David Coulthard has expressed both surprise and frustration that Nelson Piquet Jr was not punished for his part in the Singapore race-fixing row that marred the second running of the event at the end of September.
The Scot, who swapped a race seat at Red Bull for a role on the BBC
's commentary team this season, joined the chorus calling for some retribution to handed out to Piquet, who admitted to deliberately crashing out of F1's inaugural night race on the orders of team heads Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds. While the F1 veterans were slung out of the sport, however, the Brazilian was given immunity by FIA president Max Mosley for blowing the whistle on the scam. Piquet had been dropped by the Renault team just weeks before the revelations came to light.
Coulthard claims that the whole incident soured F1 at a time when new regulations had made the 2009 competition interesting, and insists that he will be amazed if Piquet manages to return to the top flight, but claims that he should have been punished to send out the correct message about cheating.
"I think FIA should have punished Piquet too," the Scot told the Indian media on a promotional trip to Mumbai, "He was equally guilty as any other. It was really bad - bad for F1, bad for the fans. The revelations have shaken many, including me. I don't know how anyone can crash an F1 car - all through my career I was trying to avoid a crash!
"I will be surprised if he gets an F1 drive again. His reputation is tarnished, and I don't think he will get a second chance. Nelson has to take more responsibility for his actions. It's easy to simply blame the boss. I know he has taken it too far."
Coulthard is due to return to the cockpit of an F1 car when he performs a demonstration in one of the Red Bull team's machine on a new sea bridge in Mumbai tomorrow [Sunday], while Piquet's future could lie in America, after it was revealed that he is to test a NASCAR Truck for Red Horse Racing [see story here
]. The Brazilian could yet defy DC's claims that he would not return to F1, however, having been mentioned in connection with a couple of the new teams due to take to the grid in 2010 [see story here