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Why has Felipe Massa launched authorized motion in opposition to F1? Every part defined

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Whereas Lewis Hamilton is chasing a record-breaking eighth Formulation 1 world championship, Felipe Massa may make issues harder for the Mercedes driver.

He has partnered with lawyers to contest a 15 year old result the place Hamilton pipped Massa to the 2008 F1 crown.

Massa, now retired, feels the FIA and Formulation One Administration didn’t act on information they’d concerning the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix which left the championship’s popularity broken.

The race proved to have an influential end result on that 12 months’s title, which was Hamilton’s first in F1, and Massa’s solely real shot at a world championship in his profession.

2008 F1 season

All eyes firstly of the season have been on younger hotshot Hamilton, then 23, after driving a legendary rookie marketing campaign in 2007.

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The McLaren driver led the championship through the 12 months, however misplaced it within the remaining two races. First, Hamilton retired in China after beaching his automotive within the gravel as he struggled with worn out tyres on a day he may have clinched the title.

Subsequent, he completed seventh in Brazil on the season finale, after a poor opening lap dropped him from second to eighth, which opened the door to his rivals. Kimi Raikkonen was the one to pounce, because the Ferrari driver received each of these grands prix to clinch the title by one level with Hamilton and Fernando Alonso on the identical tally in second and third.

So, in 2008 it was as much as Hamilton to bounce again and seal the championship. After a really sturdy efficiency in pre-season testing, there was a sense that he could be preventing for the title once more. That grew to become extra evident when Hamilton received the season opening Australian Grand Prix.

However the subsequent 4 races proved it was not going to be really easy. Ferrari received all 4, with reigning champion Raikkonen and Massa profitable two apiece, whereas Hamilton stood on the rostrum simply twice.

Photograph by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Felipe Massa, Ferrari F2008, leads Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4-23 Mercedes, and Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber F1.08

After 5 races, Raikkonen led the standings by seven factors with Hamilton and Massa tied in second and third. Nonetheless, Hamilton regained the championship lead on the subsequent race as he received the Monaco Grand Prix with Massa in third and Raikkonen exterior of the factors.

It began an excellent run of type for Hamilton who received two of the following 5 races to guide the championship on the summer season break. Issues have been nonetheless very tight on the high, although, as each Ferrari drivers have been inside 10 factors of him.

However the subsequent three races after the summer season break proved vital for the route of the 2008 F1 championship struggle. Raikkonen failed to attain any factors so he in a short time fell out of rivalry, whereas Massa received two races to Hamilton’s none.

The McLaren driver did, nonetheless, stand on the rostrum twice so he led Massa by only a single level going into Singapore, the season’s fifteenth spherical, whereas Raikkonen had dropped to fourth within the standings.

2008 Singapore Grand Prix

Massa was in prime place to clinch a 3rd victory in 4 races which might have put him high of the standings. In Singapore, the championship protagonists lined up on the entrance row and Massa led from pole place out of the primary nook.

It was the Ferrari driver’s dream begin, as he repeatedly prolonged his lead on Hamilton over the opening laps. Then all of it got here tumbling down on lap 14 when Renault’s Nelson Piquet Jr crashed at Flip 17.

On the time eyebrows weren’t raised and Massa, like many others, pitted beneath security automotive circumstances. Nonetheless, Ferrari launched him from his pitbox prematurely because the gas hose was nonetheless in Massa’s automotive, so he later stopped on the pit exit to get it eliminated.

The botched pitstop dropped Massa to final place. It quickly received worse as a result of he was then penalised for an unsafe launch, as through the insanity Ferrari put Massa from his pitbox into the trail of Adrian Sutil.

It ruined Massa’s race and he completed exterior of the factors. One driver to profit from the security automotive was Piquet’s team-mate, Alonso. When Piquet crashed, Alonso was languishing in final after making a pitstop. However, through the security automotive he rose to fifth earlier than taking the race lead quickly after when drivers forward both pitted or served penalties.

Fernando Alonso celebrates victory on the podium alongside Nico Rosberg, 2nd position, and Lewis Hamilton, 3rd position.

