# Why is Nelson Piquet not really considered a 'legend'?

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### #151 Zeroninety

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 14:12

Anybody who's a three-time WDC is a legend in my book, it's really a highly subjective matter of who's a "legend" and what qualfies somebody to be one.

Until these last few seasons, I'd have said the same.

### #152 BRG

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 18:12

Interesting article about Piquet in the latest MotorSport mag, written by Mike Doodson.

He starts by admitting to being a fan of Nelson.  If so, I would not want Doodson writing about me if he wasn't my fan!  Serial cheating at Brabham (admittedly others were as bad or worse) and the whole Senna sexuality business (whether true or not) make me like Nelson less and less.  I note that Doodson omits to mention at all the business about insulting Roseanne Mansell.

### #153 Henri Greuter

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 19:07

Interesting article about Piquet in the latest MotorSport mag, written by Mike Doodson.

He starts by admitting to being a fan of Nelson.  If so, I would not want Doodson writing about me if he wasn't my fan!  Serial cheating at Brabham (admittedly others were as bad or worse) and the whole Senna sexuality business (whether true or not) make me like Nelson less and less.  I note that Doodson omits to mention at all the business about insulting Roseanne Mansell.

To be honest, I don't  believe you have to be a fan of someone or a team te zijn to be able to write a decent publication about someone. You can even dislike or worse the subject. But as long as you can be objective and ignore becoming too personal within the story, it is still possible to create a decent writing. It is difficult (I know that from personal experience) but it can be done and sometimes the result is surprisingly good because the I like him\them\it smell isn't there and a neutral, objective article is often more educating and appears to be more trusted then when you kno the writer liked the subject.

For example, how often is Nigel Roebuck accused for being biased when writing about Gilles Villeneuve and/or Alain Prost?

Henri

### #154 Kart15

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 20:18

and the whole Senna sexuality business (whether true or not)

### #155 Paul Parker

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 20:24

My opinion about Nelson Piquet and some of the others of his era and beyond who won races/championships, is that he greatly benefitted from not having to tolerate uncompetitive and/or old F1 cars for too long.

In fact his progression was meteoric, he raced the Ensign once at Hockenheim followed by the BS Fabrications McLaren M23 at the Austrian, Dutch and Italian GPs before slotting into a works Brabham for the Canadian GP. Thereafter he was plumbed into works drives for the rest of his career and able to take full advantage of the machinery on offer and only began to fade in 1988 after joining Lotus.

This is not to traduce his ability but without this he would have been just another promising F1 racer, like so many before or since, whose careers and potential were wasted on second and third rate machinery, the list is long and varied and needs no repetition here.

### #156 ensign14

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 22:43

To be fair to Nelson, though, the second Brabham seat also featured other drivers with fairly meteoric rises to F1, such as Zunino, Rebaque and Hesnault, who were all a waste of space.  If Piquet was given a rocketship, he emphatically took his chance.  Patrese remember had the same opportunity, but when the pressure was on it went wrong.

### #157 D-Type

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 22:43

My opinion about Nelson Piquet and some of the others of his era and beyond who won races/championships, is that he greatly benefitted from not having to tolerate uncompetitive and/or old F1 cars for too long.

In fact his progression was meteoric, he raced the Ensign once at Hockenheim followed by the BS Fabrications McLaren M23 at the Austrian, Dutch and Italian GPs before slotting into a works Brabham for the Canadian GP. Thereafter he was plumbed into works drives for the rest of his career and able to take full advantage of the machinery on offer and only began to fade in 1988 after joining Lotus.

This is not to traduce his ability but without this he would have been just another promising F1 racer, like so many before or since, whose careers and potential were wasted on second and third rate machinery, the list is long and varied and needs no repetition here.

Team managers aren't stupid - They try to sign up the best driver they can get.  Drivers aren't stupid either - They try to get a drive in the best car.  The result is a form of natural selection whereby the best drivers end up in the best cars.  Generally.  There are exceptions because anyone can make an error of judgement.  But I would expect that to be one drive in a driver's career - not an entire career.

### #158 Paul Parker

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 09:29

I agree D-Type but I still believe that others of sufficient talent were not given the same opportunity or chances as Piquet et al.

Indeed we will never know how good they could have been, as in period from F3 onwards they lacked the big bucks sponsorship and all important marketing which allowed some drivers to advance properly to the next stage.

