Nelson Piquet, Jr

Nelson Piquet, Jr.
Born (1985-07-25) July 25, 1985 (age 29)
Heidelberg, West Germany
Achievements 2002 Formula Three Sudamericana Champion
2004 British Formula Three Champion
Awards 2003 Autosport National Racing Driver of the Year
Statistics current as of October 11, 2013.
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality Brazil Brazilian
Active years 20082009
Teams Renault
Races 28
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 1
Career points 19
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First race 2008 Australian Grand Prix
Last race 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix

Nelson Ângelo Tamsma Piquet Souto Maior[1] (born July 25, 1985 in Heidelberg, West Germany), also known as Nelson Piquet Junior or Nelsinho Piquet, is a Brazilian stock car racing driver and former Formula 1 driver. He currently drives the No. 30 Qualcomm/Autotrac Chevrolet Camaro for Turner Scott Motorsports in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.[2]

Piquet is the son of three-time Formula One world champion Nelson Piquet, one of Brazil's most successful F1 drivers. In the 2005 and 2006 seasons he raced in the GP2 Series, taking a win in Belgium in 2005 and claiming 2nd place in the series in 2006.[3]

He was signed as test driver for Renault Formula One team for the 2007 season, and was promoted to the race team for 2008,[4] before being dropped midway through the 2009 season.[5] After losing his drive, it emerged that he had, under instruction from senior members of the team, crashed deliberately at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix to help his teammate, Fernando Alonso, win the race; the resulting scandal became one of the most significant in the sport's history.

Personal details

Piquet's parents separated soon after he was born, and he lived in Monaco with his Dutch mother, Sylvia Tamsma, until he was eight years old. He then moved to live in Brazil with his father. "They kind of swapped me. My mother wanted me to get to know my father, she wanted me to know Brazil and the language, and she realized life in Brazil would be better for a child."[6] Piquet has two sisters, Kelly and Julia, and four brothers, Geraldo, Laszlo, Pedro and Marco. He lived in Brasília and attended the American School of Brasília until he was 16 years old, when he decided to pursue his racing career full-time.

Before F1

Piquet's racing career started in 1993 in Brazilian karting, where he would stay until 2001 when he moved to Formula Three Sudamericana.[3] His father's wealth enabled him to race for his own team, a practice he continued until he left GP2 Series. He raced in part of the 2001 season there, staying for 2002 winning the championship[7] with four races to go. In 2002 he also raced one race of Brazilian Formula Renault.

In 2003, Piquet moved to the UK where he joined the British Formula Three Championship and formed the Piquet Sports team. He went on to finish the championship in 3rd place with six wins,[7] five podiums and eight pole positions. A test with the Williams Formula One team followed.[7]

In 2004, Piquet won the British Formula Three Championship. He became the youngest driver to have ever won the championship at 19 years and 2 months.[3] He also did further running for Williams.

In 2005, Piquet took part in the A1 Grand Prix for A1 Team Brazil, winning both the Sprint and Main races at the first event of the season at Brands Hatch,[7] as well as scoring a point for the fastest lap. He also drove for the HiTech/Piquet Sports in the GP2 Series, winning his first race at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium, and tested for the BAR-Honda Formula 1 team.[7]

In 2006, Piquet gained second place in the championship to British driver Lewis Hamilton in his second year of GP2.

Formula One (2007 – 2009)


During the 2007 season he was the official test and reserve driver for the Renault Formula One team.[8]


The 2008 season saw Piquet promoted to the Renault Formula One race team to drive alongside returning double World Champion Fernando Alonso.[9] It was reported that he gained preference for the seat over Heikki Kovalainen because Kovalainen was seen as a potential rival to Alonso, and such a challenge to Alonso could damage the team.[10]

