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DATE News (chronologically)
Piquet to get the axe? UPDATE #10 (GMM)  Nelson Piquet has three more races to convince Renault boss Flavio Briatore that he deserves to stay in formula one.

Citing team sources, the motorline.cc portal believes the 23-year-old Brazilian could then lose his race seat, with countryman and rookie Bruno Senna a possible replacement.

Briatore was unimpressed with Piquet's showing in the Chinese rain last weekend, adding: "I only want to judge his performance in a completely normal race."

Former Swiss driver and German-language commentator Marc Surer, however, is not sure 25-year-old Senna would be the ideal substitute.

"Perhaps if Piquet continues like he is, a driver exchange could be a topic, but at the moment I don't see anyone on the market who would really be better.

"Senna is a beginner who would probably make just as many errors," Surer added.

04/20/09 (GMM)  The Spanish newspaper Diario AS,  said the underperforming Nelson Piquet Jr.'s days at Renault could be numbered.  Takuma Sato, Alex Wurz, Lucas di Grassi and Romain Grosjean were named as potential successors.

10/24/08 Renault's Brazilian test driver Lucas Di Grassi said on Thursday he was hopeful of moving up to a Formula One race drive next season. "What I want is to try to take a step up in my career and become an official F1 driver. There is a good possibility that I will be in F1 next year," he told Reuters.

"My first option is Renault because they have been investing in my career. But I would be happy with any other team."

Di Grassi has been part of Renault's Driver Development Program for five years and has been mentioned as a possible alternative to rookie compatriot Nelson Piquet if the team decide they need a change after next week's season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

"The option (of being an official driver) is up to Renault," said Di Grassi.

"They have the possibility of extending my contract, so I am waiting for their decision to see if it will be with Renault or if I will have permission to negotiate with other teams".

Renault are waiting for double world champion Fernando Alonso to decide his future before announcing their lineup. Honda and Toro Rosso are the other teams yet to confirm their drivers for 2009.

"Everything I could do, since F3, GP2, Formula One tests, was good and more than satisfactory to be able to achieve F1," said Di Grassi, who was third in this year's GP2 feeder series.

"So if there was a spot, and it depended only on my talent, I would have already got there. But F1 is a little bit more complex, it involves other processes and political and commercial decisions, so I have to wait." Reuters

10/14/08 (GMM)  Nelson Piquet's "great drive" to fourth place at Fuji Speedway does not guarantee his future at Renault, team boss Flavio Briatore insists.

Before the Japanese grand prix weekend, Briatore said rookie Piquet has "not had a good season" in 2008, amid rumors that Lucas di Grassi might be slotted in alongside Fernando Alonso next year.

Piquet Jr.'s job may be on the line
At Fuji, however, where the Brazilian's teammate Fernando Alonso won, Piquet qualified 12th but raced on to fourth place.

But Briatore insists that the 23-year-old's drive has not secured his future.

"No, we will decide only at the end of the year what we are going to do," the Italian is quoted as saying by Formule 1 Race Report.

Briatore explained: "A single race is not really going to change our thoughts.  It seems to me only natural that he should be performing."

10/02/08 Di Grassi denies the rumors that may have been fabricated by the F1 media to keep F1 in the news between races.  "All the rumors on the internet about my future in F1 are a surprise to me," Di Grassi said.  "I don’t know where they come from but I can guarantee you that nothing has been said to me.  A lot of people were happy with my GP2 championship and F1 tests and I think I am prepared to race in F1, and that is what I want at the moment."

09/30/08 According to AutoRacing1.com sources, Piquet Jr. will indeed get the axe but Romain Grosjean will replace Piquet, not Di Grassi.  We await the formal announcement.

09/30/08 Lucas Di Grassi, who finished third in the 2008 GP2 championship is ever closer to taking Nelson Piquet's seat at Renault reports Autosport, a leading motorsport media reporter.

Autosport claims that sources from Renault have said that Piquet has not done enough to justify a drive next year.  For example his teammate Fernando Alonso outqualified him every single race.  Furthermore, the recent test Di Grassi took part in for Renault at Jerez proved positive. They go on to say Flavio is working on the 2009 driver line-up but first he is waiting on Fernando Alonso. It is believed Briatore has offered Piquet to Toro Rosso, if he doesn't get a drive there he will possibly become a test driver.

Why would Toro Rosso want him?  Face it the kid doesn't have it. zzzz

08/23/08 (GMM)  Nelson Piquet at Valencia insisted he is not overly worried about his future beyond 2008.

The Brazilian rookie had a weak opening stanza of his formula one career this season, and it is believed Renault will not make a decision until September about whether to retain him in 2009.

Undoubtedly, the 23-year-old's future also depends on the presently unknown whereabouts of his teammate Fernando Alonso, who is one of the keys to the 2009 driver market.

Piquet, however, sounds optimistic.

"I assume that I will be with the team also next year," he is quoted as saying by Auto Motor und Sport, insisting that his form is currently on an upwards swing.

06/25/08 (GMM)  Nelson Piquet has rubbished recent rumors that he had been given a limited number of races to up his game or be dumped by the Renault team.

The Brazilian rookie, who may have turned around his disappointing form with a promising run to seventh place at Magny-Cours, dismissed the reports as "bullsh*t" pedaled by the press.

He told the British broadcaster ITV that similar rumors dogged his predecessor Heikki Kovalainen last year and "absolutely nothing happened".

"I think a team cannot work that way by judging and kicking out people," Piquet, 22, insisted.

He suggested that Renault learned by sacking Jarno Trulli and replacing him with Jacques Villeneuve in 2004 that "it's not the way it works in formula one".

"It didn't work at all and I think they learned about that.  I think they know to work a bit better than just sacking people like that," Piquet said at the Silverstone test.

05/30/08 Team Boss Flavio Briatore has rubbished claims that Nelson Piquet Jr's days at Renault are numbered.  "Nelsinho definitely has talent," the Italian told sportnet. "He is a part of the team and we need him. I have no doubts about that."

05/26/08 (GMM)  Renault is still backing Nelson Piquet to up his game, but paddock rumblings suggest that the French team's patience will not last forever.

Indeed, it was rumored at the scene of the Monaco grand prix that team boss Flavio Briatore is giving the struggling 22-year-old Brazilian only until Silverstone in July - three more races - to take a substantial step closer to the pace and performance of lead driver Fernando Alonso.

Moreover, the Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell reports that Alonso's scheduled running at the test following the Canadian grand prix has been scrapped so that Piquet, whose father won three world championships, can be in the car on all three days.

The loudest related rumor of all at Monaco, however, was that Briatore considers Super Aguri's laid-off race lineup of Anthony Davidson and Takuma Sato as genuine candidates for Piquet's seat if he cannot improve in the near future.

Briatore half-backed Piquet's unimpressive first outing at Monaco as a grand prix driver.

"Nelson's race was disappointing, but Monaco remains a difficult test for a driver and it is a very unusual circuit," he said.

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