Piquet denied F3 race entry for Pau

The story of Nelson Piquet Jr’s return to Formula 3 for a one-off race in Pau has become a bit odd as the FIA have denied his application to race saying:

“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,” said single seater commission president Stefano Domenicali.

“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.”

Piquet was to race for Team Carlin in their Dallara-Volkswagen challenger for the race and team owner Trevor Carlin said:

“Having been directly involved in running Formula 3 teams for 30 years, I am more than aware of the importance Formula 3 has in developing young drivers,” he said.

“Nelson’s one-off participation in the series this weekend would have been a great stimulus for the drivers around him and shone a positive light on the championship and drivers.

“In no way was it meant to discredit the championship or its ethos.”

I have to agree with Trevor on this one as I am slightly stumped as to why the FIA wouldn’t see Piquet’s inclusion in the race as a boost for the series and the other drivers in the series. Sure, it’s a program intended to develop young talent and Piquet has passed his sell-by date on that front but the event was an interesting opportunity for the young talent on the grid to measure up to a veteran.

I would have thought it may increase TV viewership and it struck me as the type of thing that some NASCAR stars do when they go dirt track racing etc. The NASCAR fans love it. Would the FIA deny a Carlin seat for Pau if it was Lewis Hamilton or Fernando Alonso? I’m not suggesting that Nelson is on par with either nor that he would have the pull of the two F1 champs but you get my point.