While Nelson Piquet Jr attempts to resurrect his career following the race fixing scandal at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, the Brazilian's rivals have warned that it won't be easy for the former Renault man to make a return to the sport.
Piquet blew the whistle on what happened during F1's inaugural night race, where he was told to crash deliberately and force a Safety Car period which ultimately allowed team-mate Fernando Alonso to win the race.
While Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds paid a heavy price for their part in the incident, with the FIA hitting both with heavy bans from the sport, Piquet was granted immunity in return for giving evidence in front of the World Motor Sport Council and will now seek to kick-start his career again – having admitted following Monday's hearing that he would be forced to start 'from zero'.
However, his former rivals warned that it wouldn't be easy for the former British F3 title winner to make a return when the topic was raised during the Thursday press conference in Singapore.
“The situation that happened is very complex,” Red Bull's Mark Webber said. “Again, I'm not really in a position to really understand. I only see what you guys see. Whether he should get a big penalty or not is not that easy to comment on. I think enough damage has been done to him. First of all, he got himself in a situation that of course he regrets. That's what he did and that's what he has to live with. I think it's very difficult for him to come back.”
“He admitted it himself but I think it will be difficult for him to get back after that kind of thing,” Kimi Raikkonen added. “It's not something I want to be involved in. If he comes back, it's going to be good for him, if not maybe there is a reason for it.”
Prior to the race weekend, current drivers' champion Lewis Hamilton said he felt that Piquet could still make a return although the Briton – who beat Piquet to the GP2 crown back in 2006 – said it wouldn't be easy.
“All I can say is that I wish him well,” he said. “I was just trying to be positive for him because I know how tough it can be in tough situations and I'm sure he and his family don't feel so great right now, so all I can do is send some positive energy and hope the best for them.”