Renault: Piquet can turn it around

Renault’s Nelson Piquet has not enjoyed the best of starts to his debut Formula One season and, after again being thoroughly upstaged by his more-experienced team mate Fernando Alonso in last weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix, the paddock is still waiting for him to show his true potential.

Piquet's team, however, remain confident in the young Brazilian's abilities and believe he has what it takes to make more of an impression over the coming races.

Former champion Alonso qualified seventh and finished the Turkish event in sixth, whereas Piquet struggled for much of the weekend, starting down in 17th and eventually finishing just two places higher in 15th.

“He didn’t make a great start and he struggled in the middle,” explained sporting director Steve Nielsen during a podcast on Renault’s official website. “He got a finish, which was nice but he needs to do better.

“We saw last year with Heikki (Kovalainen) that he was able to turn it around and I think Nelson has to do the same. I'm sure Nelson can turn it around. We have seen in testing and in Barcelona he has got the speed, he just needs to concentrate and focus and make sure he turns it into results.”

So far the 22 year-old has been unable to qualify higher than his 10th-place grid slot for the Spanish Grand Prix and has finished no higher than 11th, in Malaysia. In Barcelona his promising starting position came to nothing after a risky passing move on Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Bourdais relegated them both to the sidelines.

“Nelson had a good race in Barcelona, unfortunately he made a mistake, but the Friday, and Saturday in qualifying, certainly, he did an excellent job and then made a mistake in the race,” added Nielsen. “So I think rather than say he's had a disastrous start to the season, it's a bit of a curate's egg - there are good bits and bad bits.

“But he needs to start having more good bits than the bad bits, and he needs to start doing that as soon as he can because Formula One is a business, it's a very cut-throat business, and if people don't deliver then they go the obvious way.”

Piquet will get some extra track time this week as he bids to improve his form - he is currently evaluating Renault's latest high-downforce package for the forthcoming Monaco race at this week’s multi-team test at Paul Ricard.