Nelson Piquet Jr's return to F3 blocked by FIA

© XPB 

Nelson Piquet Jr's one-off return to the Formula 3 has been blocked by a vote of the FIA's Single-Seater Commission.

Earlier this week, Piquet had been announced as joining this weekend's event at Pau with Carlin alongside the team's three regular drivers Alessio Lorandi, Ryan Tveter and Peter Li Zhi Cong. Piquet's brother Pedro is also competing in the event for the rival Van Amersfoort Racing outfit.

But the Commission cited Article 4.7 of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship in rejecting Piquet's application to race, which states "any driver application to participate in the Championship will be studied by the FIA and accepted or rejected at its absolute discretion."

The former F1 driver and reigning Formula E champion was the British F3 champion in 2004 and wanted to use the opportunity to gain experience ahead of an appearance in the Macau Grand Prix later this year.

“I’m extremely disappointed that the FIA turned down the application down from Carlin for me to race,” said Piquet in a statement.

"I think it would have been a great experience for everyone involved and I was so excited to race this weekend – I haven’t driven an F3 car for over 10 years and the challenge was all on my side.

"It would have been good for the regular series guys to compare themselves to a more experienced driver," he added. "If they beat me, they look like heroes. If I beat them, it’s all learning. I was excited to race against a group of very professional, good racing drivers.

"All I wanted to do this weekend was race and it’s a real shame that I’ll be watching instead. Good luck to Carlin and to all the drivers in the F3 Championship."

In its statement explaining the decision, the FIA emphasised that it had "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.

"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 president of the Single Seater Commission, former Ferrari F1 team principal Stefano Domenicali, added: "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," he continued. "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.

"Therefore, we decided that we could not accept the application presented by Carlin," Domenicali concluded.

REPORT: Rosberg heads Raikkonen by 0.25s in FP2

Drivers react to Red Bull seat swap

Romain Grosjean column: Spain will show the real Haas

Chris Medland's 2016 Spanish Grand Prix preview

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter