Massa files lawsuit against FIA and F1 over 2008 Singapore GP

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Ex-Ferrari F1 driver Felipe Massa has decided that he wants his day in court: the Brazilian has filed a lawsuit in the London High Court against the FIA, Formula One Management and Bernie Ecclestone over the outcome of the 2008 Singapore GP.

Massa, who lost the 2008 title by a single point to Lewis Hamilton at the last round in Brazil, initiated legal proceedings against the FIA and FOM last summer as he aimed to secure reparations for what his lawyers deemed at the time a "conspiracy" that deprived the former Scuderia charger of the world crown that year.

The crux of the issue evolves around the Renault team's decision at the 2008 Singapore GP to order its second driver, Nelson Piquet Jr, to deliberately crash his car to bring out the safety car to benefit teammate Fernando Alonso, which it effectively did as the latter went on to win the race while Hamilton finished third.

Massa’s lawyers asserted that the Brazilian suffered substantial financial losses amounting to tens of millions of euros due to forgone earnings and bonuses as a result of the events that unfolded at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

Massa was hopeful of reaching a settlement with the opposing parties, but on Monday, the Brazilian’s representatives confirmed that action has been lodged in the High Court of Justice against the three named parties.

The lawsuit specifically targets the FIA for failing to properly investigate the incident at the time, and FOM for potentially turning a blind eye to the scandal to avoid bringing the sport into disrepute.

Adding another layer to the story, Ecclestone himself made contradictory statements about the incident. In a 2023 interview with a German media outlet, he claimed there was enough evidence at the time to warrant an investigation and a potential disqualification of the Renault team.

However, he later backtracked on these comments, stating he had no recollection of the interview.

According to a statement from Brazilian law firm Vieira Rezende Advogados, "Mr Massa is seeking declarations that the FIA breached its regulations by failing to promptly investigate Nelson Piquet Junior's crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix and that had it acted properly, Mr Massa would have won the drivers' championship that year.

"Mr Massa also seeks damages for the significant financial loss he has suffered due to the FIA's failure, in which Mr Ecclestone and FOM were also complicit.

"Attempts to find an amicable resolution have been unsuccessful, leaving Mr Massa with no choice but to initiate legal proceedings."

Massa’s litigation comes at a difficult time for the FIA following a whistleblower’s recent allegations that Mohammed Ben Sulayem attempted to interfere with the result of the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP in a case involving a penalty levied upon Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and then later rescinded by the stewards.

The same whistleblower also claimed that the governing body’s president had ordered officials in Las Vegas not to certify the venue’s street circuit just day’s ahead of the city’s inaugural Grand Prix.

The statement by Massa’s lawyers added: “Recent events naturally demonstrate that issues of transparency and integrity in Formula 1 remain relevant, and it is clear that serious work is needed to restore its credibility and long-term future.”

“I always said I was going to fight until the end,” Massa said in a statement of his own.

“Since the FIA and FOM decided not to do anything, we will seek to right this historical injustice in court. The matter is now for our lawyers and they are fully authorized to do whatever is necessary so justice in sport is served.”

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