Piquet not expecting forgiveness

Nelson Piquet has said he does not expect forgiveness for his involvement in the fixing of last year's Singapore Grand Prix, as he admits he must now start his career from zero

The Brazilian testified at the FIA's World Motor Sport Council hearing into the Renault race-fix affair in Paris on Monday, but left the proceedings without commenting to the assembled press.

However, in a statement that was issued shortly after it was announced that Renault had been given a two-year suspended ban, Piquet said he has happy the matter had now been brought to an end.

"I am relieved that the FIA investigation has now been concluded," explained the Brazilian. "Those now running the Renault F1 Team took the decision, as I did, that it is better that the truth be known and accept the consequences. The most positive thing to come from bringing this to the attention of the FIA is that nothing like it will ever happen again.

"I bitterly regret my actions to follow the orders I was given. I wish every day that I had not done it. I don't know how far my explanation will go to making people understand because for many being a racing driver is an amazing privilege, as it was for me. All I can tell you is that my situation at Renault turned into a nightmare.

"Having dreamed of being a Formula 1 driver and having worked so hard to get there, I found myself at the mercy of Mr Briatore. His true character, which had previously only been known to those he had treated like this in the past, is now known."

The nature of Piquet's deteriorating relationship with Briatore only came to light when he issued a stinging attack on the former Renault team principal after he was dismissed from the team shortly after the Hungarian Grand Prix.

And Piquet said that his time working with Briatore had been a living nightmare, and the worst period of his life.

"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 that 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 that I was simply being used by him then to be discarded and left to ridicule."

Although Piquet's involvement in the affair makes it unlikely he will be able to make a return to F1, he has said he still has a strong desire to return to the top level.

"I have had to learn some very difficult lessons over the last 12 months and reconsider what is valuable in life," he said. "What has not changed is my love for Formula 1 and hunger to race again. I realise that I have to start my career from zero.

"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. What can be assured is that there will be no driver in Formula 1 as determined as me to prove myself.

"As my final words on this matter, I would like to repeat that I am so sorry to those who work in Formula 1 (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."

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