The first race of the 2008 season in Australia saw Piquet start 21st and damage his car in a collision on the opening lap, before ultimately retiring on lap 31.[11] This was exactly the same result as his father achieved in his first race at the 1978 German Grand Prix. At the Malaysian Grand Prix he started from 13th on the grid and finished 11th.[12] He started the Bahrain Grand Prix from 14th but retired with a gearbox problem after his second pit stop. Piquet qualified in 10th for the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, taking part in the first top 10 qualifying session of his career.[13] However, his race ended on lap seven after colliding with Sébastien Bourdais in an attempt to overtake. The Turkish Grand Prix saw him qualify 17th[14] and finish the race 15th.[15] His problems were further compounded with a pair of non-finishes, when he crashed out at Monaco after failing to get to grips with the damp conditions,[16] and spun off while chasing team-mate Alonso in Canada, before ultimately retiring on lap 42[17] with brake failure.[18]

Piquet was under increasing pressure from his Renault team over the course of the 2008 season, and there was speculation he would lose his race seat if he did not improve.[19][20][21] Renault did nothing to quell the rumours, publicly urging him to improve after the Turkish Grand Prix[22] and suggesting after Monaco that he lacked confidence.[23] Despite the pressure, the young driver responded well. Piquet scored his first points in F1 with a 7th place finish at the 2008 French Grand Prix passing his twice-World Champion team mate Fernando Alonso in the last few laps. In the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Piquet was at one point laying in fourth place, having passed his team mate who was on old tyres. Piquet aquaplaned and spun out on lap 36 along with several other top runners as the wet conditions reached their worst. A race later, however, at the German Grand Prix, he finished ahead of the Ferrari of Felipe Massa to claim second place to Mclaren's Lewis Hamilton and his first podium finish, after — with a stroke of luck — being the only driver on a one-stop strategy which, with the help of the Safety Car segment, gained him several positions. In Japan however he had his best race of the season, finishing a solid fourth. In the closing laps he was even catching up to Räikkönen and Kubica before making an error.


Despite rumours that he was on his way out, Renault decided to keep Piquet by signing him to a one-year contract.[24] Alonso continued as his teammate hoping to elevate Renault into title contention once again.

Piquet had a disappointing start to the 2009 season, failing to make past the first qualifying session in any of the first three races. His first race, in Australia, ended on lap 24 when he retired with brake failure.[25] He had a better race in Malaysia the following week finishing 13th, two places and only seven seconds behind team-mate Alonso after the race was cut short due to extreme weather. China was another disappointment, however, and after spinning several times and requiring two new nose cones for his car he eventually finished 16th and last, two laps down, in what team manager Flavio Briatore described as a "very, very bad race".[26][27] He had a better race at Bahrain on his way to 10th making up one of the most amount of places behind Webber, whom he held off at the end of the race. In Spain he had a quiet race but was still disappointing after finishing 12th.

At the 2009 Monaco Grand Prix, Piquet was running 10th in a long train of cars being held up by Sebastian Vettel. Piquet's strategy was such that he could have gained many places when those on earlier stops came in, as he was not due to stop until lap 36. He criticised Sébastien Buemi, after the Toro Rosso driver ran into the back of Piquet's Renault, taking them both out of the race. Piquet said, "I'm very angry because Monaco's a long race and that's why these young drivers need to be careful with what they're doing. I don't know what he was thinking there — we planned a long first stint and, if it wasn't for that fool, I could have ended up in seventh."

Later, at the 2009 German Grand Prix, Piquet out-qualified his team-mate for the first time. However, following the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, he still had not scored any points in the 2009 season. On 3 August 2009 Piquet confirmed that he had been dropped by Renault.[28] He hit out hard at his former manager and team boss Flavio Briatore calling him his 'executioner' and questioning Briatore's general Formula One knowledge. Piquet also said the Renault boss favoured teammate Fernando Alonso.[29] Renault's test and reserve driver Romain Grosjean replaced Piquet for the rest of the season.[30] Along with several other drivers, Piquet was linked to a drive with Ferrari as a replacement for injured Felipe Massa, after stand-in Luca Badoer finished second-to-last at the European Grand Prix.[31] However, Ferrari instead signed Giancarlo Fisichella.

