Felipe Massa has set a tight deadline for Formula 1 and the governing body FIA to respond to his legal threats, citing their inaction in 2008 over the ‘crashgate’ scandal as costing him a world championship.
The move comes in the wake of recent remarks by former F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone, although the 92-year-old British businessman says he can’t recall making those comments. Massa is also leveraging unreleased footage of the late former race director Charlie Whiting, who reportedly made similar remarks about being aware of the intentional crash before the end of the 2008 season.
According to the Associated Press, F1 and the FIA requested additional time to respond to Massa’s initial legal correspondence, citing that many staff members were on summer vacation. However, lawyers representing the 42-year-old Brazilian have now rejected this reasoning, giving the sport’s governing bodies until the end of the week to provide a satisfactory response.
In their latest correspondence, Massa’s legal team accuses the FIA and F1 of “deliberately ignoring the misconduct at the 2008 Singapore GP which deprived him of his title.”
When asked about the legal threats, Massa stated he is “100% ready” to take the issue to court. “I trust and I really believe that for justice, we will show that what happened is not right,” he said.
Massa, insistent on his status, claimed, “I am the champion and I feel it. I feel like I have that title. I am the 16th Formula 1 champion for Ferrari.”
Massa also revealed that he was asked by F1’s authorities not to attend the upcoming Italian GP at Monza. “We decided not to go there, but it doesn’t change anything in our battle,” he remarked.
“F1 today is different from F1 then, and the FIA is different today than it was then,” Massa added. “I really hope they understand that what happened is not fair and that they will settle the matter.”