Approaching the two-year anniversary of the infamous Singapore Grand Prix ‘Crashgate’ scandal that brought about the undoing of Renault figures Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds, the team’s former driver Nelsinho Piquet is still desperately playing the innocent victim card.
Piquet Jr – whose sacking from the Renault team in 2009 brought the scandal to public knowledge and which threatened to bring the sport to its knees in the worst case of race-fixing in its history – has admitted that his relationship with Felipe Massa has never repaired in the wake of the scandal.
Massa, who was running ahead of the eventual championship winner Lewis Hamilton at the time of the Safety Car being brought out when Piquet Jr deliberately threw his car into the wall, accused Piquet of robbing him of the Drivers’ Championship, which he eventually lost to Hamilton by a single point.
Massa drove away from his pit bay with the fuel hose still attached to his car when he pitted during the Safety Car, which allowed Hamilton to finish well ahead of the Brazilian and reinvigorate his Championship hopes.
Piquet Jr, now driving in the NASCAR truck series, spoke with the Brazilian magazine Istoe and said: “My relationship with [Rubens] Barrichello and Massa had always been very friendly — they always treated me very well, gave me a lot of advice.
“But after Singapore Massa was offended by me, and to this day he thinks he lost the 2008 World Championship only because of me.
“Massa is still completely insulted, I’ve never spoken with him [since],” he added.
Does Nelsinho not get it?
What I continue to find utterly unlikeable about him is this continued sneering attitude that has made him among the most unlikeable F1 drivers in twenty years or more. There was an arrogance, that was well established before he even graced the F1 stage: he never accepted fault; he never admitted that he needed to lift his game; he always blamed others for his mistakes; he carried on as if his name and family connections entitled him to some sort of privileged access and right.
He unveiled his own completely unethical role in the ‘Crashgate’ saga, but even that was done purely out of revenge for his own sacking rather than for any moral objection to what he conspired to do with the team. That he was able to get away without any sanctions as part of bringing F1 to its knees was all the more appalling.
F1 is better off without him and I hope we never see him again.