After months of deliberating whether he should take legal action or not, ex-Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa is taking legal action against F1 and FIA bosses, over the 2008 season.
Massa finished second in the Drivers’ Championship in 2008, after losing out to Lewis Hamilton.
However, the Brazilian’s lawyers believe that he’s the “rightful” Champion from that season, due to F1 and FIA bosses being aware of Renault’s cheating at the Singapore Grand Prix that season.
At the Marina Bay Circuit in 2008, Nelson Piquet Jr. crashed on purpose, so that Renault team-mate Fernando Alonso could claim victory.
Piquet’s actions were as a result of Renault bosses informing him to crash.
‘Crashgate’ was revealed to the world in 2009, yet ex-F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone recently admitted that himself and FIA president at the time Max Mosley knew immediately that the crash was deliberate.
Neither chose to act on the crash at the time, which if they had done so, would’ve likely resulted in Massa becoming World Champion.
If the results of the 2008 Singapore GP were voided, then the Brazilian would’ve been World Champion.
Massa’s representatives have since released a Letter Before Claim, insisting that the driver lost millions of euros in bonuses and earnings though not becoming World Champion.
A Letter Before Claim is a legal requirement prior to court action being allowed.
F1 and the FIA are yet to comment.
The ex-Ferrari driver has alerted lawyers in the UK, his home nation Brazil, the United States, Switzerland and France.
“Simply put, Mr Massa is the rightful 2008 Driver’s Champion, and F1 and FIA deliberately ignored the misconduct that cheated him out of that title,” said the letter sent from the London offices of Enyo Law on 15 August.
“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.”
The Letter Before Claim was addressed to FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, and F1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali, who just so happened to be Ferrari’s team principal in 2008.
Unless the FIA and F1 can offer Massa a legitimate response as to why he wasn’t crowned as World Champion, then the Brazilian plans to “pursue legal action in order to seek compensation for the harm he has suffered as well as recognition that, but for those unlawful acts, he would have been awarded the 2008 championship.”
Should Massa’s representatives receive no response within 14 days, then the driver’s lawyers “anticipate being instructed to commence legal proceedings in the English courts without further notice to you”.