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HomesportMassa says deadline for F1 and FIA is the last one

Massa says deadline for F1 and FIA is the last one

SAO PAULO: Formula One and the governing FIA will get no further deadline extension to respond to threatened court action over the 2008 world championship, Brazilian Felipe Massa told Reuters on Thursday (Nov 2).

In an interview ahead of this weekend’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix, the ex-Ferrari driver said he expected to hear from both parties by Nov 15 and hoped their answer would be “what we consider to be the right thing”.

Massa alleges a “conspiracy” denied him the 2008 title.

A mid-October deadline had been set for a response to an Aug 15 Letter Before Claim, but the FIA and F1 requested an extension until Nov 15 in order to complete an internal investigation, according to Massa’s lawyers.

That was the second extension granted by his legal team.

“We are waiting for their response to see if the case will have to go to court,” said the 42-year-old Massa.

“Logically, there are no more requests, from now on there will be no such thing as ‘give us one more month.’ That will be the limit and a decision will have to be made.”

Britain’s Lewis Hamilton won the 2008 title, his first of seven, by a single point in a year that became notorious after Renault driver Nelson Piquet Jr revealed in 2009 he had been told to crash deliberately at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Massa, who retired in 2017, was leading in Singapore when fellow-Brazilian Piquet crashed into the wall on lap 14 of the 61-lap race, triggering a safety-car period.

COVERED UP

Massa now says the race should have been cancelled because the sport’s leaders allegedly knew before the end of the season what had happened but covered it up.

Two of the key figures from that time, former FIA race director Charlie Whiting and then-FIA president Max Mosley, have died. Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is 93.

Massa said the fact the FIA and Formula One had asked for multiple deadline extensions meant they were taking his actions seriously.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, who took office at the end of 2021, told Reuters last month that Massa had been in touch and he was leaving the matter with the FIA’s legal team.

“I answered him saying ‘It’s up to you, you do what you think is right for you but the FIA will have to protect themselves’,” Sulayem said.

Massa confirmed he sent a message, but said he had never heard back from Ben Sulayem.

“I think the FIA should protect the sport, not protect themselves. The right thing for them to do is to think about protecting the sport, which didn’t happen 15 years ago,” he added.

Massa still hoped Ferrari would back him.

“I know a lot of people at Ferrari – all the mechanics, engineers and fans are on my side,” he said. “There is no reason for Ferrari not to be on my side as well. Right now that support has not yet happened but I really believe and hope I’ll get it.”

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