Piquet a "smashing little driver", says Manor boss
LONDON - New Formula One team Manor GP could be prepared to throw Nelson Piquet a lifeline despite the Brazilian deliberately crashing his car last year to fix the Singapore Grand Prix.
"I've not spoken to him at the moment, but he's a smashing little driver," Manor team boss John Booth told the Yorkshire Post newspaper on Friday when asked about the 24-year-old former Renault driver.
"I've no personal problems with him, but it is unclear what his current position is with regards sponsorship."
Piquet was granted immunity from punishment for giving evidence in the race-fixing controversy that left Renault with a suspended permanent ban on Monday while team boss Flavio Briatore was handed a lifetime ban.
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone told the Daily Express newspaper that Piquet had not written off his Formula One chances.
"Piquet will get another drive. He's a driver who does as he's told," said the Briton. "That's what any team boss would want. And they don't all do that."
Sheffield-based Manor are one of four new teams due to enter Formula One next season. World champions Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen both drove for Manor in a junior series on their way to the top.
The team are widely expected by Formula One insiders to announce a sponsorship deal with Virgin, currently backing championship leaders Brawn, in November. The deal could see the team renamed Virgin F1.
Booth said other drivers in the frame were BMW-Sauber's Austrian reserve Christian Klien, Britain's Anthony Davidson and Ireland's Adam Carroll. He expected to finalise the line-up by mid-November.
"Adam is a driver we rate very highly and we have held talks with him," said the team boss. "We have spoken to Christian but nothing more. I've had a chat with Anthony Davidson and he's a very quick driver.
"It's amazing the amount of quality drivers that are out there."
Piquet a "smashing little driver", says Manor boss - Yahoo! Singapore News