Massa puts together legal team to assess 2008 title case

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Felipe Massa has assembled a team of lawyers to assess whether there are any legal grounds that would allow him to contest the outcome of the 2008 F1 world championship.

Massa's bid to investigate the controversial outcome of the 2008 title fight was triggered by recent comments by former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone on what went on behind the scenes after that year's infamous Singapore Grand Prix.

In that race, Renault ordered Nelson Piquet Jr to deliberately crash for the purpose of triggering a safety car that would benefit teammate Fernando Alonso – which it did – who went on to win the race.

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

Ultimately, Massa went on to lose the title fight to Hamilton by a single point at the last race of the season in Brazil.

In an interview published last month on website F1-Insider, Ecclestone said that he and then FIA president Max Mosley were fully aware at the time of what had happened in Singapore but the pair chose to turn a blind eye to the event orchestrated by Renault team boss Flavio Briatore in a bid to "protect the sport" and to delay an official investigation until the following year.

"Back then, there was a rule that a world championship classification after the FIA awards ceremony at the end of the year was untouchable," said Ecclestone. "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."

Ecclestone's comments last month prompted Massa to consider legal action. Now, according to, the Brazilian has put together a team of legal eagles to further investigate the feasibility of challenging in a court of law the outcome of the 2008 championship. also states in its report that Massa will not be making any public statements on the matter, at least until clarity is achieved on his legal action.

But the 41-year-old former driver's legal options appear very limited, if not nonexistent, as the FIA's International Sporting Code stipulates that 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.

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