You have only to compare the careers of the participants in period to see the difference it made to have said backing, marketing and access to competitive machinery and Piquet would have fared no better than the other, less fortunate or less well funded drivers who wasted their F1 careers driving uncompetitive machinery before being written off or sidelined into sports car racing.

My point is perhaps better made if you consider the F1 drives made available to otherwise very average racers whilst others of potential race winning ability were de facto ignored because money and image was all important, almost but not quite regardless of talent.

### #159 kayemod

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 10:05

I agree D-Type but I still believe that others of sufficient talent were not given the same opportunity or chances as Piquet et al.

Indeed we will never know how good they could have been, as in period from F3 onwards they lacked the big bucks sponsorship and all important marketing which allowed some drivers to advance properly to the next stage.

You have only to compare the careers of the participants in period to see the difference it made to have said backing, marketing and access to competitive machinery and Piquet would have fared no better than the other, less fortunate or less well funded drivers who wasted their F1 careers driving uncompetitive machinery before being written off or sidelined into sports car racing.

My point is perhaps better made if you consider the F1 drives made available to otherwise very average racers whilst others of potential race winning ability were de facto ignored because money and image was all important, almost but not quite regardless of talent.

While much of what you say is true, it's not the whole truth is it? There have been drivers who look like the real thing in lower formulae, then get promotion to F1 and fall flat on their faces, Jan Magnusson is a good example, but there have been many others. Some drivers didn't do a lot in F3 etc, make it to F1 and blossom, but others never fulfill the promise that they seemed to have. I'm not going to name names as that will just start supplementary discussions, but I'm right aren't I? It's wrong to say that things fell into place for Nelson, that he was just lucky. As D-Type said, team managers, "Team Principals" as they've now promoted themselves, aren't stupid. They know what they're looking for, and they get it right more often than not, as they did with Nelson. To say that "luck" played a large part in his success is unfair, it was always going to happen, and who really cared if he farted and picked his nose as long as he delivered?

Edited by kayemod, 09 November 2013 - 10:06.

### #160 Gary C

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 10:29

funnily enough, just yesterday I was editing a little bit of video from Rio 1989 and Nelson featured quite prominently....

### #161 king_crud

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 10:53

a story that amused me in the book "I Just Made The Tea" was about Nelson testing with Brabham in Kyalami. The car was circulating but then it didn't appear as expected so people thought there must have been an issue with the car around the back of the circuit. A few minutes later the car trundles into the pit lane, sounding fairly normal. It pulls into the garage and Nelson takes off his helmet, only it's not Nelson, it's a woman driving the car! Apparently he'd stopped around the back of the circuit at a marshals post and swapped with one of the female marshals and got her to drive the car back.

### #162 Paul Parker

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 14:57

While much of what you say is true, it's not the whole truth is it? There have been drivers who look like the real thing in lower formulae, then get promotion to F1 and fall flat on their faces, Jan Magnusson is a good example, but there have been many others. Some drivers didn't do a lot in F3 etc, make it to F1 and blossom, but others never fulfill the promise that they seemed to have. I'm not going to name names as that will just start supplementary discussions, but I'm right aren't I? It's wrong to say that things fell into place for Nelson, that he was just lucky. As D-Type said, team managers, "Team Principals" as they've now promoted themselves, aren't stupid. They know what they're looking for, and they get it right more often than not, as they did with Nelson. To say that "luck" played a large part in his success is unfair, it was always going to happen, and who really cared if he farted and picked his nose as long as he delivered?

I made no mention of Piquet being 'lucky' or that things 'fell into place', this is your interpretation.

It was not so much that things went his way rather it was inevitable given his overall ability combined with his backing, his connections and concomitant marketing appeal which was notably absent for some of his talented contemporaries. This continued on post Brabham and right up to Williams where he was, apparently, favoured over Mansell by Honda. Without this kind of support Piquet would probably not have become a triple World Champion regardless of his skills. This is an observation rather than criticism, I have no personal axe to grind.

Of course team principals aren't stupid, which is precisely why the gifted Piquet was so favoured given his backing, like some others, whilst those who shone in lesser formulae in period only to 'fall flat on their faces' often did so because they were very much the no.2 and were chosen because they would not be a threat to the no.1 who had the all important financial clout, talent notwithstanding. I too do not want to name names, suffice to point out that I can think of several drivers who were more than good enough to reach the top but never had the car(s) or the backing necessary to succeed.

I had an interesting conversation some years ago with a former Brabham team member about the status quo and as for Jan Magnussen his failure to make the grade was reportedly a question of his commitment and personal attitudes, and is in my opinion not a valid comparison.