Photograph by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch / Motorsport Images

Fernando Alonso celebrates victory on the rostrum alongside Nico Rosberg, 2nd place, and Lewis Hamilton, third place.

He later received the race forward of Nico Rosberg, with Hamilton finishing the rostrum. On the time, followers have been none the wiser concerning the scandal that had simply unfolded. F1 was as a substitute praising Singapore for its glorious debut on the calendar and the season carried on as regular.

2008 F1 season after Singapore

The Singapore GP prolonged Hamilton’s lead over Massa to seven factors with three races remaining. Nonetheless, the rivals collided on the subsequent race. Hamilton began on pole in Japan, however locked up on the first nook.

By the tip of lap one he had dropped to sixth after going off a number of occasions and the following tour, he was preventing Massa for fifth.

The 2 have been wheel-to-wheel at Flip 10, the place Hamilton had briefly received forward on the within till Massa’s entrance proper tyre hit the McLaren’s rear left on the nook’s exit. It induced Hamilton to spin and drop exterior of the factors.

Massa was given a drive-through penalty consequently, which is similar sanction Hamilton acquired for his lock up at Flip 1 which compelled Raikkonen off the observe on the lap prior. The Ferrari driver recovered from the penalties higher, as he climbed as much as seventh whereas Hamilton completed exterior of the factors. All of it received heated between the 2 drivers post-race, as Hamilton accused Massa of intentionally hitting his automotive.

That consequence decreased Massa’s deficit to 5 factors. Nonetheless, Hamilton took it again as much as seven on the following race as he dominated the 2008 Chinese language Grand Prix forward of Massa in second. This all arrange an exhilarating season finale in Brazil.

Massa received the race by 13 seconds, whereas Hamilton’s outing was a lot much less easy. He began fourth and spent most of his race battling for the ultimate podium place.

Mild rain then fell on lap 63, so Hamilton got here in for intermediate tyres whereas others stayed out on slicks. It dropped Hamilton to fifth, the bottom he may end to clinch the title, earlier than shedding one other place with two laps left as Sebastian Vettel went by means of when the McLaren driver ran broad amid heavier rain.

However, in essentially the most dramatic of circumstances Hamilton sealed the championship. Timo Glock, who was nonetheless on dry tyres, went broad on the remaining nook which opened the door for Hamilton to undergo and clinch fifth on the ultimate lap.

It silenced the Ferrari storage, who had celebrated prematurely pondering there was no method for Hamilton to win the title.

Nelson Piquet Jr., Renault R28 crashes into the wall

Photograph by: Sutton Pictures

Nelson Piquet Jr., Renault R28 crashes into the wall

When Nelson Piquet Jr uncovered Renault

Pondering Singapore was simply one other race, F1 solely seemed ahead. The sudden demise of Honda is what took the headlines over winter, because it give up the sequence amid the worldwide financial disaster.

Then, through the 2009 summer season break, Renault dropped Piquet and inside a month all of it spilled out.

Piquet alleged that the workforce requested him to intentionally crash in Singapore, in order that it may enhance Alonso’s race. He additionally stated that he particularly crashed at Flip 17, as a result of it was one of many corners that didn’t have a crane close by. This meant a security automotive could be wanted, which allowed Alonso to catch out the remainder of the pack.

Renault didn’t contest expenses in opposition to them and it tarnished their popularity. Main sponsors walked away, which led to the French producer leaving F1, whereas Alonso, who had no information of the Piquet crash plan, joined Ferrari in 2010.

Nonetheless, regardless of the scandal, the race end in Singapore remained and ‘crashgate’ is one thing that massively benefitted Hamilton.

Why is Felipe Massa launching authorized motion in opposition to F1 now?

Massa launched authorized motion after ex-F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone was requested concerning the matter early in 2023. He implied F1 already knew what occurred, however dominated in opposition to taking motion to guard the F1’s popularity.

Ecclestone added that had F1 taken motion straight away, then statutes say null and voiding the race was an choice which might have eliminated the six factors that Hamilton gained. Another choice, nonetheless, could have been to disqualify Alonso. However, this might have moved Hamilton as much as second, including to Massa’s detriment.

