Felipe Massa was main the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix when Nelson Piquet crashed on lap 14, serving to Piquet’s Spanish crew mate Fernando Alonso win the race; Lewis Hamilton beat Massa by some extent to the drivers’ championship
Final Up to date: 17/08/23 8:27pm
Attorneys for former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa have began authorized motion towards System 1 bosses and the governing FIA looking for substantial damages ensuing from an alleged ‘conspiracy’ that denied him the 2008 championship.
A proper eight-page Letter Earlier than Declare, seen by Reuters, was despatched to System 1 chief government Stefano Domenicali and Paris-based FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem on August 15.
Such a letter is a required formal authorized discover earlier than courtroom proceedings.
London-based Enyo Regulation stated Brazilian Massa, now 42, had been “the sufferer of a conspiracy dedicated by people on the highest degree of F1 along with the FIA and System One Administration.”
The crash price Massa very important factors in a season the place he in the end misplaced out by a single level to McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, the primary of the Briton’s record-equalling seven.
“Merely put, Mr Massa is the rightful 2008 Driver’s Champion, and F1 and FIA intentionally ignored the misconduct that cheated him out of that title,” stated the letter.
“Mr Massa is unable to completely quantify his losses at this stage however estimates that they’re more likely to exceed tens of tens of millions of Euros.
“This quantity doesn’t cowl the intense ethical and reputational losses suffered by Mr Massa.”
Massa sought authorized recommendation after former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone was quoted in March as saying he and former FIA president Max Mosley knew in 2008 that then-Renault driver Nelson Piquet’s crash was deliberate however had not acted.
There was no instant response from the FIA and System 1, which is presently on an August shutdown.
Ecclestone, 92, informed Reuters by phone from Switzerland he couldn’t bear in mind saying the important thing quotes attributed to him.
“I do not bear in mind any of this, to be sincere,” stated the Briton, who was changed as F1 supremo in 2017 after US-based Liberty Media took over as industrial rights holders.
“I do not bear in mind giving the interview for certain.”
He stated neither Massa nor the Brazilian’s attorneys had approached him to ask what he might need stated.
What occurred in 2008?
Massa was main the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix from pole place when fellow Brazilian Piquet crashed into the wall on lap 14 of 61.
The crash triggered the Security Automotive and benefited Piquet’s Spanish team-mate Fernando Alonso, who received the race. Massa failed to attain after a bungled pitstop.
Piquet revealed in 2009 that he had been informed to crash by Renault crew bosses, who have been subsequently banned. The scandal, dubbed ‘crashgate’, grew to become one of many greatest within the sport’s historical past.
On this 12 months’s interview with F1 Insider, Ecclestone was quoted as saying he nonetheless felt sorry for Massa: “He was cheated out of the title he deserved, whereas Hamilton had all of the luck on the planet and received his first championship.”
Massa informed Reuters in Might that he wished justice.
“If an important individuals from System 1 and the FIA knew in 2008 and did not do something, you assume that was truthful? It is not truthful,” he stated.
The attorneys’ letter warned that, with out a passable response, Massa supposed to “pursue authorized motion as a way to search compensation for the hurt he has suffered”.
He additionally wished “recognition that, however for these illegal acts, he would have been awarded the 2008 Championship”.
The attorneys stated that, within the absence of a substantive reply inside 14 days, they anticipated to be instructed “to begin authorized proceedings within the English courts with out additional discover to you”.
Massa didn’t win once more after 2008, with the Brazilian struggling a near-fatal head damage on the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix. He retired in 2017.
Mosley, who labored carefully with Ecclestone, died in 2021 whereas FIA race director Charlie Whiting, one other key determine, died in 2019.