### #163 Charlieman

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 21:22

As D-Type said, team managers, "Team Principals" as they've now promoted themselves, aren't stupid. They know what they're looking for, and they get it right more often than not, as they did with Nelson. To say that "luck" played a large part in his success is unfair, it was always going to happen, and who really cared if he farted and picked his nose as long as he delivered?

Today, there are eleven (ten?) team managers and 22 racing places at each GP. In 2013, it appears that 23 drivers will get a GP racing start. If we compare this with past times, we might conclude that you need to be very lucky or very rich to start a race today. There have always been more up and coming drivers than vacant competitive seats -- but now there are no vacant uncompetitive seats.

In some ways, driver recruiters have to be luckier than drivers (acknowledging that driver pickers still seem to keep their jobs). They can't pay Mo Nunn to put a novice in a car that Jacky Ickx proved to drivable.

Each season, there are a dozen new potential GP stars, a handful of open seats and a million criticisers. There are no second chances for the driver.

---

Everything I have read about Nelson Piquet suggests that when he tried, he was a grafter and a motivator. He made his own luck. Unlike others from a privileged background who looked good in junior classes, Piquet kept on working. In 1978, he had three starts in a three year old private entry McLaren after one start for Ensign (funded by the previous season's fag coupons).

### #164 William Hunt

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 04:23

To be fair to Nelson, though, the second Brabham seat also featured other drivers with fairly meteoric rises to F1, such as Zunino, Rebaque and Hesnault, who were all a waste of space.  If Piquet was given a rocketship, he emphatically took his chance.  Patrese remember had the same opportunity, but when the pressure was on it went wrong.

Zunino? Rebaque? Hesnault?

Those were never promissing drivers, I certainly would not call their rise to F1 'meteoric'.

Ricardo Zunino was just poor in Formula 2, he did show pace in F. Aurora but that was not a refference: very weak championship, a bit like Auto GP nowadays: probably worse.

He was only hired by Bernie because of his money and so was Hector Rebaque.

In Zunino's defence: he did well in his 2 first races considering his lack of experience. But that guy never belonged in F1, he had shown nothing in F2. I think that Zunino was amazingly lucky that he landed that drive.

François Hesnault didn't have much of a CV either. A 3rd and 2nd place overall in the French F3 championship is good but not that special or impressive. He skipped F2 and jumped straight from F3 to F1 so that could be called meteoric but he wansn't that young either on his first F1 race (27). But he also just wansn't good enough. And Brabham hired him after he already had a poor season at Ligier. Brabham should never have hired him.

Patrese was very talented imho and often matched Piquet. He was the only real refference that Piquet had at Brabham (well there were the Fabi brothers also in '84).

Edited by William Hunt, 11 November 2013 - 04:28.

### #165 Henri Greuter

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 15:05

I do agree with the poster above that Patrese was the only teammate Piquet ever (after Lauda!) had who came the closest to Nelson's level. But don't forget thet Ecclestone loved Piquet and did jut about everything to please him and keep him, except paying handsome amounts of money.

On topic, I have been posting before (and got burned off because of my personal feelings about Nelson) but I wondered again about the question why Nelson isn't as highly rated as other multible (and sometimes even single champs.

Can it be because at least two of his three titles were won in the closing part of the season, almost stealing it away from another driver who had the titel up for grasps, and Nelson not realliy having been on top of the season all season long. (1981 and 1983) Granted, he was there when it mattered, like Vettel in 2010. But in the case of 1981 and 1983, were it very convincing titles if it comes to being competitive all season long?
As for his third title, different matter. He was pretty much on top all season, but together with another driver who was more unlucky and missed more reaces due to injuries. Thus, if you want to, you can find excuses for others failed to have taken that title too.

Personally, I think his '87 title is the one in which he was more impressive all season long and a factor all season long. The other two were a matter of being there when others collapsed in the final stage and for 1983 also the matter of the fuel issue, legal yes but was it in the spirit of the rules?

Can this thought perhaps add to explain the feelings?

Henri

### #166 Michael Ferner

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 15:16

I do agree with the poster above that Patrese was the only teammate Piquet ever (after Lauda!) had who came the closest to Nelson's level.

Well, he and that guy from Birmingham. And for three races, the chap from Kerpen, too, don't you think?

### #167 Henri Greuter

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 15:21

Well, he and that guy from Birmingham. And for three races, the chap from Kerpen, too, don't you think?

