Felipe Massa’s attorneys have began authorized motion towards Formula 1 and the FIA over the 2008 F1 title loss to Lewis Hamilton, looking for substantial damages following that yr’s “Crashgate” scandal and a subsequent alleged “conspiracy.”
Brazilian driver Massa, then racing for Ferrari, missed out on the 2008 title by a single level in dramatic circumstances on the closing race in Brazil as Hamilton – then driving for McLaren – claimed the purpose he wanted on the ultimate lap in moist situations.
Yet new feedback earlier this yr, by former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, concerning the notorious ‘Crashgate’ scandal in Singapore that season has inspired Massa to evaluate all his potential choices concerning compensation and maybe overturning the end result.
While the latter shouldn’t be at present doable underneath FIA rules, a proper eight-page ‘Letter Before Claim’ was despatched to F1 boss Stefano Domenicali and FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem on Tuesday from London-based Enyo Law, as reported by Reuters.
The agency, appearing on Massa’s behalf, alleges that the 42-year-old has been “the victim of a conspiracy committed by individuals at the highest level of F1 together with the FIA and Formula One management.”
It provides that Massa has misplaced out on tens of hundreds of thousands of euros in misplaced earnings and bonuses on account of Crashgate and lacking out on the 2008 title.
Crashgate rocked the game when the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix noticed Renault’s Fernando Alonso win the race earlier than it emerged that his team-mate Nelson Piquet Jr. had intentionally crashed to carry out a security automobile that performed into Alonso’s arms.
That security automobile prompted a Massa pit cease that Ferrari mishandled, with Massa finally ending the race 13th whereas Hamilton got here house third – a distinction of six factors, a swing which in the end impacted the title end result.
While Renault and staff boss Flavio Briatore have been punished in 2009, the results of the race stood regardless of Massa’s protestations, with the FIA’s statues making clear that overturning the classification from every season is inconceivable as soon as the FIA Awards Ceremony for that yr is full, a rule set within the FIA International Sporting Code.
Ecclestone revealed in March that each he and then-FIA president Max Mosley knew of the Crashgate scandal in 2008, however refused to publicise the chain of occasions to keep away from the game a “huge scandal.”
The letter from Massa’s attorneys, despatched to F1 and FIA, states: “Simply put, Mr Massa is the rightful 2008 Driver’s Champion, and F1 and FIA deliberately ignored the misconduct that cheated him out of that title.
“Mr Massa is unable to totally quantify his losses at this stage however estimates that they’re prone to exceed tens of hundreds of thousands of Euros.
“This amount does not cover the serious moral and reputational losses suffered by Mr Massa.”
F1 did not provide an immediate response to Reuters, while the FIA acknowledged receipt of “correspondence” from Massa’s lawyers and added: “The matter is under review and we will not be providing comment at this stage.”
The Independent has contacted Formula 1 for comment.
Ecclestone, however, told Reuters he could not remember saying the key lines.
“I don’t keep in mind any of this, to be sincere,” stated the 92-year-old. “I don’t remember giving the interview for sure.”
Massa, talking in Miami in May, known as the state of affairs an “injustice.”
“You fight them to the last corner of the last race, pass the chequered flag as the champion and then everything changed,” he instructed Sky Sports. “For sure, a fight on the track.
“Then you discover what has happened in Singapore. People, important people like Bernie [Ecclestone], like Max Mosley, like Charlie Whiting – they knew in 2008 and they didn’t do anything.
“That is really a massive surprise for me. It’s really [an] injustice and I think definitely we need to study everything that happened because it’s not fair what has happened.”
The new furore surrounding the 2008 title was triggered after Ecclestone instructed F1-Insider earlier this yr: “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 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.”
Massa’s attorneys added that the Brazilian needs “recognition that, but for those unlawful acts, he would have been awarded the 2008 Championship” – including that they may “commence legal proceedings in the English courts” if an appropriate response shouldn’t be acquired inside 14 days.
Despite the beginning of authorized motion, Massa shouldn’t be capable of formally overturn the end result – with the FIA’s personal International Sporting Code stating protests and critiques expire 14 days after a contest and 4 days previous to that yr’s prize giving ceremony.
He additionally can not use the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which has no jurisdiction over the FIA on points like this, with the impartial International Court of Appeal the best authority within the sport.
CAS could solely be concerned in F1 issues regarding the FIA’s Anti-Doping Disciplinary Committee.
Massa’s best-finish in F1 turned out to be that 2008 season as he retired in 2017 whereas Hamilton has gone on to win six extra titles with Mercedes, holding the joint-record of seven F1 World Championships with Michael Schumacher.