|First race||Australian Grand Prix||Albert Park||March 16, 2008||Race results|
|Last race||Hungarian Grand Prix||Hungaroring||July 26, 2009||Race results|
One decision will taint Nelson Piquet Jnr's racing career forever. His part in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix Crashgate scandal will probably never be forgotten by most members of the paddock or the public.
His path to the top flight was dotted with success but ultimately oiled by his father's wealth. He was champion in South American Formula 3 and British Formula 3 but in both instances he was racing for a team specifically set up for him, Piquet Sports. In GP2 he received the same treatment and after a few promising results in 2005, he showed his potential finishing a close runner-up to Lewis Hamilton in 2006.
Extensive testing for Renault followed as Flavio Briatore, his manager at the time, paved the way to a full race seat in 2008. He immediately struggled though, retiring from five of his first seven races and failing to score a point. The breakthrough came in France when he finished seventh, beating his team mate Fernando Alonso along the way. Second place from 17th on the grid at Hockenheim soon followed and the perception of Piquet began to change.
Then came lap 14 of the Singapore Grand Prix when he appeared to lose the rear of his Renault and slammed into the trackside wall. The accident led to a safety car which worked to the advantage of his team mate Fernando Alonso, who went on to win the race. A random coincidence? Apparently not.
A terrible season then followed in 2009 and by the tenth round he was fired by Renault. With his father, he went immediately to the FIA and revealed he had crashed on purpose in Singapore the previous year, having been told to do so by his team. He exacted his revenge on his old boss Briatore, who was given an indefinite ban from motorsport, but in doing so, destroyed his reputation in the paddock. He is now in the process of rebuilding his career having admitted that he was in the wrong.
Strengths and Weaknesses
In lower series he could be consistently quick in the right car. He struggled to do so in Formula One and suffered from a lack of confidence in the shadow of Alonso.
Finishing on the podium at the 2007 German Grand Prix.
Agreeing to crash in Singapore, implicating himself in one of the sport's biggest ever scandals.
"I skipped class a lot, plagiarised a fair bit of my homework and cheated on tests. But nothing major, I never hit a teacher or anything."
"I like to spend. When I need to relax I indulge in retail therapy, it helps to calm me down. I started out spending money on bottles of vodka for friends and girls, and now I spend all my cash on clothes."
At the start of the 2008 season he took delivery of a private jet (a Cessna Citation Mustang) to get to and from races.
Laurence Edmondson November 2009
Da Costa claims thrilling maiden victory (January 10, 2015)
Di Grassi wins inaugural race after last corner drama (September 13, 2014)
Keep it in the family (January 7, 2013)
Taking one for the team (July 20, 2011)
- Within a thousandth of a second (May 6, 2011)
June 12, 2010
© Getty Images
June 4, 2009
© Sutton Images
June 1, 2009
© Sutton Images