Massa taking legal action against FIA, FOM over crashgate – reports

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In the round-up: 2008 championship runner-up Felipe Massa has reportedly commenced legal action against F1 and the FIA over the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix controversy

In brief

Massa taking legal action against FIA, FOM over crashgate – reports

Former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa has reportedly commenced legal action against Formula 1 and the FIA over the ‘crashgate’ scandal by sending a Letter Before Claim to both organisations.

Reuters reports that Massa’s representatives claim he lost millions of euros in earnings after a deliberate crash by Nelson Piquet Jnr in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix cost him points which ultimately resultyed in him losing the championship.

Former FOM chief Bernie Ecclestone claimed in an interview earlier this year that he and former FIA president Max Mosley were aware that Piquet’s crash was intentional but had not acted to avoid a controversy over the results of the championship.

Third place a “dream” position – Alonso

Fernando Alonso says he struggles to believe he is in third position in the drivers’ championship at the summer break.

The Aston Martin driver is the highest-placed non-Red Bull driver in the championship on 149 points after six podiums in the first half of the season. He is one point ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

“A dream first half of the season,” Alonso told media including RaceFans. “We are P3 in the constructors’ championship in front of Ferrari. We are P3 in the drivers’ championship together with Lewis. It was impossible to think this way in Bahrain.”

Hughes retained by McLaren FE

Formula E driver Jake Hughes will remain with McLaren next season after signing a contract extension with the team.

The 29-year-old competed in his rookie season with McLaren this year, taking two pole positions in Diriyah and Monaco and recording a best finish of fifth on three occasions to end the season 12th in the standings.

“We had a bit of a mixed season, but I had a lot of personal highlights which I’m hoping to build upon next year with the team and fight for wins and podiums, which I have no doubt we’ll be able to achieve together,” said Hughes.

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Comment of the day

After Formula 1 tested the Alternative Tyre Allocation at the Hungarian Grand Prix before the summer break, Roger Ayles didn’t think much of it…

I can’t say I was a fan of it.

Less running is never a good thing from a fan point of view, Especially for those paying a small fortune to travel to & attend the weekend.

I remember back in 2005 when the limited tire sets that were available as well as the restrictions on engine/gearbox usage resulted in hardly any running going on during the Friday sessions and how atrociously boring it was as a fan to have paid a few hundred dollars only see a handful of cars doing any running & how frustrating it was that we were only seeing a few 3rd drivers doing that running rather than the actual race drivers we had gone there to see.

Additionally as Albon said the smaller teams not bring able to throw on a softer compound for Q1 is just giving the bigger teams who have the pace advantage to get through on hards an even bigger advantage than they already have which will likely lead to less surprises with smaller teams managing to get though unexpectedly.

I also just in general don’t like things being limited in a way that gives teams fewer options because it’s usually always when teams have more options and more freedom in how they go about using tires, compounds and strategy that we end up with the better racing due to more variety in what everyone does. Forcing everyone to do the same thing is never a good thing.

They should be giving teams more options rather than less.
Roger Ayles

Happy birthday!

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On this day in motorsport

  • On this day in 1973 Ronnie Peterson put his Lotus 72 on pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix

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104 comments on “Massa taking legal action against FIA, FOM over crashgate – reports”

  1. Coventry Climax
    18th August 2023, 0:05

    I doubt Massa can win that game.
    Apart from that, it does not make his career look better.
    Not like a cherry on the cake, more like a sour pickle.

    1. Renault cheated, and the FIA knew about it during the same season but chose not to do anything to avoid a scandal. He’s right to sue the FIA for cash that might have caused him (by Ecclestone’s own admission, Lewis wouldn’t have become champion). Even if they chose not to null the entire race like Massa wanted (and instead did something more sensible like only DQ Renault, which still would give Lewis the title), the fact that FIA didn’t even bother to take further action is barely damning. Massa was never given that chance to make his case at that time.

      If the Piquets didn’t revealed it the following year due to their sour grapes with Renault, their cheating would still be undiscovered – all this while the FIA knew.

      1. @yaru your posts seem to be based on the assumption that Ecclestone is telling the truth and have automatically assumed guilt based on that alone.

        You have also criticised Ecclestone in the past for being a manipulative liar – why do you believe him now when, in the past, you didn’t believe a word he said?

        1. Not every liar only tells lies.
          Not even eccles

      2. Lewis wouldn’t have become champion

        Massa’s loss of points that day was due to his pit crew screwing up with the fuel hose.
        A screw-up that they were fully capable of reproducing on any pit stop, as anyone who has followed F1 for a number of decades will know.

        Massa had to stop at sometime in the race for fuel, so it was just a question of when the screw-up occurred.
        Many others stopped in the same couple of laps and did not have that problem.

        As to Bernie coming out with inflammatory comments – anyone would think he had a court case himself that needed a distraction.

        1. As you note, by creating that story and suckering Massa in to this lawsuit, nobody is paying attention to Bernie’s own legal case. Seems that many here have forgotten that Bernie has a reputation for creating media storms for his own personal benefit…

          Meanwhile, it seems Bernie is now leaving Massa out to dry by saying that he doesn’t support his case and denying that he even made the remarks in the first place.