Hmmm, that proves how good I kept an eye on Nelson in the post Williams years....

Henri

### #168 FBJim

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 03:56

Honestly, if he did win two, or even all three of his titles due to poor luck by the opposition, it's probably fair to point out that he himself spent two of his peak years wasted in Brabhams that weren't able to compete for the title ('84 and '85), and, hell, you can even add the '82 car to that list if you want. And, really, in that era (the early 1980s), mechanical failures were often enough that you can pretty much point to any title as partly being because the other guy broke down all the time.

### #169 GrumpyOldMan

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 11:57

Luck works both ways, of course. If Jones hadn't have run into him in Canada 80, he might have won that championship. If Bosch hadn't have blown up their EMU and then rebuilt to a different spec without telling BMW, then he'd have had a very good shot at the championship in 84. And finally, if Prost's fuel gauge had been slightly more inaccrate in Adelaide 86, Nelson would have won that championship.

So 3 "lucky" championships balanced out by 3 "unlucky" championships. Much like any other driver (Mansell can point to 86, Senna to 89, Moss to most of the late-50's, Clark to 64, etc, etc). You've got to be good enough to put yourself in a position to either win through your own efforts or to be there if your rival has some misfortune.

Henri - I think you make a good point. When someone is leading for a long time but doesn't win, the temptation is to regard them as having "lost" rather than the other person having "won". Think Mansell in 86 - he didn't lose the championship because of the blown tyre in the last race any more than he lost the championship because of his altercation with Senna in the first race. Likewise with Reutemann in 81 & Prost in 83 - they didn't lose purely because of what happened in the final race of each season. They lost because they scored fewer points throughout the entire season. Looking at the start or end of the season in isolation is pointless.

### #170 Henri Greuter

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 14:42

Henri - I think you make a good point. When someone is leading for a long time but doesn't win, the temptation is to regard them as having "lost" rather than the other person having "won". Think Mansell in 86 - he didn't lose the championship because of the blown tyre in the last race any more than he lost the championship because of his altercation with Senna in the first race. Likewise with Reutemann in 81 & Prost in 83 - they didn't lose purely because of what happened in the final race of each season. They lost because they scored fewer points throughout the entire season. Looking at the start or end of the season in isolation is pointless.

Thanks for rephrasing my feeling much better then I put it down. The feeling of someone else losing the title rather than Piquet winning in both '81 and '83 is a much better description then I gave. But you are indeed entirely right, it is all about the entire season and Piquet did the best job in that, no denying it.
I don't think that he sood a serious chance in 1984 but indeed, 1980 and 1986 were years that he could have on too had luck gon to his side.

In the case of 1981, I wonder how Williams would have reacted if it had been their beloved Alan Jones who was leading those final races of the season instead of Reutemann, the man who had failed to obey team-orders that favoured their beloved Alan Jones. Were they really comitted to win the World Drivers Championship with the second driver instead of with their favourite son since the team had won what Frank Williams considered to be the main prize to win (Constuctors title) already? I have my doubts on that one....
Remeber his disappointment about Williams finishing only fourth in the constructors title in 1982 despite the fact that Rosberg had become world champion......
But I think that when you ask race fans who won the titles back in 1982 that more people know who won the drivers title in which car then that they do know which team became constructors champions.

Henri

### #171 William Hunt

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 03:37

Well, he and that guy from Birmingham. And for three races, the chap from Kerpen, too, don't you think?

Hi Michael, off course but I was only talking about his teammates at Brabham (and Henri Greuter was probably also just talking about his Brabham teammates), not about Williams or Benetton (well at Lotus he didn't have much competition from Satoru Nakajima).

I had said: "Patrese was very talented imho and often matched Piquet. He was the only real refference that Piquet had at Brabham (well there were the Fabi brothers also in '84)."

Edited by William Hunt, 13 November 2013 - 03:40.

### #172 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 09:17

Maybe this thread was the cause!!

### #173 Regazzoni

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 10:29

Maybe this thread was the cause!!

Quite likely. More than two months and four pages and there are still arguments and qualified judgements about Piquet's worth. There must be an epidemic of headches going on around here.

Three-time-world-bloody-champion. I would take that anytime for a decent compatriot of mine. Hamilton would take that anytime now he's starting to realize there's the distinct possibility he won't get there. What Mansell wouldn't give for that, they would give him a knighthood with a lordship on top just to make sure it's real. Sir Noige!

### #174 Giraffe

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 15:45

http://autoetecnica....urgia-cardiaca/

It would seem Nelson had several heart attacks & a stent installed subsequently.

