Piquet vows to get stronger

Mon, 14 April 2008, 10:56

After a difficult start to his formula one career, Nelson Piquet says he must emulate Heikki Kovalainen and now begin his rise up the grid.

Kovalainen, the Finnish rookie who switched to McLaren for 2008, was slammed by Renault boss Flavio Briatore following a dire debut race in Australia last year.

Piquet, 22 and from Brasilia in Brazil, had a similarly grim Melbourne opener for the team, and has been consistently outqualified by his teammate, Fernando Alonso.

Alonso, meanwhile, has scored six points so far with the identical R28 car, compared with Piquet’s tally of zero.

“I am frustrated,” he admitted to Autohebdo, the French magazine, “but I am not disappointed.

“I would be disappointed if it was a really different story for Alonso, but when you see how difficult it was for him to get to Q3 in Bahrain, and how he couldn’t secure points in the race, then my position is also understandable,” Piquet added.

“That doesn’t satisfy me, but it takes some pressure from my shoulders,” he said.

Piquet explains that the R28, the works Renault contender for this season, is not competitive in any area.

“The problem is engine, chassis, aerodynamics,” he said.

Piquet also insists that, unlike Briatore’s severe early appraisal of predecessor Kovalainen, his team boss is backing him.

“We have talked quietly,” he revealed, “and he says that I should remain calm and that things will get better.

“Kovalainen also had problems at the beginning, and then he was able to get stronger. I have to do the same.”

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