Massa considering legal action over 2008 F1 title!

Fifteen years after losing the 2008 F1 World Championship by a single point to Lewis Hmilton, Felipe Massa is considering legal action to challenge the outcome of the championship.

Massa’s extraordinary initiative has been prompted by recent comments by former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone who offered fresh insight into the behind the scenes dealings that took place after the infamous ‘Crashgate’ episode that marked the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

The incident had seen Nelson Piquet Jr. deliberately ease his car into the wall for the purpose of triggering a safety car that benefitted teammate Fernando Alonso who went on to win the race.

The incident shuffled the running order in the race, with Massa pitting from the lead but ultimately finishing a lowly P13 while Hamilton crossed the chequered flag third, a result that put Hamilton at the top of the Drivers’ standings ahead of the championship’s final three events.

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The following year, the truth emerged about what had occurred on that fateful day, with Renault team boss Flavio Briatore and technical director Pat Symonds, the instigators of Piquet’s crash, barred from the Renault team and from F1.

Massa had urged the FIA to void the outcome of the Singapore Grand Prix. However, the FIA’s regulations prevented such an action as the final results – per the International Sporting Code – are signed and sealed after the FIA Awards ceremony.

Additionally, the FIA’s inquiry into the Singapore incident failed to find any proof that implicated Alonso or other members of the Renault team in the deliberate crash. Therefore, the FIA deemed it unjust to alter the outcome.

But Massa believes there now may be grounds to re-open the case based on an interview of Ecclestone published last month on the F1-Insider website, in which the Briton said that then FIA president Max Mosley was fully aware of what had happened “during the 2008 season”.

“We decided not to do anything for now. We wanted to protect the sport and save it from a huge scandal. That’s why I used angelic tongues to persuade my former driver Nelson Piquet (Nelson Piquet Jr’s father) to keep calm for the time being.

“Back then, there was a rule that a world championship classification after the FIA awards ceremony at the end of the year was untouchable. So Hamilton was presented with the trophy and everything was fine.

“We had enough information in time to investigate the matter. According to the statutes, we should have cancelled the race in Singapore under these conditions.

“That means it would never have happened for the championship standings. And then Felipe Massa would have become world champion and not Lewis Hamilton.”

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Ecclestone’s comments haven’t been lost on Massa, the aggrieved party, who is now investigating his legal options on the matter.
“There is a rule that says that when a championship is decided, from the moment the driver receives the champion’s trophy, things can no longer be changed, even if it has been proven a theft,” Massa told

“At the time, Ferrari’s lawyers told me about this rule. We went to other lawyers and the answer was that nothing could be done. So I logically believed in this situation.”

“But after 15 years, we hear that the [former] owner of the category says that he found out in 2008, together with the president of the FIA, and they did nothing [so as] to not tarnish the name of F1.

“This is very sad, to know the result of this race was supposed to be cancelled and I would have a title. In the end, I was the one who lost the most with this result. So, we are going after it to understand all this.”

While there are precedents in sports where results were amended years later – stripping Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France wins comes to mind – Massa knows that initiating an action to have the 2008 Sinagapore GP’s results cancelled 15 years after the race is a long shot, to say the least.

“There are rules, and there are many things that, depending on the country, you cannot go back after 15 years to resolve a situation,” he said.

“But I intend to study the situation; study what the laws say, and the rules. We have to have an idea of what is possible to do.

“I would never go after it thinking financially. I would go after it thinking about justice.

“I think if you’ve been punished for something that wasn’t your fault, and it’s the product of a robbery, a stolen race, justice has to be served.

“In fact, the right situation is to cancel the result of that race. It is the only justice that can be done in a case like this.

“We have already seen other situations happening in sports, such as Lance Armstrong, who was proven to have doped, and he lost all the titles. What is the difference?”

Unfortunately for Massa, the FIA’s own International Sporting Code does not allow protests after a race, and any right to request a review expires 14 calendar days after a competition – and four days prior to the date of that year’s FIA prize-giving ceremony.

With no alternative courts to which he may submit his case, Felipe Massa will likely remain forever the wronged victim of the devious shenanigans perpetrated by Flavio Briatore in Singapore in 2008.

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