Felipe Massa says he remains suspicious that Fernando Alonso did know about the deliberate crash plot at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, despite his denials – but has vowed not to let it affect his future relationship with the Spaniard.
Massa spoke to Brazilian media during a get-together in Sao Paulo on Wednesday and, during the lunch, he said he was in no doubt that Alonso had to have been aware of the plans for Nelson Piquet to crash deliberately in the Singapore event last year to try and help him win.
"In all, he is the least of the problem," Massa was quoted as saying by the Brazilian media about Alonso's involvement in the affair. "It was the team and Nelson – but Alonso was part of the problem. He knew. We can not know it [but] of course he knew. [It's an] absolute certainty."
The comments created a huge media storm in Brazil ahead of this weekend's grand prix, and Massa and Ferrari moved to clarify the remarks in a statement issued on the Maranello team's official website on Wednesday evening.
In it, Massa said that his comments relate to a feeling he has rather than being based on facts, and he totally respects the FIA's findings from its investigations that Alonso was not aware of the crash plot.
"What I've said is the outcome of a hunch I've had and is not based on any concrete evidence," Massa said in his statement. "The FIA World Council announced that there was no indication that Fernando may have been informed of what had happened and I respect this outcome.
"Obviously, I'm very disappointed about what transpired last year in Singapore: I have already said several times what I thought about it and now it's time to close that chapter and to look to the future.
"What is certain is that this episode will not mar in any way the relationship I'll have with Fernando when we will be teammates."