Felipe Massah, Formula 1
Felipe Massa finished in second place in the 2008 driver's championship just one point behind McLaren's Lewis Hamilton formula1.com

SEATTLE - Former Formula 1 driver and one of Brazil's finest in the history of the competition, Felipe Massa, has filed a lawsuit in the London High Court against the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), Formula One Management (FOM) and Bernie Ecclestone, former chief executive of the Formula One Group, over the results of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, in which he lost the driver's championship by a point to then McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton.

A race that quickly became an infamous moment in Formula 1, the race is often remembered as "Crashgate," a reference to the moment when Renault driver Nelson Piquet Jr. deliberately crashed into the wall at the 17th turn on the 14th lap of the race to give teammate Fernando Alonso a better chance at winning. The location of the accident meant the safety car had to be deployed while the debris was cleaned off the track.

Nelson Piquet Jr. collides against the wall during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix

Now, 16 years later, the Brazilian driver and former Ferrari star is looking to be remunerated for the perceived the damages. Concretely, he is seeking $82 million dollars and to be recognized as the 2008 world champion.

According to a statement from his Brazilian law firm, the former Ferrari man is "seeking declarations that the FIA breached its regulations by failing to promptly investigate Nelson Piquet Junior's crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix" and, had it acted properly, Mr. Massa would have won the drivers' championship that year.

According to Massa, the results of the Singapore Grand Prix should have been voided due to Piquet's deliberate crash. That result helped Hamilton end the season above Massa, thus winning the title.

Just last year, Bernie Ecclestone, one of the individuals sued by Massa, revealed in an interview that he and then-FIA president Max Mosley knew the truth behind the scandal. "According to the statutes, we should have cancelled the race in Singapore under these conditions," Ecclestone said in the interview. "That means it would never have happened for the World Championship standings. Then Felipe Massa would have become World Champion and not Lewis Hamilton," he said.

Felipe Massa, Formula 1
Felipe Massa finished in 13th place during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix after Piquet Jr.'s clash relegated him to the pack formula1.com

More than a decade later, the Brazilian is still fighting for his cause. Should the London High Court rule in favor of Massa, the verdict would set a historic precedent in Formula 1 as the results of a race, let alone a driver's championship, have never been modified.

Formula 1 had a similar episode during the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Williams driver Nicholas Latifi crashed in the latter stages of the race, causing the safety car to be deployed. With the intention of not letting a safety car decide the season, race director Michael Masi instructed only the lapped cars in between Hamilton and Verstappen to un-lap, preparing for one last lap without the safety car. Verstappen quickly overtook Hamilton to win the championship since he was on newer tires.

With Massa still looking for answers more than 15 years later, the 2021 incident in Abu Dhabi could be used against Formula 1 and FIA. "Recent events naturally demonstrate that issues of transparency and integrity in Formula 1 remain relevant, and it is clear that serious work is needed to restore its credibility and long-term future," the statement concluded.

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