2009 FIA investigation

In August 2009, after Piquet Jr. left the Renault F1 team, allegations surfaced that Piquet Jr. had deliberately crashed his car at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, in order to benefit team-mate Fernando Alonso, who went on to win the race.[32][33] At the time, Piquet, Jr. had characterised the crash as a simple mistake. Piquet made statements to the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) that it had been deliberate, and he had been asked by Renault team principal Flavio Briatore and engineer Pat Symonds to stage the crash. In return for his evidence, Piquet Jr. was given immunity by the FIA,[34] and on 4 September 2009, Renault F1 were charged with conspiracy and race fixing, and were due to face the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on 21 September 2009.

On 11 September, Renault and Briatore stated they would initiate a criminal case against Piquet Jr. for making false allegations and blackmail. However, on 16 September, Renault announced they would not contest the charges, and that both Briatore and Symonds had left the team.[35][36]

On 21 September, on conclusion of the FIA hearings, Piquet Jr, who was 23 at the time of the 2008 Singapore GP, said "I bitterly regret my actions to follow the orders I was given... My situation at Renault turned into a nightmare. Having dreamed of being a Formula One driver and having worked so hard to get there, I found myself at the mercy of Mr Briatore. His true character, which had previously only been known to those he had treated like this in the past, is now known. Mr Briatore was my manager as well as the team boss, he had my future in his hands but he cared nothing for it. By the time of the Singapore GP he had isolated me and driven me to the lowest point I had ever reached in my life. Now that I am out of that situation I cannot believe that I agreed to the plan, but when it was put to me I felt that I was in no position to refuse."[37] Renault accused Piquet of 'false allegations' and even produced an anonymous "Witness X" who supposedly provided first-hand details of the conspiracy planning, which backed up Pat Symonds' claim that the idea for the crash came from Piquet Jr. himself as a way to atone for poor performance and aid in his negotiations for a contract extension with the team.[38]

However, in December 2010, the Piquets won a libel case in the High Court against Renault. Renault apologised to Piquet for defaming him and paid substantial damages. The Piquets' lawyer said "They were both treated appallingly by Renault F1 when they dared to reveal the scandal to the governing body... F1 has been deprived of the best of Nelsinho and it is to [F1's] detriment that his talent is now being demonstrated elsewhere." Renault issued an apology in response to the High Court decision: "The team accepts that the allegations made by Nelson Piquet Jr were not false. "It also accepts that Piquet Jr and his father did not invent these allegations in order to blackmail the team."[39]

On 15 October 2009, Massa was reported as saying he was "certain" Alonso was involved in the scandal, adding, "Without a doubt he knew it."[40] Six weeks later, it was reported that Alonso turned down Massa's charity kart race invitation.[41]

A few hours after Campos confirmed one of its drivers for 2010, website

On December 28, 2009, it was reported by Spanish website

NASCAR (2010–present)

Piquet told Brazilian Rede Globo that he would test a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Red Horse Racing from Rockingham Speedway in North Carolina on October 12, 2009. When asked whether the test could take him down the NASCAR route next season, Piquet said it is not the plan.[49] However, he announced that he will race in NASCAR in 2010—albeit without specifying which series—during the following January.[50] Piquet drives in the Camping World Truck Series with Red Horse Racing,[51] and made his stock car debut in the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Daytona International Speedway driving the #6 Toyota for ARCA powerhouse Eddie Sharp Racing. In his first truck race, Piquet was managed to score a 6th place effort, the first Brazilian driver to finish in the top ten in the series' history. Piquet then announced that he would be competing in three races for Billy Ballew Motorsports driving the #15 truck. The three race deal will start on May 21 at Charlotte Motor Speedway his first race for the team. He will then compete at Texas Motor Speedway and Michigan International Speedway, with the possibility of getting more races.[52] In August, he competed in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the Watkins Glen International road course and finished seventh in his first start in the series.[53] On December 13, 2010, Kevin Harvick, Inc. announced that Piquet would drive a third truck for the team for the full 2011 Truck series season, the #8 Chevrolet with Chris Carrier as crew chief.[2] Piquet ran well during his first season, especially on 1.5 mile tracks, finishing 10th in points as well as being a finalist for Most Popular Driver and runner-up to Joey Coulter for Rookie of the Year.

