Born on July 25th, 1985, Nelson Angelo Piquet Jr is son of triple Formula One world champion Nelson Piquet. He is known by various names, Nelsinho and Piquet Jr being the most popular. Although Brazilian by nationality, Piquet Jr was born in Heidelberg, Germany and was raised predominantly by his Dutch mother Sylvia Tamsma in Monaco, his parents separated soon after his birth. When he was eight years old he moved to Brazil to live with his father to learn more about the country, language and Nelson Piquet Sr.
When Piquet Jr left Monaco for Brazil in 1993, his karting career began with the guidance and funding of his father. He stayed with karts until 2001 when he left to join the Formula Three Sudamericana series, South America’s Formula Three championship. 2001 saw a good debut season for Nelson and the following season he took the title with four races still to run. Wanting to get involved in European racing though, Piquet Jr moved to Great Britain in 2003 to take part in the British Formula Three series for his fathers team, Piquet Sports. That year saw him take six wins from eight pole positions en route to third in the title race. 2004 saw Nelson become the youngest British F3 champion at nineteen years and two months.
The following year, in 2005, Piquet’s career started to gain pace with tests for Williams and BAR Honda, as well as a drive in the Formula One feeder series GP2 with the HiTech/Piquet Sports team. Piquet also competed with Team Brazil in the A1GP series, taking a win in the first event in both sprint and main races, as well as taking the fastest lap. He finished eighth in his inaugural GP2 season and Team Brazil finished the A1GP year in sixth.
In 2006 Nelson continued with Piquet Sports in the GP2 series and finished the season in runner-up, beaten to the title by Lewis Hamilton with a twelve point margin. However, Nelson’s abilities raised eyebrows among the paddock and the Brazilian was awarded a test driver position with Formula One world champions Renault. The media had rumoured that Piquet Jr took the role with the Anglo-French squad with a promise of a race drive in 2008.
Piquet Jr spent 2007 working closely with Renault developing the R27 chassis which debuted at a considerably slower pace than its predecessor did twelve months earlier. The team endured a difficult year of competition but Piquet’s efforts behind the scenes were praised and he was rewarded with a race drive for the 2008 season. Again, the media have suggested that with the return of world champion Fernando Alonso, 2007 driver Heikki Kovalainen would have pushed Alonso too much.