Renault confirm Alonso and Piquet Jnr for 2008

2008 F1 season

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Renault has confirmed its driver line-up for the 2008 season with Fernando Alonso making a widely-anticipated return to the team.

He will be partnered by Brazilian rookie Nelson Piquet Jnr, son of three-times world champion Nelson Piquet.

Piquet takes the place of Heikki Kovalainen, his predecessor as GP2 runner-up and Renault’s previous test driver in 2006.

Kovalainen is expected to be confirmed as Lewis Hamilton’s team mate at McLaren for 2008. Kovalainen had earlier commented that he did not want to be at a team where he would be forced into a number two role, suggesting he did not want to partner Alonso.

Reports suggest Alonso has signed a three-year deal, refuting earlier rumours linking him to a deal with Ferrari for 2009. Renault has also confirmed F3 Euroseries champion and Renault Development Driver Romain Grosjean as a test driver for 2008.

More on the 2008 F1 season

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Keith Collantine
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33 comments on “Renault confirm Alonso and Piquet Jnr for 2008”

  1. What if Nelson Piquet gives a beating to Alonso? That would be interesting! But certanly Alonso as assured in is contract that he would be given number 1 status.

  2. After Renault being cleared for their spying case, this annouancement would be inevitable. I can’t wait to see how Alonso and Piquet will fair in the R28.

    Kovalinen will probably go into McLaren 2nd race seat too. That will be another team pairing to watch.

    The driver seats have shuffled around a fair bit for the 2008 season, and I’m glad of it. It is good to see the likes of Piquet, Glock and Boudrais in Formula One. Its only a matter of time before we see Conway, Carroll, Senna and others taking up F1 seats…bring it on!

  3. I’m shure Alonso got a number 1 status at Renault. Does anyone know if Telefonica went back to Renault together with Alonso?

  4. 3 years contract???

    Every paper is saying is a 1+1 year contract. Also it’s said that he has number one status, separated mechanics and boxes and no shared telemetries.

    About Piquet. He almost beated Hamilton in GP2, so it wouldn’t be strange if they do it again in F1.

    I only wish a season with 3 or 4 winners teams, equality conditions, and just sport. No more scandals please!!!

  5. Peteszab

    No Telefonica is not coming back.

    the new sponsor is Slim, owner of a huge telecom company in southamerica. He’s paying a lot of money to Renault with only one condition. Piquet has to be oficial driver.

    The contract of Alonso should be really solid, because new sponsor protects Piquet, president Goshn hasn’t forget how Alonso left Reanult to go to Mclaren, and internal fights with Symonds were never completely overcome. So the only person who are in Alonso’s side is Briatore.

  6. @frecon:
    it seems Fernando has an option for 2009. It’s not official, but many websites and also part of the press say that it depends on the results he will achieve next season. If the car will not be fast as he expects, he will move away in 2009. It could be Ferrari… someone says…

  7. Alonso’s move to Renault, can only be described as foresight with the benefit of hindsight.

  8. “Reports suggest Alonso has signed a three-year deal, refuting earlier rumours linking him to a deal with Ferrari for 2009.”

    It does seem there is an exit clause for the first year in the contract, then Alonso can cancel it and to go to Ferrari if Renault’s car is not competitive. It seems Flavio trusts in the new car.

  9. seems like there was nowhere for alonso to go but backwards – nelson piquet jnr seems a good choice – but I dont expect him to play second fiddle either and I dont expect his sponsers would like that either – I wouldnt trust alonso a second if he beats him – probably start throwing another tantrum – bring it on

  10. Flavio will try and keep Fernando for 2009, he has a lot of influence over him. Alonso could get angry if Piquet gives hinm a run for his money, which he definitely could do, he’s looked good in GP2. I hope that the new Renault is competitive, because then we will have six drivers (Raikkonen, Massa, Alonso, Piquet, Hamilton and probably Kovalainen) all with potentially race-winning cars and an instinct to win races. If the new BMW is also strong, we could have one of the best seasons for many years.

  11. When I first heard Alonso would be going back, I got afraid of Piquet’s future… I think he won’t be told to play “number two”, like Barrichello and Irvine were in Ferrari, for example, but, as it was mentioned above, probably they’ll have separate telemetries, completely different teams and different soaces. It’s obvious that, at some extent, data will be shared, but perhaps Piquet will be receveing Alonso’s information with considerable delay…

    I don’t think it’s fair at all, but I understand Alonso’s side, as his role as car ‘developer’ won’t be fully recognized if the rookie on his side gives him a run, like Hamilton did, and Piquet is totally capable of doing…

    Anyway, I’m confident that ‘Nelsinho’ will have a great Formula 1 debut…

  12. If the McLaren is as competitive as last year I think Kovalainen is going to be a force to be reckoned with,I would love to see that.

