Former Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone says he does not remember giving the interview which has led to a legal challenge from Felipe Massa over the 2008 World Championship outcome.
The conclusion to the 2008 World title battle went down as one of the most dramatic that Formula 1 has ever seen, Lewis Hamilton breaking the hearts of Massa and his home crowd at Interlagos to snatch the crown from their home hero.
But now, some 15 years later, that season is subject to a reported legal battle for Massa.
Bernie Ecclestone does not remember making Felipe Massa comments
The controversy all stems from past quotes attributed to Ecclestone, the boss of Formula 1 at the time, where he had claimed Massa was “cheated” out of the 2008 title due to the implications of that season’s ‘Crashgate’ scandal.
“According to the statutes, we should have cancelled the race in Singapore under these conditions,” Ecclestone told F1-Insider in April.
“That means it would never have happened for the World Championship standings. Then Felipe Massa would have become World Champion and not Lewis Hamilton.
“I still feel sorry for Massa today. He won the final at his home race in Sao Paulo and did everything right.
“He was cheated out of the title he deserved while Hamilton had all the luck in the world and won his first championship. Today I would have arranged things differently.”
But, as Massa and his representatives now reportedly use this claim as grounds for legal action, Ecclestone has drawn a blank when it comes to his memory of speaking these words in such an interview in the first place.
“I don’t remember any of this, to be honest,” Ecclestone told Reuters.
“I don’t remember giving the interview for sure.”
While 2008 proved to be Massa’s only opportunity to become World Champion, Hamilton has since gone on to add another six World title successes to his CV.
After that maiden World Championship with McLaren, Hamilton’s six that followed were achieved as part of the Mercedes team, his 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 titles coming during the era of Mercedes dominance.
Hamilton’s tally of seven World titles sees him sit atop the Formula 1 mountain with Massa’s ex-Ferrari team-mate Michael Schumacher as Formula 1’s only seven-time champs.