Piquet signed with Turner Motorsports for 2012 after KHI folded. He drove the full season in Trucks and part-time in the Nationwide Series in 2012. He will drive the No. 30 Chevrolet in the Camping World Truck Series.[54]

Piquet scored his first win in a NASCAR-sanctioned series in March at Bristol Motor Speedway, winning his first-ever K&N Pro Series East start.[55]

On June 23, 2012, Piquet scored his first win in NASCAR competition, winning the Nationwide Series Sargento 200 at Road America; he was the first Brazilian driver to win a NASCAR national touring series event.[56]

On August 18, 2012, Piquet won his first race in the Camping World Truck Series at Michigan. On lap 56 of the race he spun out racing Kurt Busch after a restart. The team pitted under the caution and it allowed them to use fuel strategy later in the race to obtain their first win of the season.[57] On September 29, 2012, Piquet won his second career Camping World Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.[58]

In 2013, Piquet moved to full-time competition in the Nationwide Series, driving the No. 30 for Turner Scott Motorsports in a bid for Rookie of the Year.[59]

Late in the 2013 season, Piquet was fined $10,000 by NASCAR and placed on probation until the end of the season for insensitive remarks made over social media.[60]

Racing record

Career summary

Season Series Team Name Races Poles Wins Points Final Placing
2001 Formula Three Sudamericana Piquet Sports 7 1 1 77 5th
2002 Formula Three Sudamericana Piquet Sports 17 16 13 296 1st
2003 British Formula Three Piquet Sports 23 8 6 231 3rd
Macau Grand Prix  ? 1 0 0 N/A 8th
Masters of Formula Three Piquet Sports 1 1 0 N/A 2nd
F3 Korea Super Prix Hitech Racing 1 0 0 N/A 3rd
2004 British Formula Three Piquet Sports 24 5 6 282 1st
European Formula Three Cup Piquet Sports 1 1 0 N/A 4th
Macau Grand Prix Piquet Sports 1 0 0 N/A 10th
Masters of Formula Three Piquet Sports 1 0 0 N/A 8th
Bahrain F3 Superprix Piquet Sports 1 0 0 N/A NC
Porsche Supercup Porsche AG VIP Team 1 0 0 0 NC
2005 GP2 Series Hitech-Piquet Sports 22 0 1 46 8th
2005–06 A1 Grand Prix Brazil 14 2 2 71 6th
2006 GP2 Series Piquet Sports 21 6 4 102 2nd
Le Mans 24 Hours Russian Age Racing (GT1) 1 0 0 N/A 4th
Mil Milhas Brasil Cirtek Motorsport (GTP1) 1 0 1 N/A 1st
2007 Formula One ING Renault F1 Team Test driver
2008 Formula One ING Renault F1 Team 18 0 0 19 12th
2009 Formula One ING Renault F1 Team 10 0 0 0 21st
2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series Baker Curb Racing 1 0 0 146 102nd
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Red Horse Racing/Billy Ballew Motorsports 5 0 0 644 44th
ARCA Racing Series Eddie Sharp Racing 3 1 0 450 50th
Copa Chevrolet Montana M4T Motorsport 1 0 0 N/A NC
2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kevin Harvick Incorporated 25 0 0 752 10th
NASCAR Nationwide Series Turner Motorsports 1 0 0 N/A 124th
2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Turner Motorsports 22 3 2 747 7th
NASCAR Nationwide Series Turner Motorsports 2 1 1 N/A 104th

Includes points scored by other Team Brazil drivers.

Complete GP2 Series results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Complete A1 Grand Prix results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Complete Formula One results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)


(key) (Bold - Pole position awarded by time. Italics - Pole position earned by points standings. * – Most laps led.)

Nationwide Series

Camping World Truck Series

* Season in progress.
1 Ineligible for series championship points.


External links

  • Nelson Piquet, Jr. at Driver Database
  • Internet Movie Database
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Juliano Moro
Formula Three Sudamericana Champion
Succeeded by
Danilo Dirani
Preceded by
Alan van der Merwe
British Formula Three Champion
Succeeded by
Álvaro Parente
Preceded by
Robbie Kerr
Autosport National Racing Driver of the Year
Succeeded by
James Thompson
Preceded by
Austin Dillon
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Most Popular Driver
Succeeded by
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