Piquet: "I'm the Biggest Victim in the Crash-Gate!"
The son of triple Formula One champion Nelson Piquet insisted that he now has to start from scratch all over again, with the ghost of the crash saga always haunting him from now onwards – either in F1 or in any other racing series worldwide.
“Some people have suggested I should have been punished by the FIA but, in reality, no one has been punished more than I have. I am at the beginning of my career, unlike the others who have been punished in this case. I am going to have to overcome many obstacles. I more or less have to start my career from scratch in Formula 1 or justify myself in whatever category I might race in,” argued Piquet in the aforementioned interview.
While arguing that he didn't have the time to acknowledge what exactly happened during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix – because of the fact that his contract extension was on the line – Piquet also insisted that he didn't use the story to blackmail Renault into further extending his deal for one more season. However, it was the constant pressure put by Renault on him race after race that finally got him to come out with the facts from last year.
“Some people have suggested that I was blackmailing Renault to continue my career but the situation was more complicated for a long time before. At each race it was always the same story of threatening to withdraw my contract or the renewal for the next season... I made the allegation so that no other driver would go through what I went through and, more importantly, so that the whole episode would be clarified the way it has been.”
Flavio Briatore was handed a lifetime ban from the sport, while Pat Symonds only got 5 years of penalty from all FIA-sanctioned racing series. However, Piquet has only one man to blame for everything that happened to him throughout the pact year.
“As a result of Renault not being very competitive, Briatore channelled all his unhappiness on me. He preferred to take it out on me during the two and a half seasons I was in Formula 1. I never saw other rookies being pushed as hard as I was. The pressure for results is normal, but the mental harassment is another story,” added the Brazilian driver.