Former Renault Formula One driver Nelson Piquet Jr. said he bitterly regrets his decision to go along with the plot to create a safety-car period in Singapore last year, and he is relieved that the affair is now over.
In a statement on his website, Piquet also took a swipe at deposed Renault F1 boss Flavio Briatore-- who is still technically his manager.
"I am relieved that the FIA investigation has now been concluded," the Brazilian said. "Those now running the Renault F1 team took the decision, as I did, that it is better that the truth be known and accept the consequences. The most positive thing to come from bringing this to the attention of the FIA is that nothing like it will ever happen again. I bitterly regret my actions to follow the orders I was given [to crash on purpose]. I wish every day that I had not done it.
"I don't know how far my explanation will go to making people understand because, for many, being a racing driver is an amazing privilege, as it was for me. All I can tell you is that my situation at Renault turned into a nightmare. Having dreamed of being a Formula One driver and having worked so hard to get there, I found myself at the mercy of Mr. Briatore. His true character, which had previously only been known to those he had treated like this in the past, is now known [to me].
"Mr. Briatore was my manager as well as the team boss, he had my future in his hands but he cared nothing for it. By the time of the Singapore GP he had isolated me and driven me to the lowest point I had ever reached in my life. Now that I am out of that situation I can not believe that I agreed to the plan, but when it was put to me I felt that I was in no position to refuse. Listening now to Mr. Briatore's reaction to my crash and hearing the comments he has made to the press over the last two weeks, it is clear to me that I was simply being used by him then to be discarded and left to ridicule.
"I have had to learn some very difficult lessons over the last 12 months and reconsider what is valuable in life. What has not changed is my love for Formula One and hunger to race again. I realize that I have to [restart] my career from zero. I can only hope that a team will recognize how badly I was stifled at Renault and give me an opportunity to show what I promised in my career in F3 and GP2. What can be assured is that there will be no driver in Formula One as determined as me to prove myself.
"As my final words on this matter, I would like to repeat that I am so sorry to those who work in Formula One--including the many good people at Renault--the fans and the governing body. I do not expect this to be forgiven or forgotten but at least now people can draw their conclusions based upon what really happened."