Nonetheless, Ecclestone stated a distinct statute was partly behind them not doing that. Guidelines state that when the post-season FIA Awards ceremony is full, then the classification from every session that marketing campaign is ready in stone.

So F1 needed to get to that time earlier than something unravelled stated Ecclestone, who reportedly informed Piquet to stay silent in the interim.

Bernie Ecclestone visits the paddock

Photograph by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Bernie Ecclestone visits the paddock

What’s Felipe Massa attempting to realize together with his lawsuit in opposition to F1?

There are various solutions of why Massa is doing this. Ecclestone stated he’s purely looking for compensation expenses however Bernardo Viana, from the regulation agency representing Massa, insisted that’s not the case.

Massa’s lawyer has stated “the target is to deliver the trophy house” and nothing extra. Viana believes there are numerous methods during which this may occur, the place one could be to null and void the race as Ecclestone admitted.

Viana additionally prompt to depend the race till lap 14, when Piquet crashed. If that have been to occur, Massa would obtain half factors for a race victory as per the sporting rules on the time.

Nonetheless, Massa himself has beforehand stated that he’s completely happy to share the championship with Hamilton citing examples in different sports activities for his purpose.

Has Felipe Massa spoken to Lewis Hamilton about his lawsuit in opposition to F1?

Massa confirmed that he has not spoken to Hamilton concerning the scenario. In reality, Hamilton has eliminated himself from it saying he’s solely within the current.

That’s regardless of Massa’s legal team publicly asking for Hamilton’s support, though it’s his crown they’re disputing. Massa’s aspect have additionally requested for Ferrari’s help which is one thing the Scuderia has not executed so in the mean time, the ex-F1 driver goes it alone together with his authorized motion.

What’s going to occur subsequent in Felipe Massa’s lawsuit in opposition to F1?

Massa’s authorized workforce are at present ready on a response from the FIA and FOM concerning elements of the case. It’s believed, for now, they have until 15 November.

Viana stated: “They’ve requested for extra time, and we’re assessing internally if we will give them extra time in good religion.

“They’re nonetheless throughout the time that now we have supplied them, so we’re ready for his or her response. If their response is satisfactory, and in the event that they method us for any dialog, that is OK.

“If it isn’t, if their response just isn’t satisfactory, we’re simply going to maneuver ahead with the authorized technique that now we have in place.”

PLUS: Why precedent doesn’t favour Massa’s F1 legal challenge

An emotional Felipe Massa proudly slaps the Prancing Horse insignia on his chest as he celebrates victory and a well fought season in front of his home fans.

Photograph by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch / Motorsport Images

An emotional Felipe Massa proudly slaps the Prancing Horse insignia on his chest as he celebrates victory and a nicely fought season in entrance of his house followers.

What may this imply for Formulation 1?

There may be concern over the precedent it might set if Massa have been to be awarded a title, particularly to the detriment of Hamilton.

It is because the seven-time champion missed out on an eighth in 2021 beneath controversial circumstances.

He was 5 laps away from profitable till a late security automotive struck, the place race director Michael Masi informed solely the lapped automobiles between Hamilton and championship rival Max Verstappen to unlap themselves. This overruled the usual process for a restart, as a result of different lapped automobiles weren’t informed to take action, regardless of what the rules say.

It aided the Pink Bull driver who overtook Hamilton earlier than sealing his maiden title that evening in Abu Dhabi. For this, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is not taking Massa’s claim seriously as a result of if F1 have been to award him the championship, then it might open up a can of worms.

There may be perception that Mercedes may then go to F1 and argue for Hamilton to be awarded the 2021 crown. However that’s not all.

Questions may maybe be requested over a number of different F1 world titles; together with the 1990 F1 championship, when Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost crashed out which made Senna champion, the 1994 F1 season for Benetton and even the 1981 F1 season for Brabham.

So if Massa is profitable, then that may certainly depart the room for different controversial leads to F1’s historical past to be questioned and even overturned. It’s subsequently unlikely for F1 to award Massa a world championship victory.

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