Nelson Piquet was granted immunity by the FIA for revealing the race-fix scenario developed between himself, Renault boss Flavio Briatore and Director of Engineering Pat Symonds at last year's Singapore Grand Prix.
While Briatore was banned for life from FIA-related series
and Symonds received a similar five-year sanction by the World Motor Sport Council at its hearing on the matter last Monday, Piquet – whose crash was part of the plan's timing in helping teammate Fernando Alonso
to victory – is free to find a Formula One race seat if one is offered.
At Thursday's FIA press conference ahead of this year's Singaporean round, the drivers sitting in front of the media shared their thoughts regarding Piquet's uncomfortable situation.
"The thing is that on the one hand without him, the whole thing wouldn't have come out, so he helped to take these two people out of the sport who created such an illegal incident," said the Williams team's Nico Rosberg. "But on the other hand he was just as much involved as they were, so it's a bit of a difficult one, I guess."
"The situation that happened is very complex," agreed Red Bull driver Mark Webber. "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."
Piquet is of course hoping his actions will be forgiven in light of the stressful situation he was going through at the time, but the fact remains that the former Renault driver participated in a dangerous action which went against the spirit of any sport.
The young Brazilian obviously regrets his role in the cheating conspiracy and is trying hard for a second chance in Formula One, but the damage to his reputation still stands in the way - for the time being at least.
"He admitted it himself but I think it will be difficult for him to get back after that kind of thing," Kimi Raikkonen
considered. "I don't want to get involved in the whole situation."
"All I can say is that I wish him well," Lewis Hamilton said. "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."