F1: Button was offered Piquet’s Renault seat

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarFriday, April 17th, 2009

 
 

Flavio Briatore has inadvertently revealed that he attempted to recruit Jenson Button to Renault for the 2009 season, presumably at the expense of the under-performing Nelson A Piquet.

The always outspoken Italian let fly with some particularly passionate comments following the news that the diffuser appeal had not gone in his team’s favour.

In them he described Jenson Button as a paracarro – apparently Italian for bollard – and said his drivers “were and are world champions.”

It would appear that, despite being trackside, the Renault boss is somehow managing not to watch the same racing series as the rest of us.

He told Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport: “The drivers in our teams have been and are world champions, while the championship is now fought between a driver who was almost retired and another one who is a good guy but a paracarro.

“I don’t know where credibility has ended up with all this. To make up the gap we have to those teams is impossible.”

Jenson Button, a featured driver in yesterday’s Chinese Grand Prix press conference, maintained an air of serene calm when invited to respond – but dropped a bombshell of his own.

Describing Briatore as “a very angry man” and “a little bit bitter”, said: “He… needs to remember that he tried to employ me for this year.”

With the double world champion Fernando Alonso widely hailed as the best current driver to put a wheel on a Formula One track, it does seem fair to assume that it was Piquet for the chop.

And it should also be said that Button deserves a medal for keeping quiet in the face of all the stories claiming his career was over when Toro Rosso chose Sebastien Bourdais, and for sticking with his Brackley team through its troubles when other options were presenting themselves.

It is fair to say that his decision has been vindicated.

And his team’s response to Briatore? He said: “Laughing, basically.”

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