Rubens Barrichello has slammed Renault boss Flavio Briatore's personal comments about Nelson Piquet as just as damaging for the image of Formula 1 as the argument over race-fixing itself.
Barrichello is furious that Briatore chose to bring up details about Piquet's private life amid the controversy of last year's Singapore Grand Prix event. Briatore had revealed in a press briefing that Piquet's relationship with him had fractured off track as well as on it, when he stepped into his personal life.
The manner of Briatore's claims has left Barrichello deeply unhappy - even though he is refusing to yet judge whether or not Renault are guilty of race-fixing allegations.
"I have nothing against anyone here, as I want to wait for what the FIA has to say," explained the Brawn GP driver.
"It is a shame for Formula 1, that is all from what happened and from what Briatore said yesterday. That is a shame, it is too much. It is too low a level."
Barrichello said the newly painted helmet that he was using at the Italian Grand Prix was in part a homage to say how much he missed Piquet, and fellow Brazilian Felipe Massa, in F1.
And although he has had his differences with Piquet's father, he said he had nothing but respect for Nelsinho.
When asked if he missed Nelson, Barrichello said: "Nelson Sr? Not a chance! But Nelsinho has always been very respectful I think.
"After all the bad things that Nelson put in the press about myself, Nelsinho has been very, very good to my side, and we have a great respect from each other. I felt sorry for him in a way."
Barrichello also did not rule out the possibility of Piquet still finding a way back into F1, despite the controversy surrounding him.
"In F1 you are remembered from your last result, so people will remember that. But whenever Michael won the races, they forgot he crashed into Damon [Hill] or into this or that. You are as good as your last race, so he could quite clearly come back.
"Now is a bad time, it is bad time in general for him. I think in life, taking myself as an example, you learn from your mistakes and, if you give yourself a chance and you look into the mirror and you like it, you have the chance of doing well. So I think I would use that as an example to be honest."