SAO PAULO (AP) - A Brazilian prosecutor warned Felipe Massa that he could be arrested and sentenced to up to six years in prison if he takes team orders to help Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso win the Formula One title.
Massa could be charged with fraud if he allows Alonso to pass him or if he does anything else that would somehow alter the result Sunday at in Interlagos, according to prosecutor Paulo Castilho, known for taking up sports causes in Brazil.
"Massa or any other driver who does anything to fraud the result of the race can be arrested and formally charged," Castilho told The Associated Press on Thursday. "It doesn't mean that it will happen, it will be up to the local authority in charge of the event to decide whether the law has been broken."
The law mentioned by Castilho says that it's a crime to "fraud by any means, or contribute to fraud, in any way, the result of a sporting event."
Massa arrived at the Brazilian Grand Prix saying he would give way to his teammate if needed Sunday, just as he did while leading the German GP in July so Alonso could earn more points in the race for the title.
"I would do it again, I'm a professional driver," Massa said earlier this week.
The move in Germany prompted F1 officials to fine Ferrari $100,000 for using team orders, but none of the drivers' were punished. Massa was heavily criticized by some fans and local media.
"Even after the race in Germany, when I arrived in Brazil, the people were very nice with me, very fantastic, pushing me forward," he said.
Massa had already helped another Ferrari teammate win the title in 2007. He was leading the race at Interlagos, but allowed Kimi Raikkonen to take over the lead and secure the championship.
Alonso can win the title if he wins Sunday and Red Bull's Mark Webber finishes fifth or worse. Alonso can also clinch the title by finishing second if Webber is eighth or worse, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton fourth or worse and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel third or worse.
"If there is enough evidence showing that the team orders are affecting the result unfairly, the local authority can make the arrests of those involved," Castilho said.
Alonso has 231 points with two races to go, 11 points more than Webber and 21 points ahead of Hamilton. Massa is not in contention for the title.
Alonso said he is hoping that Massa runs well enough to win the final two races of the season, keeping his rivals from getting the victories.
"It's best to have Felipe winning the races because then he is taking 25 points away from everybody else," the Spaniard said.
Massa and Ferrari officials could not be reached to comment on the prosecutor's warning.
The prosecutor's warning against team orders was first reported by the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, Brazil's largest.