There has been a lot of talk about Nelson Piquet’s statement and especially what he had to say about Flavio Briatore. This however is the part that caught my attention:
“In 2008 I scored 19 points, finished once on the podium in second place, having the best debut year of a Brazilian driver in F1.”
Whether he is right or not it depends on what one considers as having the best debut year. A comment from Carlos (under previous post) made me to look up statistics on other Brazilian drivers. I selected the most successful ones.
Ayrton Senna – debut in 1984 – Toleman, 9th, 13 points (3 podiums, 1 fastest lap)
Emerson Fittipaldi – debut in 1970 – Lotus (5 races only), 10th, 12 points (1 win)
Nelson Piquet sr. – debut in 1978 – Ensign, McLaren, Brabham (5 races only), 0 points
Rubens Barrichello – debut in 1993 – Jordan, 17th, 2 points
Felipe Massa – debut in 2002 – Sauber, 13th, 4 points
Nelson Piquet jr. – debut in 2008 – Renault, 12th, 19 points
It may seem that Nelsinho Piquet got his numbers right. Or did he ?
One think Nelson Piquet jr chose to overlook is the fact that the point system changed from season 2003. None of the above drivers had the benefit of scoring points for 7th or 8th place and all of them would only get one point for 6th place … Piquet’s point scoring finishes in 2008 season were 7 – 2 – 6 – 4 – 8. That equals to 2+8+3+5+1 = 19 points. Before 2003 the same results would only bring 0+6+1+3+0 = 10 points. That would put Piquet behind Senna and Fittipaldi…
He did score a podium finish in his rookie season, that would place him in the company of Ayrton Senna and Emerson Fittipaldi. But Fittipaldi also won a race.
Piquet jr. also should not forget that Fittipaldi as well as his father Nelson Piquet sr. only raced in 5 races in their first F1 seasons.
So do you agree with Piquet ? Did he have the best debut year of a Brazilian driver in F1 ?