Racing Against Time: Felipe Massa's Fight for the 2008 F1 Title

Bernie Ecclestone, Formula 1 and the FIA are being sued by ex-Ferrari driver Felipe Massa for a minimum of $82 million, and it looks like Lewis Hamilton could return to six F1 championships, leaving Schumacher as the all-time greatest

by Sededin Dedovic
Racing Against Time: Felipe Massa's Fight for the 2008 F1 Title
© Mark Thompson / Getty Images

Brazilian driver Felipe Massa has filed a lawsuit against the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the former owner of the Formula 1 series (FOM) and the competition's former first man Bernie Ecclestone, seeking to be awarded his 2008 title and as much as $82 million in damages.

This lawsuit, filed in the High Court of Great Britain, represents an extremely important step in the effort to correct the alleged injustices that occurred during that season. Felipe Massa is known as one of the best drivers in Formula 1, and his career has been marked by driving for renowned teams such as Sauber, Ferrari and Williams.

He was always a good driver who always fought for the very top, a well-known name in the world of Formula 1. In the 2008 season, he achieved impressive success by finishing second overall, just one point behind the then McLaren-Mercedes driver, Lewis Hamilton.

The fight for first place was fought throughout the season, and the nuances were shared by these two drivers. However, Massa claims that the title slipped away from him due to a controversial incident at the Singapore Grand Prix that year and if that had not happened he claims he would certainly have been first.

The incident, known as "Crashgate", occurred when Renault driver Nelson Piquet Jr. deliberately caused a crash to cause the safety car to enter the track, which strategically helped his teammate Fernando Alonso to victory.

Such and similar cases are not unknown in the world of Formula 1, but judging by the words of an experienced Brazilian driver, it determined the winner of that season. Massa, who was on pole for that race, finished 13th due to a mechanical error in the pits, which left him out of the points.

This incident had a decisive impact on the outcome of the championship, as Hamilton ended up winning the title by just one point ahead of Massa. However, the question arises as to why Massa did not immediately ask for an analysis of the incident and then, as an active driver, file a complaint with Formula One.

Felipe Massa of Brazil and Ferrari looks at his car following an engine problem in 2011 Valencia© Mark Thompson / Getty Images

But regardless of everything, bitter about this event, Massa decided to start legal proceedings after 16 years to try to regain the world championship title that he believes belongs to him.

His lawsuit demands not only the recognition of the title from 2008, but also material compensation for the damage suffered, estimated at as much as 82 million dollars. Massa decided to sue F1 after so much time for reasons that are not explained, what prompted him to take this step right now.

The case attracted further public attention after Bernie Ecclestone, the former leader of Formula 1, declared that he considered Massa "the real winner" that year. These statements further fueled the fire surrounding the case, prompting Massa to decide to take legal action.

Anyone who is familiar with the case is aware that Massa is really in the right, and if he had appealed to the Formula 1 administration in 2008, the appeal would almost certainly have been accepted. At the time, this was a big scandal, and Massa, despite being recommended by his colleagues, inexplicably did not file a complaint or a lawsuit.

One of the key elements of Massa's current lawsuit is the claim that the FIA and FOM failed to respond adequately to the incident in Singapore, even though they were aware of its consequences. These organizations have been accused of covering up the scandal to protect the sport's image and prevent a potential drop in viewership and sponsorship.

Former director Ecclestone himself said at the time that everything was regular, only to later change his opinion, which greatly influenced Massa's decision to file a lawsuit. After this lawsuit, the public is wondering how the situation will develop further.

Massa is determined in his intention to fight for justice and to prove that he deserves the title of world champion. On the other hand, the FIA, FOM and Ecclestone have remained silent regarding this case, which further fuels speculation and interest in the outcome of the court proceedings.

This case is just one of a number of high-profile scandals that have rocked the world of Formula 1 in recent years. Recent accusations against FIA president Mohamed Ben Sulayem, as well as the controversy surrounding Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner, have further stirred the public and raised questions about the sport's transparency and integrity.

Recently, a lot of scandals and various incidents in the world of Formula 1, although last season was phenomenal and this one started with scandals. The 2024 F1 season resumes on March 24 with the Australian Grand Prix always an interesting GP.

Felipe Massa Bernie Ecclestone Lewis Hamilton