Felipe Massa has taken a significant step in legal action against Formula 1 and the FIA regarding the 2008 world championship and the contentious Singapore Grand Prix.
During the 2008 Singapore GP, Felipe Massa led until Nelson Piquet Jr’s deliberate crash under Renault’s orders triggered a safety car period, aiding teammate Fernando Alonso’s win.
A pitstop error, leaving Massa with a fuel hose attached and a penalty, caused him to drop to 13th. He lost the 2008 title to Lewis Hamilton by one point.
Later, the Renault scandal emerged; they received a suspended F1 disqualification, and Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds were banned.
Massa’s legal action aims to claim compensation for lost earnings from missing the championship, with the implications of not becoming champion affecting his career prospects.
A ‘Letter Before Claim’ has been directed to F1 chief Stefano Domenicali, Massa’s former Ferrari team boss, and FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.
The objective seems to be securing compensation for the financial losses resulting from Massa’s missed championship, rather than attempting to overturn race or championship results.
This development came to light this week through a ‘Letter Before Claim’ obtained by Reuters.
Massa’s contract with Ferrari probably contained a substantial championship bonus, and clinching the world champion title could have influenced his potential future commercial opportunities – although quantifying this aspect could prove challenging.
“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,” the letter states, according to Reuters.
“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.”