Felipe Massa believes he was cheated by Formula One and FIA in 2008, which cost him the World Championship. Aggrieved Maasa is seeking compensation.
Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton (Image: AP)
According to the reports, former Formula One driver Felipe Massa has filed a lawsuit that may cause Lewis Hamilton to lose his first world championship. The Brazilian contends that ‘Crashgate’ kept him from winning the title in 2008 and that he should now be given his deserved title. As per a notice of court proceedings that he gave to FIA officials, the Brazilian driver may seek compensation for the 2008 World Championship, which Hamilton ultimately won.
3 things you need to know
- Felipe Massa has launched legal action against Lewis Hamilton
- Massa claims “Crashgate” incident in 2008 prevented him from winning the World Championship
- Massa is seeking compensation for his losses
What happened in 2008?
First of all, we must look back to the 2008 campaign and recall some significant moments that year, which ultimately resulted in Hamilton winning his first-ever Drivers’ Championship at McLaren. To aid his Renault teammate Fernando Alonso in winning the Singapore Grand Prix, Nelson Piquet Jr. intentionally crashed. Massa was then denied a point despite leading the race when Ferrari botched his pit stop.
Earlier this year, former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone told F1 Insider that he and former FIA president Max Mosley were aware of the occurrence. Max Mosley and I were made aware of the events at the Singapore race during the 2008 campaign, he claimed.
“Piquet Junior had told his father Nelson that he had been asked by the team to drive into the wall at a certain point, in order to trigger a Safety Car phase and such to help his teammate Alonso. Piquet Jr was worried about his contract extension, so he was under a lot of pressure and agreed. 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.”
The incident that led to the Safety Car ended up leading to Massa’s botched pit stop, where he left the pits with the fuel hose still attached to the car.
Michael Schumacher watching Felipe Massa’s save in FP2 during the 2009 Australian GP pic.twitter.com/CaZFqWLZ0l
— F1 archive footage (@formulogs) August 14, 2023
Ecclestone added: “According to the statutes, we should have canceled the race in Singapore under these conditions. That means it would never have happened for the World Championship standings. Then Felipe Massa would have become World Champion and not Lewis Hamilton. I still feel sorry for Massa today. He won the final at his home race in São Paulo and did everything right. He was cheated out of the title he deserved while Hamilton had all the luck in the world and won his first championship. Today, I would have arranged things differently.”
Massa’s letter to FI and FIA
The letter sent to F1 and FIA chiefs says: “Simply put, Mr Massa is the rightful 2008 Drivers’ Champion, 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.”
F1 has not yet replied to the letter, but it is expected that things will pick up now that the Brazilian has taken legal action. However, the FIA has replied to confirm that they have received the letter. They reported: “The matter is under review, and we will not be providing comment at this stage.”