    If the Renault is as NON-competitive as last year I think we will hear even MORE whining from Alonso than last year.We should see some great battles between Alonso and Heidfeld.I expect the Renaults and BMWs to be neck and neck next season.I still believe BMW will remain in the top three.

  13. I heard a 3 year contract with an opt out clause. I could be wrong.

    I don’t think Alonso will win many GP’s and also I don’t think he will do very well in the championship. Only time will tell though I suppose.

    I’m thinking that Mclaren wont even be on the grid in 2008 at this rate. anyone agree???

    To be honest I think its wrong for the FIA to get other teams involved when its just to do with Mclaren and Ferrari!

  14. I too heard a 3 year contract with an opt out clause, although what those conditions entail I have no idea even if it were true.

    I think Alonso has learnt a lot from his relationship with McLaren, and the past season. Although likewise, Renault would have learnt a lot about Alonso, a side which never arose during his time at Renault. I think both sides would have negotiated an amicable contract – i.e. Renault giving preferential treatment, and Alonso not speak ill of the team, or unjustly complain.

    I’m making no predictions for next season, as things do change from season to season practically overnight – who knows, BMW, McLaren, even Ferrari, could be off the pace. But they all have great drivers that make up for it.

    And bear in mind, Schumacher has won GPs in Ferrari’s that should not have won anything. So I wouldn’t discount Alonso not winning anything at all even if the Renault is not competitive off the start.

    The season can’t start soon enough :D

  15. As Autosport puts it, the top three drivers are in 3 different teams (as they were in 2006) and that is good for the theater.

    If Alonso brings his famed 0.6 sec to Renault, then they are already on the same level as BMW :-)

    It looks like neither Ferrari nor McLaren are planning radical new cars (correct me if I am wrong), so there should not be any risk of them getting it seriously wrong and going backwards. But it also gives the chasing pack chance to catch up – and Renault with Alonso may do just that.

    I am sure Piquet was told clearly what it takes to get promoted to the race seat alongside Alonso. I expect he will play by the book (whatever the book says) at least in his first season.

    We can expect announcments from McLaren and Force India soon … But by taking Kovalainen as their driver, McLaren would have 2 still rookies racing for them. They both can race, they have shown it. But who knows how good their car set up and feedback skills are with so short racing experience … I wonder if Dennis is ready for such a radical line up…

  16. I do not believe that Alonso is worth 0.6 seconds per lap. He’s very quick and consistent in taking his car to its limit which means that the rate of development of his car will be up there with the best. But Alonso topping the list on sheer pace….I can’t comprehend it.

  17. powerline2007
    11th December 2007, 4:45

    That may be the reason why the FIA or more correctly, Max Mosley, didn’t penalized Renault & then put McLaren’s car for 2008 on hold.

    This will allow Bernie’s business buddy Flavio to get the driver of his choice & prevent McLaren from signing up a new driver, while in a sort of limbo.

    Max has already made know of his dislike for LH from day one.

  18. Regardless of how quick the cars are the added competitive drama will be due to a lack of traction control. Driver’s nerves will be further tested and the lack of a truly fast car can be made up (hopefully) by driver skill. We should see some interesting races next year!

    I don’t have a prayers hope of the new Mac car being competitive, what with all the distractions going on.

    Having the other teams present for the next round of the Mac Inquisition may help Ron, as I don’t think there is a team besides Ferrari and Renault that would vote them off the grid for ’08.

  19. That’s what I’m saying but why get other teams involved? Cant the FIA & WMSC deal with this alone?
    Why not get other teams involved in the Renault case?

    It’s all stupid to me & to be honest its putting me off the sport altogether!!

    Maybe if they could of done another hearing in a month or so it wouldn’t be so bad but it seems like mad max and WMSC members really have it in for Mclaren! But why???

  20. Probably Mike the reason why max doesnt like mcclaren is – it isnt a ferrari?? – perhaps ron doesnt invite him to many functions/private consultations/board meetings that he apparently has with major manufacturers without consulting their racing arms? – has he had one with mercedes yet? – probably doesnt like bratwaurst and pickle – more a spaghetti man with nice bottle of chianti on a sunny shore – ah! the hard life this many talented and personable man leads – and to never have youre name out of the papers either – bernie must be getting jealous!!

