The FIA has rejected Nelson Piquet Jr's application to compete in the European Formula 3 championship this weekend at Pau.
The former F1 driver and reigning Formula E champion currently competes in the World Endurance Championship and the all-electric series, but was set to make an unexpected one-off appearance in Euro F3 for Carlin at the blue riband event.
Piquet Jr, the British F3 champion in 2004, had hoped to use the outing in preparation for a drive at the Macau Grand Prix later this year but has seen his application blocked by the FIA as he does not meet its sporting criteria for the series.
The FIA has stressed it aims to promote Euro F3 as 'one of the main development categories on the way to F1' and has cited article 4.7 of the sporting regulations which gives the power to accept or reject driver applications.
Therefore, the championship organisers do not see Piquet Jr's application in 'the spirit of the championship' to allow the reigning Formula E champion, LMP1 driver and former F1 star to drive in the junior category.
“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,” Stefano Domenicali, the FIA's Single Seater Commission President. “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.”