Piquet Jnr hoping for F1 return

Piquet Jnr hoping for F1 return

Nelson Piquet Junior is hoping to be given another shot at Formula One, even though he knows there will not be many likely to forgive or forget.

The World Motor Sport Council upheld their part of the bargain by granting Piquet Jnr immunity from individual sanction in exchange for volunteering his evidence in the ’crashgate’ saga.

That evidence saw Renault permanently disqualified from F1, albeit suspended for two years, with former team principal Flavio Briatore handed a lifetime ban from FIA-sanctioned events.

Drivers under his management have also been told they will not be granted a Superlicence – the document that allows them to compete – should they continue to associate themselves with the Italian.

As Piquet Jnr is one of those contracted to the 59-year-old, along with Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Heikki Kovalainen and Romain Grosjean, the Brazilian is now in a position to extricate himself from the deal.

Once achieved, the 24-year-old would like to think he has not been tainted by the events of the past few weeks, and that another team will realise his potential.

However, it is hard to imagine any team eager to take on a driver willing to crash a car to save his career – no matter the pressure and circumstances – as Piquet Jnr did in last season’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Despite that, he said: “I have had to learn some very difficult lessons over the last 12 months and reconsider what is valuable in life.

“What has not changed is my love for Formula One and hunger to race again. I realise I have to start my career from zero.

“I can only hope a team will recognise how badly I was stifled at Renault and give me an opportunity to show what I promised in my career in F3 and GP2.

“What can be assured is there will be no driver in Formula One as determined as me to prove myself.”

Piquet Jnr, in Paris for the extraordinary meeting of the WMSC to confirm the statements he provided on the incident, “apologised unreservedly” to the body for his part in the conspiracy.

Extending his regret after the hearing, he added: “I am so sorry to those who work in Formula One – including the many good people at Renault – the fans and the governing body.

“I do not expect this to be forgiven or forgotten, but at least now people can draw their conclusions based upon what really happened.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Piquet Jnr pulled no punches in showing his contempt for Briatore, a man he described as his “executioner” in the wake of his sacking from Renault in early August.

Explaining his time at Renault had turned into “a nightmare” and that he found himself “at the mercy” of Briatore, he now feels the truth has been unearthed.

“His true character, which had previously only been known to those he had treated like this in the past, is now known,” said Piquet Jnr.

“Mr Briatore was my manager, as well as the team boss. He had my future in his hands, but he cared nothing for it.

“By the time of the Singapore GP he had isolated me and driven me to the lowest point I had ever reached in my life.

“Now that I am out of that situation I cannot believe that I agreed to the plan, but when it was put to me I felt I was in no position to refuse.

“Listening now to Mr Briatore’s reaction to my crash, and hearing the comments he has made to the press over the last two weeks it is clear to me I was simply being used by him then to be discarded and left to ridicule.”

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