Massa taking legal action over 2008 title


Felipe Massa is taking legal action against F1 and the FIA for an alleged conspiracy to deprive him of the 2008 title.

According to Reuters, a formal eight-page Letter Before Claim was sent to F1 CEO, Stefano Domenicali and FIA president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem on August 15.

The Letter Before Claim is a legal necessity before court proceedings can begin, as the Brazilian's London-based representative, Enyo Law alleges that the former Ferrari driver was "the victim of a conspiracy committed by individuals at the highest level of F1 together with the FIA and Formula One Management".

Due to the deliberate crash involving Nelson Piquet Jr at the Singapore Grand Prix - even though Massa finished 13th - it is claimed that the Brazilian missed out on winning the title thereby depriving him of tens of millions in lost earnings and bonuses.

In the aftermath of Piquet's crash - which was subsequently found to have been deliberate and resulted in Renault team boss, Flavio Briatore and director of engineering, Pat Symonds, both being handed bans from the sport - Massa took immediate advantage by pitting.

However, it was a disastrous stop with the Brazilian heading back down the pitlane with the fuel hose still attached to his car and a mechanic laying on the ground injured.

The Ferrari driver stopped at the end of the pitlane and as his crew ran to remove the hose, the TV replay showed that the Ferrari lighting system had given him the all-clear. It was not Massa's fault.

Before the stop Massa has been leading, while after the stop he was eighteenth. He ultimately finished 13th, while title rival Hamilton finished third.

Following the Singapore event just three races remained with the title eventually going down to the wire in Brazil.

Though Massa crossed the line to win the race thereby claiming the title, his championship rival, Lewis Hamilton was running sixth behind Timo Glock, thereby leaving the championship level in terms of points but in the Brazilian's favour on count back.

However, as Massa's family celebrated in the Ferrari garage, Hamilton passed Glock in the final corner and 38.907 seconds later snatched the title right back by one point.

In an interview with the Daily Mirror earlier this year, then F1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone revealed that he and FIA president, Max Mosley were made aware of Piquet Jr's actions shortly after the event but opted not to take action.

"Piquet Jr had told his father Nelson that he had been asked by the team to deliberately drive into the wall at a certain point in time in order to trigger a safety car phase and help his team-mate Alonso," said the former F1 supremo. "We decided not to do anything for the time being. We wanted to protect the sport and save it from a huge scandal.

"There was a rule at the time that a world championship ranking was untouchable after the FIA awards ceremony at the end of the year. So Hamilton was presented with the trophy and everything was fine."

"Simply put, Mr Massa is the rightful 2008 driver's champion," reads the Letter Before Claim, "and F1 and FIA deliberately ignored the misconduct that cheated him out of that title.

"Mr Massa is unable to fully quantify his losses at this stage but estimates that they are likely to exceed tens of millions of Euros

"This amount does not cover the serious moral and reputational losses suffered by Mr Massa."

While F1 has not yet reacted to the move, an FIA spokesperson said: "The matter is under review and we will not be providing comment at this stage."

"I don't remember any of this, to be honest," Ecclestone told Reuters today. "I don't remember giving the interview for sure."

According to the Letter Before Claim, Massa intends to "pursue legal action in order to seek compensation for the harm he has suffered" and wants "recognition that, but for those unlawful acts, he would have been awarded the 2008 championship".

In the absence of a substantive reply within 14 days, this lawyers warned that they expect to be instructed "to commence legal proceedings in the English courts without further notice to you".

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 17/08/2023
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