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This year, we experienced just how chaotic the Brazilian Grand Prix can be. But for a nation so in love with the pinnacle of motorsports, the championship drought for Brazil has lasted far too long, for 32 years to be precise! The last Brazilian to win the World Champion is still Ayrton Senna, but history could have altered its course with Felipe Massa at the helm if only the crash-gate incident had been brought to light earlier.

However, the story was put back into gear after Bernie Ecclestone admitted to Nelson Piquet Jr’s intentional crash, prompting Felipe Massa to launch a lawsuit against the legitimacy of Lewis Hamilton’s 2008 world title, an accolade which would have been Massa’s if there was no foul play on Fernando Alonso and Renault‘s behalf. But the Brazilian’s suspicions were fed by the very person who helped Alonso win his world titles.

Felipe Massa has a fateful encounter with Flavio Briatore and Piquet Jr. after the 2008 crisis

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The most tragic moment for Brazilian fans in recent memory was the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix. Felipe Massa had crossed the checkered flag as the first Brazilian World Champion since Senna. But it was short-lived after Timo Glock tumbled down the order under heavy downpour, leaving Lewis Hamilton as the ultimate winner.

He had already come to terms with such a heavy loss because Renault’s treachery had yet to come out of hiding. Before the 2009 season began, Massa and Ferrari had no reason to believe that the crash-gate incident was premeditated. But in an ironic twist, it was both Fernando Alonso’s former boss and his teammate who had set the alarm bells off in Felipe Massa’s mind!

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Whilst Flavio Briatore was the one to invite Fernando Alonso to join Aston Martin’s charge, the Spaniard’s manager could not handle the pressure from Felipe Massa at the lunch table. Reliving what happened in Bahrain, Massa spoke on the Track Limits podcast and was quoted by GPBlog, “At the beginning of that season, many people started to talk a bit more about it. The proof wasn’t there yet. I was in Bahrain; I met [Flavio] Briatore in a restaurant. I was with Nicholas Todt, and he was with Jean Alesi. We went to lunch together, and then I asked him if the crash was on purpose.” 

Felipe Massa got an opportunity to confront the men allegedly behind the entire fiasco. He added, “From the way he answered, it was fake: ‘No, we would never do that.’ But I saw it in his face. I didn’t believe it. Only after that, I thought maybe something was fishy.”–Briatore’s nervous behavior caused Massa to believe something was going on, but when the Brazilian asked Nelson Piquet Junior about the incident a few races later, their shared nervousness confirmed Massa’s suspicions.

Even though Fernando Alonso and his close aide are of little to no help for Felipe Massa’s title campaign, he expects the Maranello outfit to come to his rescue.

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Massa expects Ferrari to extend their support

In an exclusive interview with racingnews365, Felipe Massa shared his sentiments regarding the Scuderia’s aid in trying to reclaim the 2008 title, one that should have gone to Ferrari as well. The Brazilian reflected, “I am still expecting to be together and have support because, in the end, we lost the championship together,” – even though Ferrari won the constructor’s title in 2008, they would have to wait until Kimi Raikkonen for the title to be brought home to Maranello.

Massa reflected on the undying love he has for the Scarlet team irrespective of what could have been, “I love Ferrari, it is part of my heart and I am a big Ferrari fan and will be all my life for everything [that happened] during my time with the team, with the fans, the opportunities and the dreams that I had.” – If Ferrari would join in on Massa’s claim for the 2008 title, things could get messy and that is usually not Ferrari’s way of doing things.

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WATCH THIS STORY: Felipe Massa’s Attempt to Take Back the 2008 F1 Championship Explained

It’s safe to say that whether it’s Felipe Massa who comes out on top or Lewis Hamilton gets to keep his World Title, even 15 years after the fateful day at Interlagos, the circuit creates the most dramatic races to this day!

Written by

Kabir Bajaj Ahmed

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Kabir Bajaj Ahmed is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports. As a child, it was the Top Gear Ayrton Senna tribute that drew him into the world of motorsports. While obtaining his Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication, his passion for motorsport grew.
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Edited by

Akash Pandhare