Piquet Jr refused F3 return by FIA

Ex-F1 driver and defending Formula E champion Nelson Piquet Jr will not return to F3 this weekend after the FIA rejected Carlin’s application.

Piquet had been set for a shock return to the junior category with Carlin, who the Brazilian raced for during a one-off appearance in the Indy Lights series in Toronto last year. But his first F3 appearance since winning the title in 2004 was blocked by the FIA after it decided the request was against the spirit of the championship.

Alongside his 2014-2015 Formula E crown, Piquet’s experience as an LMP1 driver in the World Endurance Championship, as well as having contested 28 grands prix for Renault between 2008 and 2009, was seen to contravene the series’ values.

In the last 12 months the FIA has introduced measures that stop drivers from participating for more than three seasons in the championship and does not allow an existing champion to defend their title. As a result Piquet’s return to F3 — which would have seen him compete against younger brother Pedro at the iconic street circuit — has been blocked.

Former Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali, who is now the FIA’s Single Seater Commision President, 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.”

He added: “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.”