Felipe Massa mocked by ex-F1 star after suing FIA for $82m over 2008 championship result

Felipe Massa has filed a lawsuit against the FIA, Formula One Management and Bernie Ecclestone over the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

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Felipe Massa has been blasted for trying to change the result of the 2008 Formula 1 drivers’ championship after officially beginning legal proceedings against the FIA, FOM and former F1 president Bernie Ecclestone.

Massa has argued that he was the “rightful” champion and he is seeking $82million in compensation, which includes lost prize money and damages occurring from lost earnings that he would he would have earned if he won the championship. His lawyers, who have previously said Lewis Hamilton should surrender the title, confirmed they had submitted their legal action in the London High Court on Monday.

Massa, now 42, had crossed the line as the race winner, sparking celebrations within his team garage before they realised Hamilton managed to get the fifth place finish he required. He was pipped to the title by one point after Hamilton passed Timo Glock on the final lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix 16 years ago.

But the former Sauber, Ferrari and Williams driver’s legal action centres mainly around the outcome of another race, which he believes prevented him from winning the championship after extraordinary revelations from Ecclestone in 2023.

The 92-year-old admitted that the FIA and F1 were aware of the ‘Crashgate’ scandal in the same year, where Fernando Alonso and Renault won the Singapore GP after Nelson Piquet Jr purposefully crashed his car to bring out a safety car. Massa was leading the race at the time before pitting under the safety car, and a slow stop saw him fall down the order to 13th, which proved crucial as he lost the title by one point.

Frentzen jokes about Massa case

Massa‘s efforts to change the result a decade and a half later have been met with ridicule from former F1 driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen. The ex-Sauber, Jordan and Williams driver mocked Massa by comparing the situation to when he finished behind Jacques Villeneueve in 1997, suggesting it is too late to amend the result.

“I think Jacques in 97 was running illegal fuel, I am looking for a lawyer as well,” Frentzen joked, writing on his official X account. “Please for those who don’t think I am funny, I did run the same fuel like Jacques and I finished officially 2nd in the F1 championship.

“But to be serious this time, my opinion is that the sport we love is as good as it is designed to be. The traditional rules that 2 hours after official results are confirmed there is no chance to appeal. For the simplicity sake. F1 Sport is here for entertainment. At least that was my job description when I entered a foreign country at custom.”

Law firm Vieira Rezende, representing Massa in the case, said in a statement that if the FIA “acted properly, Mr. Massa would have won the Drivers’ Championship that year”.

Ex-F1 chief Ecclestone claimed in 2023 that he and former FIA president Max Mosley, who died in 2012, were aware of a potential breach during the 2008 campaign and decided not to do anything. They also refer to Ecclestone‘s comments in which he is quoted admitting that the race should have been cancelled, which would have made Massa world champion.

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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