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Felipe Massa Files $80 Million Lawsuit Over Loss of 2008 F1 Championship

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Massa Files $80 Million Lawsuit Over 2008 F1 TitleCiancaphoto Studio - Getty Images

Felipe Massa has filed a lawsuit in London against Formula 1, governing body the FIA, and former F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, over his 2008 title loss.

Massa finished runner-up to Lewis Hamilton in the 2008 championship after a season-long battle was only decided by just one point on the final lap of the campaign.

But Massa’s grievances relate not to the final race of the season, but to the outcome of the Singapore Grand Prix, in which Renault driver Nelson Piquet Jr. was ordered to deliberately crash, with the accident helping the strategy of teammate Fernando Alonso.

Massa had been leading at the time of Piquet’s accident but a botched pit stop in the resultant safety car period dropped him down the order and an off further in the race left him without a point.

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Hamilton finished third in that race, gaining six points.

The incident now known as "Crashgate" only came to light in public almost a year later, after Piquet Jr. had been sacked by Renault.

Ecclestone—then Formula 1’s boss—gave an interview to a German outlet in 2023 in which he claimed that he and then FIA president Max Mosley were aware of the Crashgate allegations before the end of the 2008 season. Ecclestone, 92, has since said he does not recall giving the interview.