(GMM) Retired Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa ultimately scrapped his decision to steer clear of his home Brazilian GP.
Amid his threatened legal action against the sport and the governing FIA over the ‘crashgate’ scandal in a bid to be retrospectively crowned the 2008 world champion, F1 asked the Brazilian to temporarily hang up his hat as F1 Ambassador.
However, F1 actually didn’t ban the 42-year-old Sao Paulo native from attending the Interlagos circuit this weekend, insisting his low profile was a personal choice.
But while he was not in his usual role as F1 ambassador at the track on Saturday and Sunday, Massa admitted he ultimately could not stay away as more of a mere spectator – albeit one with a paddock and grid pass.
“I couldn’t avoid coming here at all. This is my place,” he smiled to Sky Deutschland and DPA news agency.
Massa, though, insists that his presence at the Brazilian GP should not be interpreted as a sign that his legal threats against the sports are now ending.
“I am fighting for justice in sport,” he said on Sunday.
“We are waiting for the FIA and FOM to answer the (lawyer’s) letter.”
November 3, 2023
(GMM) Sao Paulo native Felipe Massa will not be at the Sao Paulo GP this weekend, despite officially serving as a Formula 1 ambassador.
The former Ferrari driver is in the midst of legal action against F1 and the FIA, citing recent comments by the sport’s ex-supremo Bernie Ecclestone suggesting key officials knew about the 2008 ‘crashgate’ scandal before that year’s world champion – Lewis Hamilton – was crowned.
42-year-old Massa’s legal team has granted the sport’s current bosses more time to respond to his claims, and since the new saga emerged he has agreed not to attend races.
That will also apply this weekend at Massa’s local circuit, Interlagos.
But the Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport says it was his decision to sit out the Brazilian GP, even though F1 or the FIA did not specifically invite him or ask him to stay away.
Massa’s legal case involves potential financial compensation for missing out on the 2008 world championship – but he also seeks to take away seven time title winner Hamilton’s first crown.
Hamilton, though, chose not to comment on Massa’s quest at Interlagos on Thursday.
“I honestly pay no attention to it,” he insisted.
But he insists he now has a very close relationship with the people of Brazil, despite initially being “public enemy number 1” in the wake of the incredible 2008 finale.
Hamilton, who walked into the paddock on Thursday in a striking outfit paying tribute to the great Ayrton Senna, said: “It’s just such a beautiful culture, and the track is iconic.
“They don’t built circuits like this anymore.”