Former F1 driver Felipe Massa has apologised after one of his teammates at a 500-mile go-kart race was involved in an on-track brawl with another driver on Saturday night.
The race, which took place at a kart track on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, ended in controversy when Rodrigo Dantas and Tuka Rocha were involved in an accident 18 laps from the chequered flag. Rocha, who was driving for a team led by Brazilian Stock Car driver Thiago Camilo, was running second and attempting to catch Massa for the lead when he came up behind Dantas, who was one of Massa’s teammates.
When Dantas attempted to block Rocha the two collided several times before Rocha pushed Dantas into a tyre barrier. The pair immediately jumped up from their karts to confront one another before Dantas pulled Rocha to the ground and punched his helmet repeatedly. Security guards arrived on the scene to break up the fight before both teams were disqualified, effectively costing Massa victory.
The two teams had been involved in a race-long battle lasting nearly 12 hours and Massa said the on-track conduct and the way it ended was completely unacceptable.
“From what I saw, the whole team should be disqualified,” Massa said. “But that did not happen, and what happened next was a war inside the track.
“For me, this is very sad and sadder still to see my team within that. It was not my decision — I was driving my kart [in the lead] — but I apologise to everyone for what happened, because I have never seen anything like it in my career.
“The competition is inside the track, but never in this way.”
The team of former F1 driver Rubens Barrichello went on to win the race.
Massa retired from Formula One at the end of the 2017 season after a 16-year career in motorsports top flight. He was recently appointed president of the FIA’s International Karting Commission following his retirement.