Name: Nelson Piquet Jr
DOB: Jul 25 1985
Place Of Birth: Heidelberg
Most Races For: Renault - 28
They say the apple does not fall far from the tree. That seems to be the case with the Piquet family. Nelson Piquet Jr., son of former triple world champion Nelson Piquet, is now racing cars just like his father, just like his father, and striving to be the best, just like his father.
Nelsinho Jr. was born on July 25th, 1985 in Heidelberg, Germany. Moving to Brazil at the age of eight, he immediately took to karting. With racing in his blood, he paved his way up from regional to the national series, and won the Brazilian Kart Championship thrice. At the age of 16, he decided to pursue racing as a full time career.
In 2001, the young Brazilian participated in the South American Formula Three Championship. He shone in his first year as he kept performing consistently, finishing fifth in the championship. In his second year, he did even better winning 13 races to clinch the title. In 2003, Piquet moved to the UK, to compete in the British Formula Three Championship. With six wins and another five podiums, he finished third in overall standings. That year he also won the Autosport Best National Driver Award. If that was not enough, he got his first taste of Formula One with a test with the BMW Williams. The following year, he won the British F3 championship with six wins that season, becoming the youngest ever British F3 champion in the process. Later that year, yet again he tested with the BMW Williams.
In 2005, he took part in the inaugural A1 GP series, racing for the Brazilian A1 GP team, and won the first sprint race as well as main event at Brands Hatch. He also drove for Piquet Sports in the GP2 series, securing one win that year. Later that year he again tested for another Formula One team – BAR Honda. In 2006, Piquet finished second in the GP2 series to future F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton. At the end of the year he tested for the Renault F1 team, before getting signed up to be their official test driver for the 2007 season.
In 2008, after Fernando Alonso returned to the Renault fold and Heikki Kovalainen left for McLaren, Piquet landed the race seat alongside the double world champion, on the back of 8000+ kms of testing in 2007. His first year in F1 was anything but successful, with nine retirements and only one podium. His finish at the second place in Germany was his best performance of the season, as he ended with 19 points and 12th place in the championship. The 2009 season did not go well for Piquet, being relieved of his duties following a string of dismal performances, after the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Being the son of a triple world champion obviously raised the bar in terms of expectations from Piquet, which he was unable to meet, while racing at Renault. If he does make a come back into Formula 1, it will be interesting to see how his career graph shapes up.
- In 2008 Nelson Piquet bought a private jet valued at $2.6 million. Unlike his father who used to fly his own plane to GPs, he hires a professional pilot.
- Nelson Piquet became the youngest driver to win the British F3 Championship at 19 years and two months, in 2004.
“They kind of swapped me. My mother wanted me to get to know my father, she wanted me to know Brazil and the language, and she realized life in Brazil would be better for a child”
- On leaving his mother in Monaco to live with his father in Brazil when he was 8 years old
Most successful drivers to have raced with Nelson Piquet Jr