Felipe Massa has hit out on Brazilian TV, claiming that he was ‘robbed’ of last year’s drivers world title because Renault cheated.
“All of what happened was robbery – but regarding the race nothing has happened, the result remains the same. This is not right. The robbery changed the outcome of a championship and I lost (the title),”
Massa says that the result of the race should be annulled, which would mean that Lewis Hamilton would lose the six points he gained for his third place finish and Massa would be world champion.
Massa compares the situation to the Italian soccer scandal of a few years ago where Juventus were found guilty of bribing referees and were demoted out of the Italian premier football league, Serie A.
“I have seen in football how a referee took money to throw a game and all the suspect results were annulled. In Italy, Juventus were relegated. But here (in Formula One) they just sent Briatore home. I don’t get it and I don’t think it was right.”
I can understand his anger and I think most people will be sympathetic, but at the same time, he would probably not be saying this if he had won the race, as he was on target to do and Fernando Alonso had finished second as a result of the Renault ‘fix’.
Massa lost the race because when he pitted under the safety car, his pit crew messed up his stop and he was released from his pit box with the fuel hose still attached. That could have happened even if the safety car had not been deployed for Nelson Piquet’s phoney crash. The traffic light release system, as the team accepted after the race, had a human flaw.
On Massa’s recovery, team boss Stefano Domenicali said yesterday that, “He is recovering very, very well, because he is already in the second step of his training progress. He is doing now some karting activity and everything is running very smoothly and he should be back in Europe next week in order to do some activity on the simulator and then we will see after that what will be the next step.
“But at the moment to make something clear, I saw some speculation that Felipe could possibly come back in Brazil, but I can exclude it categorically.”
That does not exclude a return at the final race in Abu Dhabi. There is a suggestion from a team source that he may test a car shortly, maybe a 2007 Ferrari, as Michael Schumacher did in July or maybe a lower category single seater, to see how he is progressing.
There are risks in him coming back too soon, as a below par performance could cause doubt about his fitness for 2010. There are many people in the paddock who feel that Ferrari is taking a risk by dropping Raikkonen and hoping that Massa will be at 100%. But Ferrari seem very confident that everything will be fine.