Is Nelson Piquet Jr really too old and too experienced for F3 return!?

  • Nelson Piquet Jr at FIA prizegiving ceremony

The world motorsport governing body FIA rejects the application of Carlin and Nelson Piquet Jr. to enter the next round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship this weekend at Pau.

The sensational F3 comeback of the reigning Formula E champion and a former F1 driver has announced few days ago, but in the meantime, the FIA and its Single-Seater Commission decided to refuse Piquet’s planned return.

The decision and negative answer were explained according to the Article 4.7 of the Formula 3 Championship. To skip citing the article and say it in short, FIA sent a message to Piquet: You’re too old and too experienced to compete against youngsters in the F3 cars.

Carlin's F3 driver line-up: Ryan Tveter, Alessio Lorandi, Li Zhi Cong and Raoul Hyman

Carlin’s F3 driver line-up: Ryan Tveter, Alessio Lorandi, Li Zhi Cong and Raoul Hyman

Carlin team wanted to use Piquet as a mentor for its regular driver line-up which consists of Alessio Lorandi, Ryan Tveter and Zhi Cong Li. But, unlike some other teams, Carlin planned to have young drivers’ mentor not just in a garage but on the track.

Carlin team planned that Nelson Jr  would compete against their drivers and all other regular F3 entrants, including Nelson’s  younger brother Pedro. The intention was to teach those youngsters some of the precious driving skills which Nelson Jr possess. Well, some would say it was maybe a good idea but FIA doesn’t think so.

FIA Formula 3 European Championship, 2016

There is no place for Nelson Piquet Jr on the Formula 3 grid

Here’s the full FIA statement about Nelson Piquet Jr case:

The FIA has gone to great lengths in the last 12 months to establish the championship as one of the main developmental categories on the way to Formula One, introducing measures such as a maximum number of seasons in the championship (three) for any driver, as well as not allowing an existing champion to defend their title.

Under Article 4.7 of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship Sporting Regulations, “any driver application to participate in the Championship will be studied by the FIA and accepted or rejected at its absolute discretion”.

With the above strategic direction in mind, believed it would contravene the spirit of the championship for the FIA to approve the application to field such a highly-credentialed and experienced driver as Nelson Piquet Jr – the reigning FIA Formula E champion, LMP1 driver in the FIA World Endurance Championship, as well as 28 races in Formula One.

The FIA’s Single-Seater Commission President, Stefano Domenicali said: “We cannot deny that we were pleased that a driver with the talent and the achievements of Nelson Piquet Jr has expressed a desire to race in a round of the FIA F3 European Championship at a prestigious circuit such as Pau.

“However, we must keep in mind the spirit of the Championship – as one of the primary steps on the ladder to F1.

“Therefore, we decided that we could not accept the application presented by Carlin.

“This season the FIA introduced new eligibility criteria with the specific intent to define the characteristics of the FIA F3 European Championship more precisely. Today’s decision is a logical consequence of these measures.”


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