Time for Formula 1 Carnival. São Paulo is always good for drama. Only this time there is no local pilot at the start. There are reasons for this. Another wants the 2008 title retroactively.
The drivers love the track, the fans love the drivers, the Autódromo José Carlos Pace breathes Formula 1 history. A place made for great drama and triumph. 800 meters above sea level, in the middle of a lively residential area. São Paulo practically never disappoints; in addition to the thrilling course, you can also rely on the spectacle thanks to the weather. There’s just one thing the home fans are missing: their own idol.
A country that produced drivers like Ayrton Senna and three-time world champion Nelson Piquet is without a regular driver. After all, Aston Martin announced the extension of its contract with Felipe Drugovich as test and replacement driver for the coming year, just in time for the Interlagos PS carnival.
“Europe dominates motorsport”
The 23-year-old former Formula 2 champion also knows why it is so difficult for Brazilians. “Motorsport is dominated by Europe,” he emphasized. For a young pilot from South America this means: “You have to travel around the world, you don’t see your family often. It’s pretty difficult if you’re not from Europe.”
The fact that 19-year-old Gabriel Bortoleto recently won the Formula 3 title fueled hopes of a Brazilian comeback on the starting grid at the home race. The last person there in São Paulo was Felipe Massa. Similar to his compatriot Rubens Barrichello, Massa’s Formula 1 biography was only limited to helping. The big dream of the title remained unfulfilled.
But not if the 42-year-old Paulista and his lawyers have their way. They want to challenge the World Cup standings 15 years ago because of the scandalous race in Singapore in 2008 and are still waiting for a reaction from Formula 1 management and the International Automobile Federation before possibly going to civil court.
Massa wants the world title afterwards
There was a staged accident in the race, and Massa ultimately remained without a point due to the course of the race and a serious pit stop mistake. And in the finale on his home track, victory wasn’t enough either. With his overtaking maneuver in the last few meters against the then Toyota driver Timo Glock, Lewis Hamilton gave Massa, his family in the Ferrari pits and the Brazilian fans a brutal emotional collision.
“It was crazy back then, I felt like public enemy number 1,” said Hamilton, remembering what happened back then. When asked about Massa’s attempt to subsequently win the World Championship, the drivers remained silent; Hamilton simply replied: “I don’t pay any attention to it.”
Even in the Brazilian newspapers, Massa’s attempt to recapture the World Cup, who will probably not be on the track for the Grand Prix, played no role. Instead, the upcoming final of the Copa Libertadores on Saturday in Rio between Fluminense and Argentina’s cult club Boca Juniors tended to dominate the sports headlines. Football with domestic participation beats Formula 1 without regular drivers.
Brazil wants to make Formula 1 history again
Those who now become idols for the fans raved about the country and its people. Like, above all, Hamilton. After all, the 38-year-old Brit has been an honorary citizen of Brazil for a year. And on Thursday he appeared at the track in a kind of Brazil and Ayrton Senna tribute outfit: “He was such a big hero for many of us.”
Senna needed eight attempts to win his home race. In 1991 the time had come. Severely marked and completely exhausted after having to drive the last few laps in sixth gear due to gearbox problems, he needed help to lift the trophy. On May 1, 1994, Senna’s accidental death in Imola plunged the entire country into deep mourning. Almost 30 years later, his grave in the Cemitério Parque Morumby remains a place of pilgrimage for fans in the Formula 1-crazy country, which itself wants to make Formula 1 history again.
I am Pierce Boyd, a driven and ambitious professional working in the news industry. I have been writing for 24 Hours Worlds for over five years, specializing in sports section coverage. During my tenure at the publication, I have built an impressive portfolio of articles that has earned me a reputation as an experienced journalist and content creator.