Massa exclusive: I want to clear up big misconception about 2008 title legal action

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Felipe Massa is clear in the outcome he wants to achieve from his
legal action over the 2008 World Championship. He is not interested
in money or a payoff, but wants the results amended to formally
declare himself the 2008 World Champion, 15 years after the famous
finish, on this very day November 2nd, at his home Interlagos
track. Massa's action has been spurred on by comments made by
former supremo Bernie Ecclestone, claiming he, along with
then-race director Charlie Whiting and then-FIA President Max
Mosley knew during the 2008 season of Renault's race-fixing in
Singapore and opted to keep it quiet to protect the brand of F1.
The next major deadline in the case will be November 15th when a
final deadline for the FIA and Formula One Management (FOM) will be
reached to hand over documents to Massa's legal team. To paraphrase
former US Senator Howard Baker in the impeachment trial against
President Richard Nixon over Watergate in 1974, Massa's team are
seeking to find out “What did Ecclestone, Whiting and Mosley know
and when did they know it.” The Brazilian is now competing in the
national stock car championship having left F1 at the end of 2017,
having taken a step back from his ambassadorial role in the
paddock, but is keen to clear one up big misconception when
RacingNews365 catches up with him. Massa: My case was manipulated
“It is the most important thing that people need to understand,
that before you say: ‘Oh if Felipe wins the case, every
championship that has some grey areas will change,” Massa
exclusively told RacingNews365 when asked if his cases could set a
precedent for the controversial 1994 and 2021 title deciders. “The
only difference between all these championships and what happened
was maybe a mistake [from officials], maybe crashes or maybe a
result that was not corrected by the FIA on the sporting side
because of a technical issue or whatever, these cases were related
to that. “My case is related to manipulation, related to sabotage
and it is a completely different situation. “It is a completely
different situation and my case was investigated as the race in
Singapore was manipulated. “This was a year after, and
unfortunately there was a rule saying that if it was not in the
same year, the result of the championship cannot be changed. “But
then after 15 years, we hear that Bernie Ecclestone said he knew
[about Renault's race-fixing plan in Singapore] in 2008, we hear
that [former race director] Charlie Whiting knew in 2008 and they
didn't do anything to not risk the brand of . “So my case
is a manipulation case, it is not sporting, technical or anything
else. You need to separate the difference between my case and all
of the others. “I think maybe sometimes people don't understand the
difference between what happened in my case in 2008 compared to
maybe the other cases [such as 1994 or 2021].” Massa's first
suspicions What became known as ‘Crash-gate' first became public in
2009 at the Belgian Grand Prix after Piquet Jr had been fired by
the team, with then-FIA President Mosley arranging for senior team
personnel to be interviewed in the Spa paddock. But Massa says his
first suspicions about the true nature of what had gone on came
much earlier in the year. “I started to think about it, because
people started to talk and, you know, I started to hear some
rumours that what happened in Singapore was maybe manipulated,” he
says. “That was maybe March or April 2009, so I spoke with Nelson
Piquet and I asked him, and the way he answered me, I was sure that
he was not telling the truth. “He said: ‘No, I would never do that,
are you crazy?', but I could feel he was not right, he was not
serious and it was not correct what he was saying. “Then we had we
the race in Bahrain at the start of 2009, I was in Dubai, and next
to my hotel Flavio Briatore was having lunch with Jean Alesi, and
because I knew Jean, I sat there for a while with my manager
Nicholas Todt, and I asked Flavio, and the way he answered me, I
was sure he was lying. “I knew that maybe things were not right,
and I always tried to speak to the lawyers from Ferrari, I always
tried to push them to say what happened is not right for us, it is
not correct, but they always pushed back with the rules that the
championship could not be changed. “So I trusted them because I am
not legal[ly minded], but after Bernie said what he said, we put
the legal team to work on the case, and to be honest, all of the
team is very motivated with the case and we definitely believe we
can fight to change the result.”

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