Alonso would be champion in 2012 Sauber – Piquet jr

Fernando Alonso’s former teammate thinks the Spaniard could have been this year’s world champion at the wheel of a Sauber.

Nelson Piquet jr, who was Alonso’s teammate at Renault in 2008 and 2009, thinks the 2012 Ferrari has been outclassed by the likes of Lotus and Sauber this season.

“The Ferrari is worse than those two, but sometimes a miracle is done because of Alonso. I think if he was in a Sauber or Lotus he would be world champion easily,” the Brazilian, who switched to Nascar after the 2009 ‘crashgate’ scandal, told Jovem Pan radio.

“I see those cars (Lotus and Sauber) in the front sometimes, but there is always the question: is it the car or the driver?” added Piquet, now 27.

The Brazilian looks back at his F1 career with some sadness, but insisted: “Alonso was not guilty of anything. It was great to have a teammate of his level.

“Before, when I was testing with Fisichella and Kovalainen, I could go at the same pace, but when I started to be with Alonso, I was suddenly half a second slower. Alonso made me work like crazy to find that there was more in me.”

Of F1’s next generation after him, Piquet said: “The two at Force India look good, and those at Toro Rosso seem better than Buemi and Alguersuari.”

Commenting on some others on today’s grid, he continued: “Maldonado has always been fast but makes many mistakes.

“Perez has done a few good races, but we don’t know if that’s just because of the car. I think Button will be better than him at McLaren.”


Piquet Jr camp clarifies Senna comments

Nelson Piquet Jr has denied reports he doubts the great Ayrton Senna would have succeeded in F1 today.

The former Renault driver’s spokesman Luis Ferrari said there is “absolutely no way” the Brazilian said his countryman Senna would not have won races in today’s cars. And 27-year-old Piquet Jr, who has raced in the world of Nascar since leaving F1 in 2009, blamed the controversy on some careless “members of the Brazilian media”.

In his column for Brazil’s Yahoo Esportes, the son of triple world champion Nelson Piquet said journalists also took his comments about Brazilian legend Emerson Fittipaldi out of context.

“(I) explained that after the end of his racing career, he (Piquet’s father) chose the entrepreneurial path rather than others who continue to explore their public persona,” said Piquet Jr. “I gave Emerson Fittipaldi as an example. Nowhere did I say that one is better or worse than the other,” he insisted.

“Along the same lines, they (journalists) made another attempt to create controversy where there is not with my statement about Ayrton Senna. I said that if Ayrton had raced ten years earlier he would not have had the success that my father had. They were different times and realities. At the turn of the 70s to the 80s, reliability was much lower and drivers had to have much more of a mechanical side.

“It was no accident that my father developed the tyre heaters, active suspension, improved the turbo engines and worked on several other solutions that everyone knows about.

“Senna came a little later, when it was possible to drive almost all of the time at 100 per cent performance without needing to be a development driver as before. Like me, Ayrton arrived in Europe concerned only about driving. He was a super fast driver and the best one in terms of pure speed.

“But he didn’t have the same repertoire for the mechanical side as did the previous generation, and so didn’t have to worry so much about preserving the gearbox, the engine.It’s obvious: each had its own reflection as the product of his time. Each did what was needed to dominate his era, and each time required different things.

“It’s as simple as that. And not controversial,” Piquet concluded.


Piquet Jr wins first Nascar race

Former F1 driver Nelson Piquet Jr has broken through to win his first race in the world of Nascar.

The now 26-year-old Brazilian switched to the American realm’s secondary Truck and Nationwide classes after leaving formula one in the wake of the ‘crashgate’ scandal. Although not in the premier Sprint Cup category, Piquet has contested Nascar races since 2010 but only broke through for his first win on Saturday from pole position in the Nationwide event at Road America.

“I think the best thing that could come out of this was to show team owners and bosses that I’m capable of doing it, if I just get the right car and the right team,” said Piquet, whose father is the F1 triple world champion.

Also in the race was 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, who collided with Danica Patrick whilst battling for fourth position on the last lap.


Piquet’s F1 future in doubt

Piquet RenaultNelson Piquet Jr has not yet done enough to secure his seat with Renault for 2009, according to the latest paddock whispers.

The Enstone-based outfit are keeping the rookie on his toes and have reportedly delayed a decision to renew his contract until the end of September.

German magazine Auto Motor und Sport claims that Renault extended the option deadline in the Brazilian’s contact into the autumn to coincide with an announcement from Fernando Alonso regarding his future.

Alonso is widely tipped to be Ferrari bound for 2010 at the latest, but rumours suggest the double world champion could be on the look out for an alternative team in the interim. Honda and BMW Sauber have both been muted as possibilities.

Should Alonso decide to leave the French team, Auto Motor und Sport reckons that GP2 star and Renault protege Romain Grosjean would be first in line to replace him.

But 22-year-old Grosjean could still make the move to Renault even if Alonso stays, by taking the place of Piquet, it is claimed.