Renault F1 Promote 2004 British F3 Champion to Race Team
The Renault Formula 1 Team have today announced their driver line up for the 2008 season with double world champion Fernando Alonso returning to the team where he won his titles. 2004 British F3 Champion Nelsinho Piquet has been promoted to race alongside the Spaniard next season.
In 2004 the Brazilian driver became the youngest ever British F3 Champion after two seasons in the category, taking the title his father, three times F1 drivers champion Nelson Piquet, lifted in 1978. This has been the only occasion when both father and son have won the world's leading Formula 3 title.
In an interview with Autosport, 22-year-old Nelsinho said he is looking forward to the starting his first Grand Prix next March,
"First of all, I want to thank Flavio and Renault for putting their confidence in me for 2008," said Piquet. "It is a fantastic opportunity to make my Formula One debut with one of the top teams on the grid, and alongside one of the very best drivers in the sport. This drive is something I have been working towards since the end of 2006, and I am proud that my performances as test driver have earned me this position. I am looking forward to teaming up with Fernando, and learning from him. As a rookie, there is no better way to start your career than to have a double world champion as your reference point."
Piquet has followed in the footsteps of other British F3 Champions to Formula 1, including Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and Emmerson Fittipaldi, with 2001 Champion Takuma Sato and 1991 Champion Rubens Barrichello both in race seats next season. 2006 Champion Mike Conway is part of the test squad at Honda F1 and reigning champion Marko Asmer has been testing for BMW F1. 2005 British F3 Champion Alvaro Parente has just lifted the 2007 World Series by Renault title and the Portuguese driver is also a serious contender for a testing role in F1.