briatore has added fuel to the fire of speculation surrounding the future of Nelson Piquet Jr at Renault, by hinting he himself could do a better job.
The Renault team boss has never shied away from criticising Piquet, in some cases not entirely fairly. But his latest attack could well signal the end for the young Brazilian, as Briatore said he could not guarantee Piquet’s seat for the next race in Hungary.
“I don’t know,” he told AUTOSPORT when asked if Piquet would be driving alongside Fernando Alonso at the Hungaroring. “Maybe I am in the car myself…”
Piquet has consistently complained that Renault do not give him the same car as Alonso, in terms of technical updates and set-up. Alonso has been cagey about his set-up since 2007, when Lewis Hamilton gave him a run for his money after benefiting from Alonso’s expertise.
The son of three-time world champion Nelson Piquet Sr told Autosprint magazine recently that he definitely felt second-best in the team.
“My contract is complex, with many points agreed only verbally,” he said. “Renault promised me the same conditions as Alonso’s, but I’ve never had them. During the winter I tested for 2,000 kms, while Alonso did 4,000 kms.
“We’ve had insignificant problems, bad luck, that compromised many results, but they forget that at Renault. I understand Briatore being unhappy, but it’s not only my fault. This is a difficult job, I try to keep my head cool, without putting too much pressure on myself.”
But a ray of light for the Brazilian’s fans came in the shape of his Twitter update over the weekend, when he announced that Renault had promised him equality at the next race in Hungary. This crucially suggests that last weekend was not Piquet’s last race for the team.
“The team have promised that me and Fernando will have the same car for the next race,” he wrote.