Massa seeking over $80m in damages over 2008 title loss

Felipe Massa has filed a lawsuit seeking over $80million in damages from the FIA, Formula 1, and former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone over the 2008 Crashgate scandal.

Renault driver Nelson Piquet Jr was ordered to crash deliberately during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix in order to help Fernando Alonso’s strategy, with the Spaniard going on to win a race Massa had been leading. In the resulting safety car period, Massa suffered a pit stop issue and finished outside the points, while title rival Lewis Hamilton came home third to score six points.

The scandal only became public a year later, and with the FIA statutes stating a result can’t be changed following the end-of-year prize giving ceremony, the result remained unchanged. However, comments attributed to Ecclestone last year suggested he and the FIA were aware of allegations relating to it before the end of the 2008 season.


Hamilton beat Massa to that year’s championship by a single point in the end, and last year the Brazilian launched a legal challenge, with his lawyers issuing a letter to both the FIA and Formula One Management (FOM) that read: “Simply put, Mr Massa is the rightful 2008 Drivers’ Champion, and F1 and FIA deliberately ignored the misconduct that cheated him out of that title.

“Mr Massa is unable to fully quantify his losses at this stage but estimates that they are likely to exceed tens of millions of Euros.

“This amount does not cover the serious moral and reputational losses suffered by Mr Massa.”

Having not received an acceptable response, Massa’s lawyers are now seeking more than $80million in damages and an admission from the FIA that it didn’t follow its regulations correctly.

The lawsuit has been filed in the High Court in London, with Brazilian law firm Vieira Rezende Advogados confirming the submission via a statement.

“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,” the statement read.

“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.

“As Mr Ecclestone has admitted, there was ‘enough information in time to investigate the matter’ in 2008 and ‘cancel the race in Singapore’. Mr Ecclestone further affirmed that, had the results of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix been canceled, “Felipe Massa would have become world champion” and that Mr Massa ‘was cheated out of the title he deserved’.

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

“Recent events naturally demonstrate that issues of transparency and integrity in Formula One remain relevant, and it is clear that serious work is needed to restore its credibility and long-term future.”

Massa himself told Brazilian broadcaster Globo that his intention is to receive justice for the 2008 championship result. There were three further races that season following the round in Singapore.

“I always said I would fight until the end,” Massa said. “As the FIA and FOM have decided to do nothing, we will seek redress of this historic injustice in the courts. The matter is now with the lawyers and they are fully authorized to do whatever is necessary so that justice in the sport is done.”

Story originally appeared on Racer