Ecclestone says Felipe Massa’s lawsuit against F1 and FIA ‘the right thing to do’

Ecclestone says Felipe Massa's lawsuit against F1 and FIA 'the right thing to do'

According to Bernie Ecclestone, the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix lawsuit filed by Felipe Massa against the FIA, F1, and himself is the right thing to do.

Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone claims he would have advised Felipe Massa to pursue a lawsuit over the 2008 Formula 1 championship if he had asked him for guidance.

Massa and his legal team revealed their decision this week when they filed the lawsuit in the London High Court, more than six months after they began legal proceedings against the governing body, F1, and Ecclestone.

New details about the 2008 F1 World Championship were made public after former Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone and then-FIA president Max Mosley disclosed last year that they and the FIA already knew the truth about the Singapore Grand Prix’s “Crashgate” incident that year.

“According to the statutes, we should have cancelled the race in Singapore under these conditions,” Ecclestone was quoted. “That means it would never have happened for the World Championship standings.

“Then Felipe Massa would have become World Champion and not Lewis Hamilton.”

Later on, though, the 93-year-old recanted the remarks, saying he could not remember the interview in which they were made.

On that particular race day, Nelson Piquet Jr. was given instructions by Renault to deliberately crash so as to assist Fernando Alonso in the race. As a result, race leader Massa was eliminated from the points after a botched pit stop, and his title rival Lewis Hamilton finished in third.

Hamilton proceeded to claim the title by a single point ahead of Massa. However, the outcome would have been different had F1 management canceled the race results along with excluding its points from the championship race.

In particular, Massa’s case targets Ecclestone and F1 for possibly ignoring the scandal as a means to preserve the sport’s image. The FIA is accused of neglecting to adequately investigate the issue at the time.

The Former F1 driver made the announcement on Monday and filed a case in the High Court of the United Kingdom, seeking the World title and at least $82 million in damages.

“I always said I was going to fight until the end,” Massa said in the statement. “Since the FIA and FOM decided not to do anything, we will seek to right this historical injustice in court.

“The matter is now for our lawyers and they are fully authorized to do whatever is necessary so justice in sport is served.”

Ecclestone later gave his response to the news after Massa’s case was confirmed.

“If he had asked me, I would have said it was the complete right thing to do, to sue, and to let an English judge decide what is right and wrong,” he told the PA news Agency. “I cannot say anything about the outcome and what will happen.

“I have not got a clue, I don’t think anyone has, but from his point of view, it is better that an English judge comes up with a verdict. It will be of more help for him.”

It is an enormous challenge to overturn a world championship result following the official FIA gala. Formula One is governed by the FIA’s laws, which are very clear in that once championship trophies are given out at the glitzy end-of-season celebration, there is no longer a legal basis for contesting results.

However, according to, the documents submitted this week by Massa’s representatives make no mention of stripping Hamilton his 2008 title and awarding it to the Brazilian.

Rather, the emphasis of the court documents is on the monetary losses that Massa alleges he sustained as a result of the FIA’s and F1’s alleged improper handling of the matter.

This includes missing out on sponsorship and business opportunities, losing out on a €2 million championship bonus from Ferrari, and not being able to use his world title to fetch a high retainer from a team and sponsors in the years that followed.

The lawsuit estimates a stunning £64 million (roughly $81 million) in pre-interest loss as the testimony from experts will decide the precise amount.

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