Felipe Massa’s legal challenge of the 2008 Formula 1 championship is making its rounds through the legal system, and now there's a chance to believe that F1 may be feeling some heat as a result. In a recent blog post by F1 announcing that the series will race at Interlagos until at least 2030, there was a suspect paragraph about looking back at some of the most iconic races to happen at the famous Brazilian track.
Now, if you're a longtime—or even semi-humored F1 fan—you will immediately identify 2008 as the most dramatic Brazilian GP in recent times. That's not to say there haven't been eventful races there since, but the drama that engulfed Ferrari and Massa and McLaren-Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton in '08 was stratospheric. However, in its multi-example recollection, F1.com completely failed to mention it, instead bringing up other less-exciting moments.
"With its carnival atmosphere, Interlagos has been the scene for some of the most memorable moments in Formula 1 history including Ayrton Senna’s emotional home victory in 1991, Kimi Raikkonen clinching the World Championship in 2007, and Lewis Hamilton’s enthralling battle with Max Verstappen in 2021," reads the blog.
It could be reading too far between the lines, but the omission is suspect ahead of the news that Felipe Massa won’t be attending the 2023 Brazilian GP because of continued behind-the-scenes legal action over his 2008 championship loss. According to Motorsport.com, Massa says he hasn’t “had any contact [with F1] since before Monza,” where he was asked not to attend as an F1 ambassador.
It’s a tricky situation for F1. Despite the overwhelming precedent being that an F1 championship result is permanent after the end-of-year awards banquet, Massa is acting on information that alleges F1, the FIA, and key members of the paddock knew about the Crashgate scandal before the end of the season. Thus, the series and the governing body could have considered the race null and void, giving Massa the points needed to win the 2008 title. He has indicated several times that his legal action aims to overturn the outcome of 2008.
Of course, Crashgate is one of the infamous moments in F1 history. It was revealed after the season that the former Renault boss Flavio Briatore fixed the 2008 Singapore GP by asking Nelson Piquet Jr. to crash on a certain lap, giving teammate Fernando Alonso an incredibly advantageous pit stop and tire strategy. Massa’s Ferrari team, meanwhile, failed to remove the fuel filler from his car during a pit stop which cost him the race.
The issue isn’t going away, and F1 may be feeling the legal pressure. Despite no official response from F1, Massa’s legal team extended the deadline for a response to Nov. 15.
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