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GP Week : Issue 58
> F1NEWS> alls on Nelson Piquet ... N ELSON Piquet has been let go by the Renault F1 team, the Brazilian has confirmed in a statement. The news comes as little shock and had been expected for some time, but the manner in which Piquet announced the termination of his contract by the team was certainly something of a surprise, as the embattled driver came out with all guns blazing, pouring scorn on the treatment he had received at Renault and pulling no punches in laying the blame for his lack of results at the door of Renault team chief Flavio Briatore. “I didn’t get this far by getting bad results,” Piquet said in his statement. “Anyone who knows my history knows that the results I am having in F1 do not match my CV and my ability. “If I now need to give explanations, I am certain it is because of the unfair situation I have been in the past two years. I always believed that having a manager was being a part of a team and having a partner. A manager is supposed to encourage you, support you, and provide you with opportunities. In my case it was the opposite. Flavio Briatore was my executioner.” Piquet blamed a lack of running in the R29 and the team’s failure to supply him with the same updates as team-mate Fernando Alonso for his lack of form in 2009. “In Formula 1 today, the difference between 1st and 15th position is sometimes less than a second. It means that 0.2 or 0.3s can make you gain eight positions,” he said. “In addition to that, car development is now happening on a race-to-race basis due to the in season testing ban. Of the first nine races that I ran this year, in four of them Fernando had a significant car upgrade that I did not have. I was informed by the engineers at Renault that in those races I had a car that was between 0.5 and 0.8s a lap slower than my teammate. If we had that difference in the race, I would have finished ahead of my teammate, which I did in Silverstone, despite him having upgrades that I did not have.” GPWeek understands that with Renault’s Enstone factory on enforced mid-season shutdown, even the team itself has not been informed of the identity of Piquet’s replacement.We expect, however, that the Franco-Swiss Renault-backed Romain Grosjean will be confirmed as Fernando Alonso’s new team-mate within the next seven days. Should Renault manage to overturn their ban from the European Grand Prix on August 17th, the race in Valencia will mark Grosjean’s F1 debut. Grosjean is the team’s current test and reserve driver and currently sits second in the 2009 GP2 Series with two race wins to his name. We expect his GP2 teammate, Vitaly Petrov, to be announced shortly as a new addition to the Renault family, potentially as Grosjean’s replacement in the test and reserve driver role.