Nelson Piquet Jr's Pau European F3 drive off as FIA bars his entry

Nelson Piquet Jr's planned Formula 3 return in Pau this weekend has been called off after his application to race was rejected

Nelson Piquet Jr's Pau European F3 drive off as FIA bars his entry

Inaugural Formula E champion and ex-Formula 1 driver Piquet had been set to make a shock one-off return to the category where he won the British title 12 years ago, driving Carlin's fourth Dallara-Volkswagen in this weekend's European F3 round on the famous French street track.

But an e-vote of the FIA single seater commission decided against allowing the Brazilian to compete, suggesting his participation would be "against the spirit of the championship".

Article 4.7 of the series' sporting regulations states that "any driver application to participate in the championship will be studied by the FIA and accepted or rejected at its absolute discretion".

Alongside his FE commitments with NEXTEV, Piquet is also contesting the World Endurance Championship with Rebellion Racing and is a veteran of 28 F1 grands prix starts with Renault in 2008-09.

"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."

A Carlin statement said the news came as a surprise given "Piquet Jr meeting all entry requirements and the FIA initially announcing Piquet Jr's participation in the event and accepting entry payment".

Team owner Trevor Carlin believes the Brazilian's absence will be "a huge loss" for the Pau Grand Prix.

"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."

Piquet's F3 attempt follows a one-off Indy Lights appearance in Toronto last year - also with Carlin - when he took pole while standing in for fellow ex-F1 driver Max Chilton.

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