Former driver Massa sues FIA, FOM and Ecclestone in a London court over 2008 Formula 1 title

SAO PAULO — Former driver Felipe Massa said on Monday he had filed a lawsuit in a London court against auto racing’s governing body FIA, series owner Formula One Management (FOM) and Bernie Ecclestone amid his attempt to claim the 2008 title.

The 42-year-old Brazilian added that he is seeking to receive an amount in damages that he did not disclose.

Massa, who has said since last year he is the “rightful” champion of 2008 due to the incident known as “Crashgate”, was the runner-up to Lewis Hamilton.

Former Ferrari and Williams driver Massa said in a statement his case would be heard at the King’s Bench Division of the High Court.

Massa’s decision comes after months of preparatory steps that included his lawyers asking auto racing bodies to reply to his public allegations of a breach of contract.

“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.”

His allegations relate to the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, when Brazilian Nelson Piquet Jr. crashed deliberately to help then-Renault teammate Fernando Alonso win the race.

The Renault team was eventually punished but the results stood, giving a path for Hamilton to beat Massa to the drivers’ title.

Last year, former F1 boss Ecclestone said in an interview with website F1 Insider that he learned through the course of 2008 that Piquet Jr. had crashed deliberately. He added he chose not to investigate the incident until the season ended, when it was too late to change the standings.

Piquet Jr.’s crash came when Massa was in front in Singapore. A safety car was brought in, which squandered his lead and gave Alonso a clear advantage as he was the only driver who had already made a pit stop to refuel.

Massa went on to finish out of the points in 13th place after a calamitous pit stop, while Hamilton finished third in that race.

The FIA, FOM and Ecclestone have yet to comment on the decision made by Massa.

Massa said in an interview with The Associated Press in August that he had more evidence of wrongdoing to support his case. The Brazilian also said then that he was considering filing other cases related to the same incident in other countries.


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