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Nelson Piquet Jr gives up on Formula 1 for Nascar drive

Nelson Piquet Jr
Piquet's reputation in Formula 1 was tarnished by his deliberate crash

Former Renault driver Nelson Piquet Jr will not return to Formula 1 in 2010 after announcing he will be racing in the American Nascar series next season.

The Brazilian was at the heart of the "crash-gate" scandal which shocked F1 after admitting he deliberately crashed at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

Piquet, 24, had been linked to the handful of F1 seats still on offer.

But he said on his website: "My first 18 months in F1 did not go as planned. So I have chosen a route in America."

Piquet tested for the Red Horse Racing pick-up truck racing team last November but has not specified which category he will race in next season.

A return to truck racing seems the most likely option ahead of the second-division Nationwide or top-tier Sprint Cup events, although his spokeswoman told BBC Sport he was still "firming up the details".

Piquet added: "I have spent the last few months carefully evaluating my options for this year.

I have found a good group of people that are really willing to help me in my career

Nelson Piquet Jr

"I had to choose a path and it was a difficult decision to make.

"Being successful in Formula 1 was always my goal but I have learnt that happiness is just as important as ambition.

"Nascar is hugely challenging and I will be putting everything I have into this.

"I have found a good group of people that are really willing to help me in my career and I am grateful that they are there for me.

"I think it will be a positive environment and a good life experience."

Piquet caused one of the biggest scandals in F1 history when, after being dropped by Renault, he revealed he had been asked by senior figures in the team to deliberately crash to help team-mate Fernando Alonso win the race.

Renault were given a suspended two-year ban while former team boss Flavio Briatore was banned for life with former director of engineering, Pat Symonds, suspended for five years.

A French court overturned Briatore and Symonds' bans last week but motorsport's governing body, the FIA, has since appealed against that decision.

Piquet was granted immunity for bringing the scandal to light but he has not been successful in finding another seat in F1.

The son of three-time world champion Nelson Piquet began his F1 career as a reserve driver for Renault in 2007 and achieved a best result of second in the 2008 German Grand Prix.

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see also
FIA will launch Briatore appeal
11 Jan 10 |  Formula 1
Piquet Jr considers truck racing
07 Oct 09 |  Formula 1

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