As the 'crash-gate' scandal ended on Monday, a contrite Nelson Piquet Jr said he now wants to resurrect his Formula One career. Having blown the whistle on his ousted bosses Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds, the 23-year-old Brazilian was not ...
As the 'crash-gate' scandal ended on Monday, a contrite Nelson Piquet Jr said he now wants to resurrect his Formula One career.
Having blown the whistle on his ousted bosses Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds, the 23-year-old Brazilian was not punished by the World Motor Sport Council on Monday despite admitting to crashing on purpose during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.
The immunity granted to him by the FIA means he is now technically free to look for a new employer in the paddock, but many observers believe he is damaged goods.
"Sorry about that, now who wants to hire me?" British pundit and some-time official F1 interviewer James Allen faux-quoted Piquet as saying.
Allen was referring to the media statement issued by Piquet after the Paris hearing, in which the sacked Renault driver said he "bitterly" regretted the conspiracy and admitted he hopes to race in F1 again.
"I realise that I have to start my career from zero," said Piquet Jr. "I can only hope that 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."
If commentator and former Grand Prix driver Martin Brundle was a team owner, however, he would not be willing to forgive so quickly.
"I'm massively unimpressed with little Piquet," said the Briton, according to the Mirror. "So are many others in the paddock."
Brundle doubts Piquet will ever be seen again at the wheel of a Formula One car. "How do you ever sell him to a sponsor?" he wondered.
"He didn't deliver at Renault, he wasn't fast enough, that's why he was released and that's why he has dropped hand grenades into the system ever since."
The manner in which Piquet emerged from the scandal scot-free is highly controversial, given that if the Brazilian had simply said 'no' to Briatore and Symonds, the conspiracy could never have been effected.
"If you ask me personally, I believe the punishment of Briatore seems extreme while Piquet committed a serious error with a dangerous precedent set," Spanish motor racing chief Carlos Gracia told the AS newspaper.
"I don't understand how the executor can be pardoned," he added.
Independent FIA presidential candidate Ari Vatanen agrees.
"The immunity system is very dangerous," the Finn told the BBC. "I think all people should face results of their actions. The final decision was for him to do it or not to do it and he can't escape that responsibility."