The stakes have been raised in the Renault/Singapore ’08/Piquet Jr. poker game today with Renault launching criminal proceedings, but Piquet Jr. is sticking by his guns and refusing “to be bullied”

In a statement released today he said:

“Regarding the current FIA investigation, I confirm that I have co-operated fully and honestly with the sport’s governing body,”

“Because I am telling the truth I have nothing to fear, whether from the ING Renault Team or Mr Briatore and whilst I am well aware of the power and influence of those being investigated, and the vast resources at their disposal, I will not be bullied again into making a decision I regret.”

“I have every confidence in the FIA investigation and World Motor Sport Council and I will be making no further comment until the conclusion of the hearing of 21 September 2009.”

On the flip side of things Renault boss Flavio Briatore has hit back saying “The fact that we put a plan for blackmail [action] against the two Piquets, means I think we are very confident that the truth will come out,”

Talking about the upcoming WMSC hearing he said “You know what? Whatever happens, if someone goes against the rules, they go against the rules. If I tell you to go rob a bank – afterwards, you decide whether to rob the bank or not.”

“I don’t feel I have any responsibility, and we don’t feel we have done absolutely anything [wrong]. In the case of Piquet we go to the World Council. But the fact already that we have put a criminal plan to Piquet is because we have enough confidence to be successful – the team and myself.”

On a final note he talked about Piquet, “I feel Nelsinho is a very spoiled guy,” he said. “Every time he is racing it is because he owns the team as well. He is very fragile. We tried everything. What you want is only performance.”