  21. At least one thing is clear for me.

    A week ago most of the people believed that Renault hasn’t a competitive car, and a long way to do.

    Today, people says that R-28 is a mystery.

    Only with signing Alonso, Renault has improved its image to next season. And also has revaluated a 7% in stock exchange.

    Renault is the best option to Alonso?, impossible to know yet. Alonso is the best option to Renault? absolutely

  22. alan, I’m sure you were bitterly disappointed when the FIA changed rules many times to stop Ferrari from winning, and at the time had something of a Ferrari bias, right? Or have you found your interest for the sport recently and think that everyone’s against McLaren all the time and that Ferrari always has it their way?

  23. surprisingly michael k – I was a ferrari fan for those years and thought that even though the rules changed ferrari was always able to respond thru michael to win races – what has happened is that I have seen what used to happen – info between drivers and teams being subjected to a new type of reasoning – ie you can get information but wont be punished you get an e’m from a another team to youre drivers and the team gets fined and youre development for next year is put on hold for further punishment.
    I did subscibe to shell/ferrari website for many years – there they told you about changes to fuel mixtures etc. – since this year thats cancelled as I dont like hypocrites – you may describe me as that – I wont sue you and you know this week in the race of champions I will still be backing schummie to win – does that answer some of your question?

  24. A lot of personal bickering , not much substance in this thread.

  25. Captain Caveman
    11th December 2007, 17:38

    I would have to agree about the bickering, but at the end of the day if we are passionate it easily happens .

    Anyway I am keen to see how Alonso may be able to challenge next year, Renault have not had a senior driver in the last set of tests and this won’t occur until January, which I am sure will be detrimental. As for the comment Frecon made “Renault is the best option to Alonso?, impossible to know yet. Alonso is the best option to Renault? Absolutely”

    I can really relate to this statement, much has been said about the 6 tenths etc, but there is little doubt that any good driver with combined engineering skills can communicate effectively with the team that will result in x tenths being found during the course of the year. This was always stated by the likes of Blundell, Brundell and Walker during the days of Prost, Senna and Shumi. It is only recently that many of the commentators seem to have distanced themselves from such statements (albeit selective).

    Just waiting for next year and also confirmation as to where Kovi will be seated.

  26. What’s fascinating about the Renault driver pairing is that now, with ‘Nando and Nelsinho, you have TWO moody, imperious, thin-skinned and insecure Latin drivers who feel entitled to special treatment in the same team. Perhaps Flav believes his experience keeping supermodels on a leash will transfer.

  27. Do you think the Barbarian drivers are more secure and less moody?

  28. powerline2007
    12th December 2007, 1:23

    A friend of mine from the UK told me that this may be the “reason” for Max irrational behavior.

    Both Frank Williams & Ron Dennis were both given a award by the British queen for their contributions to motor sports.

    Whereas Max Mosley, also a British, was bypassed. It seems he spoke bitterly about this in an interview with the press but I can’t find that piece.

    For this reason, Max became very angry. Therefore, he wants to throw out the most successful British F1 team i.e. McLaren, & making things very difficult for the British GP.

    I’m an American but perhaps someone from the UK can help to shed some light on this.

  29. I’m sure there’s one reason why Mosley will probably never get an OBE or other which is his political past, and quite rightly so.
    As far as two moody Latinos in one team, I think Flavio will have the skills to literally pimp them in a way that there won’t be many problems.

  30. Oski Eno, if someone says something like this about black or chinese people we’d say he is a racist. If you don’t beleive it have a look at last season posts…

  31. I don’t see why Max Mosley can’t get an honour because he was part of the Fascists, his dad led the Fascists and he got a knighthood (although I don’t know when he got it).

  32. I think history will probably repeat itself with this new combination. I only hope we don’t see any more tantrums from Alonso if Piquet ends up thrashing him like Hamilton did ;-o

  33. To Dave #30: I am Latin, and you might consider that you read into my comment that “all Latins” are like this, because that is your prejudice. Or is it that you are unaware of Nelsinho’s reputation from the lower formula? Perhaps the “supermodel” reference seems anti-women to you. Are you unaware of Mr. Briatore’s reputation?

    Humor requires a shared context. I’m sorry you missed the joke.

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