Pictured at Goodwood in July.

### #175 RStock

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 17:41

My opinion about Nelson Piquet and some of the others of his era and beyond who won races/championships, is that he greatly benefitted from not having to tolerate uncompetitive and/or old F1 cars for too long.

In fact his progression was meteoric, he raced the Ensign once at Hockenheim followed by the BS Fabrications McLaren M23 at the Austrian, Dutch and Italian GPs before slotting into a works Brabham for the Canadian GP. Thereafter he was plumbed into works drives for the rest of his career and able to take full advantage of the machinery on offer and only began to fade in 1988 after joining Lotus.

This is not to traduce his ability but without this he would have been just another promising F1 racer, like so many before or since, whose careers and potential were wasted on second and third rate machinery, the list is long and varied and needs no repetition here.

If we are talking "ride jumping", the same could be said of Fangio.

I was never a big fan of Nelson but I hope he makes it through his medical situation ok.

### #176 Charlieman

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 19:42

Apologies for digression, but was the BS Fabrications entered McLaren M23 a dog of a car in 1978? My understanding is that McLaren tried to ensure that BS Fabrications did not embarrass the company. The M23 was an old car, but it was not a bad old car.

### #177 Tim Murray

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 19:57

I recall Piquet saying that the McLaren was much harder to drive than the Ensign, the steering in particular being very heavy.

### #178 George Costanza

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 20:48

Nelson could have been a 5 time World Champion, 1980 and 1986. I think 1986 a bit unlucky in a way. Of Course, Mansell we know about the blowout at the last race.

### #179 Macca

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 10:09

Or he might have been a no-times WC if Reutemann had held his nerve in 1981, or Renault had worked harder at the end of 1983, or if Mansell hadn't crashed in 1987.......just as Mansell might have won more WCs if things had been different - it's all speculation.

Piquet was a brilliantly fast driver but he's not a legend in my eyes because he's a git - contemptuous, ill-mannered and lacking in respect to anyone. His pathetic 'threats' to Alan Jones and later well-publicised personal remarks about Senna, Mansell, Mansell's wife, Prost, Enzo Ferrari, his team-mates, and indeed about anybody about whom he has ever expressed an opinion show this, together with Crashgate, losing his driving license for repeatedly ignoring his country's laws, etc, etc.

He worked hard to maximise his talent and maybe his friendliness towards and jokes with his mechanics was a calculated part of this.

So, fast, focussed, deserved his WCs, but not a legend IMHO.

Paul M

### #180 Giraffe

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 10:46

.

.... but not a legend IMHO.

The Oxford English Dictionary's definition of "Legend" includes.........

".....an extremely famous or notorious person, especially in a particular field"........

### #181 kayemod

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 11:12

Piquet was a brilliantly fast driver but he's not a legend in my eyes because he's a git

Paul M

He's only "a git" in the eyes of those who have chosen to believe that. Have you read the Piquet feature in the current Motor Sport? It puts a different complexion on many of the things you mentioned, especially on Senna.

### #182 ensign14

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 12:21

What different complexion can be put on taking the mickey out of Giovanni Amadeo's death?

### #183 Macca

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 14:02

I've read the MS article......as someone said, if that's written by a sympathetic journalist, heaven knows what an unsympathetic slant would be like.

And the Amadeo behaviour caps it all...............

Paul M

Edited by Macca, 14 November 2013 - 14:03.

### #184 Nemo1965

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 16:58

The answer to this topic's question:

1. He drove on quite long after he was not considered a topdriver any more

2. He still lives...

J.

### #185 E.B.

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 17:07

Granted for Point 1, but if a racing driver has to be dead to qualify for legend status, then I guess the Stirling Moss Q&A session at the Birmingham NEC this weekend will be quieter than usual?

### #186 Louis Mr. F1

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 21:25

Does anyone know why Lotus stopped using their active suspension in 1988 - given that they still had the powerful Honda engine?  I'm not sure if Piquet had tried to keep the system on his car in 88, it could have been a better season for them.

thank you

### #187 FBJim

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 21:34

Did Nelson really hang on for that long? He did win races in his last two seasons, after all.

### #188 William Hunt

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 21:04

He didn't hang on too long. I though his driving at Benetton was fine and as FBJim mentioned: he was still able to win.

I disagree that he wasn't considered a top driver anymore during his Benetton stint.

Edited by William Hunt, 15 November 2013 - 21:05.