Felipe Massa is considering legal action over the 2008 Formula 1 championship which Lewis Hamilton won for McLaren.
Hamilton won the title by a slender margin after passing Timo Glock at the final corner of the final round of the season. Massa, who drove for Ferrari at the time, was left in tears on the podium but new information from Bernie Ecclestone has changed what should have happened.
In theory, the FIA should have scrapped the Singapore Grand Prix of that season due to Nelson Piquet Jr deliberately crashing to help his teammate win but F1 did not do that at the time.
“There is a rule that says that when a championship is decided, from the moment the driver receives the champion’s trophy, things can no longer be changed, even if it has been proven a theft,” Massa said to Motorsport.com
“At the time, Ferrari’s lawyers told me about this rule. We went to other lawyers and the answer was that nothing could be done. So I logically believed in this situation.”
“But after 15 years, we hear that the [former] owner of the category says that he found out in 2008, together with the president of the FIA, and they did nothing [so as] to not tarnish the name of F1.
“This is very sad, to know the result of this race was supposed to be cancelled and I would have a title. In the end, I was the one who lost the most with this result. So, we are going after it to understand all this.”
Massa finished 13th in the Singapore GP of 2008 while Hamilton was up in third as Fernando Alonso took victory.
“We decided not to do anything for now,” Ecclestone said. “We wanted to protect the sport and save it from a huge scandal.
“That’s why I used angelic tongues to persuade my former driver Nelson Piquet to keep calm for the time being.
“Back then, there was a rule that a world championship classification after the FIA awards ceremony at the end of the year was untouchable. So Hamilton was presented with the trophy and everything was fine.
“We had enough information in time to investigate the matter. According to the statutes, we should have cancelled the race in Singapore under these conditions.
“That means it would never have happened for the championship standings. And then Felipe Massa would have become world champion and not Lewis Hamilton.”