I'm hoping to have loads of good things to write about Rubens Barrichello after the Italian Grand Prix later today. He and his Brawn team-mate Jenson Button are in a very good position. Although they are only 5th and 6th on the grid respectively, they are way ahead of their Red Bull rivals and they are really heavy with loads and loads of fuel so they only need to stop once. I reckon that the podium should be them and Heikki Kovaleinen of McLaren. Fingers crossed - particularly or Rubens' gearbox. I'd had a whole litter of kittens by the time I watched him nurse his burning car home in Spa a couple of weeks ago and I'm not sure I could cope with that sort of trauma again. I have the Official Hiding Behind Pillow with me, just in case..
Anyway, I wanted to give Rubens a bit of praise for having a good go at Renault team principal Flavio Briatore, for the comments he had the nerve to make about Nelson Piquet Jr's private life.
For those of you who don't know the background, Nelson Piquet Jr used to drive for Renault F1 until the Hungarian Grand Prix in July. He was sacked shortly thereafter and this is my take on the statement he released at that time.
Now, things have taken a turn for the Dallas or Dynasty style uberdramatic. Piquet claims that he was asked to crash deliberately at the Singapore Grand Prix in September last year in order to benefit his team mate who went on to have an unexpected victory in the race. This is a race I missed because of the Glenrothes by-election, but I remember being surprised that Alonso had won in what had been an uncompetitive car all season.
The World Motor Sport Council will examine all the evidence in the case a week tomorrow, 21 September. They'll look at Nelson Piquet's statement, which was leaked to the media this week, hat tip to F1SA as well as telemetry from the car at the time of the crash, team radio transmissions and presumably evidence in person from the Renault team. If found guilty, the consequences for Renault could be severe.
I don't have enough either knowledge or information to volunteer an opinion on the allegations. It would be horrible to think that any team boss would put the life of not just his driver but other competitors and potentially marshals who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I do have to give some weight to someone whose judgment I trust, Ross Brawn, who said that he'd known Pat Symonds, the Renault senior manager implicated along with Briatore, for years and he found him to be a person of the highest integrity.
However,I am disgusted that Briatore has seen fit to attack Piquet personally. I'm horrified that he felt that he had the right to interfere in Piquet's personal life in the first place. He was an adult at the time, for heaven's sake, and who he chose to live with for whatever reason was absolutely none of his business. Good for Rubens to have been so fair minded about it and to have stuck his neck out and stood up for his compatriot.