I was at centre of one of F1's most controversial moments ever but then my team sacked me and treated me like a dog | The Sun
CRASHGATE remains one of Formula One's most controversial moments.
Nelson Piquet Jr was told to crash his Renault into the barriers at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, a move which ultimately helped team-mate Fernando Alonso win the race.
As well as deciding the race winner, it also proved pivotal in who won the title.
Lewis Hamilton was among those who inadvertently benefited from the crash and he would go on to win the first of his seven F1 crowns by a single point, pipping Brazilian Felipe Massa.
But with Massa now considering a legal challenge after comments made by ex-F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, which could see Hamilton stripped of his title, the driver at the centre of the ordeal has opened up on his experience.
Piquet Jr, son of the disgraced Nelson Piquet Sr, has revealed how Renault cast him aside when the scandal was revealed and treated him "like a dog".
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Speaking to On the Tracks Podcast, he said: "We stayed for 2009 and then the story came out about what had happened.
"They ended my contract, something they weren't supposed to do. I was going to race all year and all of a sudden I was told, 'Now, it's [Romain] Grosjean that's going to take your place.'
"And I told them, 'You can't do this to me.'
"They treated me like a dog. And that's when I told them, 'Since they're treating me like I'm rubbish, I think we're going to have to clear things up.'
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"That's when everyone got to know what had happened, which to me was horrible. It was very traumatizing. It still is today.
"A lot of people don't understand and a lot of people judge without understanding history."
They treated me like a dog
But Piquet has insisted he only followed the order to crash due to having his career threatened by Renault team principal Flavio Briatore and having a lack of help around him at the time.
He added: "The race came to Singapore and they put me psychologically up against the wall, I had no escape.
"A lot of people still ask me, 'Would you do it again?' My answer is always, 'No, obviously not.'
"But at that age and under so much pressure… There was no one with me, except that grotesque Briatore, who was always bullying and was always complaining, pressuring me and warning me: 'This is your last chance'."
For their part in crashgate, Piquet Jr. and Briatore were handed lifetime bans from the sport.
He continued: "What I would not do again was to enter Formula 1 alone.
"The psychological state of a driver when he enters Formula 1 becomes very sensitive. You have to feel very confident.
"When you lose that confidence it becomes something very difficult to recover. Someone who wants the good of the pilot.
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"That's the most important thing I didn't have. It destabilized me in such a way that people still today cannot understand what I went through.
"The pressure and the horrible situation they put me in."
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