Former Ferrari F1 driver Felipe Massa missed out on the 2008 championship by one point to then McLaren racer Lewis Hamilton.
Citing several irregularities, has launched a challenge in a London court over the outcome of that season’s Singapore Grand Prix results.
Neither Formula 1 nor the FIA have commented on the matter.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the manufacturer is watching “with curiosity” regarding Felipe Massa’s legal challenge into the 2008 season.
Massa—then of Ferrari—missed out on the 2008 championship by one point to then McLaren racer Lewis Hamilton but has launched a challenge in a London court over the outcome of that season’s Singapore Grand Prix.
Renault driver Nelson Piquet deliberately crashed his car in order to bring out the Safety Car, which facilitated Fernando Alonso’s path to victory, the facts of which only emerged almost a year later once Piquet was sacked by Renault. Alonso was exonerated of any wrongdoing.
In that race Massa led until a bungled pit stop during the Piquet-triggered Safety Car period dropped him down the order. He failed to score points while Hamilton finished third.
In a recent interview former F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone claimed that he and then FIA president Max Mosley, who died in 2021, were aware of the situation in the aftermath, indicating that they could have taken action before the championship was settled.
It is unclear on the potential legal routes open to Massa, given the wording of the FIA regulations and the absence of key witnesses, but it is understood that he is striving to overturn the results of the season.
Neither Formula 1 nor the FIA have commented on the matter but Massa, who has worked as a pundit and ambassador for Formula 1 in recent years, has not been present in the paddock in recent months.
Wolff explained that Mercedes will track the case and intimated that the outcome could prompt the manufacturer into action over the outcome of the 2021 season.
“Well… interesting,” said Wolff. “Interesting to follow. Clearly not something that anyone saw coming. The rules are pretty clear in Formula 1, there’s a civil case behind it. It will certainly set a precedent, whatever it is. Yeah. We’re looking from the sidelines with curiosity.”
When asked directly about the outcome of the 2021 season – in which Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to the title after then Race Director Michael Masi incorrectly applied the Safety Car regulations, which the FIA labeled ‘human error’ after a review – Wolff said: “And the FIA commented on the 2021 race with a clear statement. So that’s why we’re looking at it with interest.”
Mercedes initially protested the results of Abu Dhabi’s 2021 finale but this was dismissed, and it later withdrew an appeal as an annulment of the results would still have crowned Verstappen champion.