Team boss Flavio Briatore has strongly
backed Nelson Piquet amid rising speculation about the struggling rookie's
dubious future at Renault.
"Nelsinho definitely has talent,"
the Italian is quoted as saying this week by sportnet, after yet another
disappointing race for 22-year-old Piquet at Monaco last Sunday.
Rumours suggest that the Brazilian, whose
despair was captured by photographers after he slid out of the prestigious
race, has been handed a three race deadline to up his game, as laid-off Super
Aguri lineup Anthony Davidson and Takuma Sato wait in the wings.
Briatore added, "He is a part of the
team and we need him. I have no doubts
Briatore's comments come after his fellow
Renault chief Pat Symonds insisted this week that Piquet, the son of his
namesake and former triple world champion, is only lacking confidence following
a disastrous opening third to his F1 career.
Engineering boss Symonds compares Piquet's
performances so far in 2008 with his predecessor Heikki Kovalainen, who managed
to turn around his fortunes at about the same time last year.
"At this time last year a lot of
people were thinking Heikki was entering his last few races," the Briton
told Renault's podcast this week.
"With a driver or a sportsman it's
about self esteem, and believing in yourself.
"All Nelson needs to do is to turn that
corner and believe in himself and it will happen again," Symonds added.