Nelson Piquet


Podium Finisher
What sort of contract did Piquet sign at Williams. Dutch TV-commentator Olav Mol said that in 1986 he drove for Williams on a pay-by-point basis: $100.000 per point. I'm fairly certain that was mentioned at the time of his contract with Benetton (1990), but I highly doubt they'd do that in 1986.


Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
From what I've read Wombcat, Nelson was using McLaren as a stick to beat Bernie with to get more money. Bernie got Ron to agree on the salary offer, meanwhile Nelson was talking to Williams and got them to offer more. I seem to recall him being on a pay by points basis at Benetton but not at Williams.


Champion Elect

Interesting article where Piquet and Mansell agree F1 is easier today for drivers compared to what they did in the 80's

Also Piquet admitted he did not really care if he was not popular in the paddock or with the fans

A few books I have on F1's past do credit that Piquet can compete against the very best but it was due to having superior equipment

however in 1987 he used Prost like consistency to beat Mansell

Also his latter years in F1 were money motivated and he did seriously suffer from 1987-1989 when he left Williams with Honda engines as world champion to join Lotus as no 1 with a nice earner paid by Camel

the ugly side of Piquet came out against Senna and Mansell whom he was being compared against unfavourably

a legend of sport - yes but not a creditable one


Podium Finisher
I have always been convinced that Piquet was the luckiest world champion there ever was and always seemed to be able to inherit wins and championships more than any other driver.


Race Winner
He's not very likeable but that doesn't take away the fact that he "lucked" into winning 3 WDC with 2 different constructors ... I just don't see it


Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Not a very likeable character but a bloody quick driver. He was also a master at mind games and was (as I've mentioned before) one of the few to get one over on Bernie in contract negotiations.


Well, being born on the 60's and watched AND lived every single race of the 80's I can safely say 3 things:

1st: Piquet's carrer should be measured and judged from 1979 - 1987's Brazil race. The next one was Imola, where he crashed during practice and from that point on he was an above average driver at the best, the likes of Berger and Alesi, but one step below Mansell and two steps below Senna and Prost. Still with that huge and massive tech expertise on everything related to car racing, thanks to his background as a mechanic, but with no longer the deep sight & feeling needed to race at the absolute top level

2nd: he never cared about fame, the media, the fans and publicity. If possible, he would avoid them at all his whole career. This explains why his name is never mentioned on the english conversations about top pilots. However on italian ones, portuguese ones, french ones and spanish ones he is always there.
He also liked to develop cars, he never looked for the best available around (like Prost specially and Senna). Look at what he did with Brabham and BWM engine.

3rd: it is difficult to find ppl who lived closed to him, it seems even they were similar to Piquet, avoiding public and media in general ;). But everyone who did live close by him state the same over and over again: his technical knowledge and prowess was unmatched during his days (ask Murray and Barnard, or the Japanese tech guys from Honda). He was really fast, constantly fast and very easy on his car. Murray commented he was even easier than Lauda, who was a gentleman behind the steer! His car's clutches would finish the race with the minimum damage possible. Same for the suspension and turbos (he was know to easy on the turbo pressure when leading, putting just enough pressure to keep his lead, in order to save them for the long run. Hello Renaults and Ferraris?!?)

He was a smart ass guy that signed with Williams after being verbally told by Frank Williams that he would be the #1 of the team. But when Frank suffered that terrible accident, Patrick Head step up and declared there was no #1 on the team, which pissed him way off. Then he found himself in a british team with a hungry and fast british driver, dealing with a british-dominated sport environment and with little help. He once said in '86 interview to a brazilian TV "who am I going to ask help? My ship is encircled by sharks, I gotta do something!". He was the guy that set up the cars for qualifying and race, he was a genius at that. Mansell's engineers copied the setup. Then they would go toe-to-toe during 86 season (same # of fastest laps and pole positions, one more victory for Mansell, more consistency for Piquet). In BR media it was reported 2/3rds of the team worked for Mansell, and 1/3 for Piquet (complimented by some TV shots of Mansell's car surrounded by several mechanics, and Piquet's car surrounded by a handful), but I don't know whether that was true.

Even to these days Piquet doesn't care much about what is said of his F1 days. Unlike Prost, he never idolized himself despite many innovations he brought to F1 (pre-race tyres warm-up, refueling of car, warming up the entire car - oil, radiator, engine, breakes - something he used to do because of the cold of the british weather since F3, introducing break balance between forward and rear brakes, water-cooling breaks - leading to his disqualifications of the '82 BR GP - hidro-pneumatic suspension in '80, even thouhg many of these innovations had the contribution of Gordon Murray - or vice-versa.

uff, that's a lot of writing...... enjoy :)


Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Wow Gaucho enjoyed that and learnt a few things. You should write us some articles in CTA. By the time I started watching F1 (1990) Piquet was a strange phenomenon as I knew he'd been a world champion and occasionally he'd have great races (Adelaide 1990) but I couldn't figure him out.

I'm guessing kids who start watching F1 now prob have the same confusion over Kimi and Fernando.
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