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GP Week : Issue 14
5 Minutes with ... NELSON PIQUET GPWEEK: Six races in, what are your thoughts on F1? NELSON PIQUET: It’s going okay, tough, but okay. It’s not as easy as maybe we thought it was going to be. I think when things start going well it will probably change and won’t be as tough. I’m learning a lot. Did you feel well prepared for the season? We’ve spoken before about the fact testing restrictions limited your pre- season mileage. Obviously the more you test, the more you’re going to get prepared, but if there’s a limit there’s a limit and you can’t do anything else. Obviously if you did 20, 30, 40,000km, the more you do the more you are prepared. How does it compare to the type of preparation you were used to in F3 or GP2? I think in F3 and GP2 we all had the same amount of testing as the other drivers, so it makes it a little more equal. That’s not to say I think it’s unfair here, because there are drivers who’ve been here for many years. You just need a bit more experience and I need a bit more time to get used to the team and get more confidence with the car. And how is the team and the support network? It’s perfect. Obviously they want results to come, but they’re not being inhumane about it. They’re being rational and trying to help. And how is Fernando Alonso. He’s quite notorious for wanting a team to support him. Does he help you? Yeah, I mean whenever I need help he tells me. So it’s okay. It must help having a double world champion as your first F1 team-mate. It is very good. Obviously he’s a character, and when you need help he’s good to talk to. Now qualifying … what’s going on? You hold the all-time GP2 pole record, so you’re clearly fast over a lap. I think it’s not as easy in Formula 1. I think the limit is much higher. GP2 was a bit different, in one way more difficult and in one way more easy. The thing was you had much less time and the first time you went out was 9am, and the second time was 4pm after two F1 practices and the track was completely different and you had to be really aggressive. In F1 it’s not the aggressiveness you need, it’s the experience because the track is not going to be two seconds faster as it was in GP2. In F1 it’s going to be quicker because you’re running low fuel, but if you overdrive the car you lose a lot of time. You need a lot of experience. And how’s the pressure? There’s a lot of talk in the press about the team maybe replacing you. Do you allow yourself to dwell on that at all? No. Everybody talks a lot of crap. The bad thing in Formula 1 is that one day you’re a hero and one day you’re shit. I mean look at Felipe [Massa] after Malaysia and everybody said he was going to get sacked. Then after two races everybody said he’s going to win the world championship. The press isn’t going to change my life. Who’s going to change my life and make the decisions is the team and me. The press won’t decide anything. I think the team knows we’re in the beginning. They suffered the same thing last year, so I’m sure they know how it works. They had a rookie last year, so I’m not worried at all. It’s normal and if the team is happy enough they’re going to keep me. I haven’t arrived here for nothing. I’m in a learning curve and things will get better. You’ve got a very famous name. Do you ever get pissed off with people asking you about your Dad? No. Most of the people who ask the questions are … um … [laughs] Okay … so who were your heroes growing up? I didn’t really follow Formula 1 when I was small, only when I was older and I moved to the UK. I just loved driving. When I came to England I became more familiar with watching it, but before that I didn’t have an idol or a hero. To be honest I don’t like soccer but there were some players that impressed me. I read a lot of biographies which impressed me, too. Obviously I know my father’s story which is impressive as well, but I think I have more heroes by reading their stories and learning about the difficulties they went through to get to F1. Nelson Piquet is having a tough F1 debut season. With the media hinting at his potential replacement by Renault, he sat down with WILL BUXTON to right some wrongs. 16