          1. Haven’t seen that reported, but I can imagine BE doing just that.
            I imagine Massa is looking for some financial settlement. Consider the repercussions of FIA agreeing to take away another Hamilton title…

      3. But Massa still failed in the race– you can’t blame the pit stop fiasco he suffered on Alonso.

        So if anything, it cements Hamilton’s place as champion, as he should move up the standings. You don’t throw out an entire race because of one cheater– you throw out the cheaters, and everyone moves up the rankings.

        Massa is being used, by Ecclestone, in revenge for Piquet Sr. getting smacked for making racist comments about Hamilton.

        Pity Massa doesn’t realize this.

    2. Exactly. I liked Felipe as a character.. but this sour puss whining and desperate need to be a F1 champ, nearly a decade after he’s retired is just sad. He’s never going to win that battle. The race will remain as a part of the history books… and his fuel pump would have been attached to his car regardless of Piquet’s crash.

      He has no one to blame but Ferrari for that mistake. He needs to look back at his own performances over that season to realise that him and Ferrari lost the championship by themselves. If he didn’t spin 412 times at the British GP that season, he would have been champ regardless of Singapore.

    3. The problem is that if Felipe was wrongly denied the title, and nothing is done about it, that irreversibly stains Felipe’s career as well. People often forget when cheating was necessary for a title to occur, especially if it wasn’t detected at the time.

      Since the FIA does not wish to investigate (and due to subsequent developments probably wouldn’t be trusted if it tried), launching the court case is the only way Felipe can find out if he actually is the 2008 champion or not.

      1. @alianora-la-canta It depends how you define ‘wrongly’. In terms of natural justice, the Singapore results would have been annulled. Still making Hamilton champion. The problem with Massa’s argument is that he affirms a given that ‘he would have won’ Singapore and so the championship. But that’s neither known or natural justice: we can’t know how the rest of the race would have played out if Piquet hadn’t deliberately crashed, nor can we know how the remaining races would have been – because team and driver decisions would all have been different because of the different points and championship standings.
        Massa’s argument is based on Ecclestone’s mud stirring – which as @anon points out is quite infamous and self-serving, as ever.

      2. When did clever cheating stop being a factor in title contention?

    4. Funny how in the mind of people Hamilton should be given wdc 2021 for a manipulated race, but Massa shouldn’t for a manipulated race

      1. Did you just start watching F1. The two incidents are like apples and oranges. The governing FIA body did not manipulate Singapore 2008. A team deliberately crashed to cause a safety car incident to help their team win. All teams pitted during the race Ferrari botched their pit stop cos Massa left the pits with the fuel hose on. Whose fault was that? At the end of the day its not the race that should have been cancelled but Renault disqualified . In that case LH would have extended his points lead on Massa., It was also not the last race of the season. Nothing shows that without the crash Massa would have won the race. Also if we start retrospectively doing this then I guess Schumacher would not have won in 94. 89 and 91 incidents involving Prost and Senna would all be different. In AD 21, Masi changed the rule during the race.. Never in the history of F1 have only lapped cars between the leader and the second placed been allowed to unlap themselves .

  2. Oh Felipe. I used to feel sorry for you. You caught a lot of bad breaks. Now I’m just sad for you because of your inability to move on. Hopefully he will accept the inevitable outcome of the court finding against him and he can put this sorry saga behind him.

    1. Yep, not a good optic.

    2. @g-funk Not inevitable, as it depends on the respective cases presented and the jurisdiction in which they are presented. Also, if it is found that the FIA covered up its knowledge, then the FIA hasn’t moved on either (and probably never will unless someone stops it from repeatedly covering up its conduct until it is able to claim it is too late).

      1. @alianora-la-canta The picture at the top tells the whole story. Felipe wouldn’t have won the WDC because of the fuel rig incident in Singapore, not because of a conspiracy as a result of Crashgate. He could have won the race and the WDC if he didn’t leave the pits with the fuel rig attached but that was not the fault of Piquet Jr. or the FIA and there was no conspiracy there. That was the fault of Ferrari.

        It’s also notable that Ecclestone is already backtracking on his interview that led to all this. All he wanted to do was stir up the pot against Lewis because Lewis slammed him for being out of touch. Which he is. And now that Felipe has been manipulated into this fool’s errand, Ecclestone is backing away because he knows it is all BS.

  3. Coventry Climax
    18th August 2023, 0:23

    Congrats to Jenson on his new toy. I’m sure it’s fun to drive; the Lotus engineers generally succeed in that respect.
    I won’t reply on the ‘sign here’ platform, Jenson, so I’ll reply to your question here: I understand the reference, and it looks decent, but I would have prefered another accent color. Sorry, just not generally a fan of green. Unless it’s nature, that is.

  4. Oh come on Felipe, give it a rest; you’re only diminishing yourself.

    1. @stever How, exactly, is trying to get a result corrected diminishing anyone? This attitude comes across as pro-cheating, regardless of the rights and wrongs of this specific case.

      1. The problem is that you seem to have already presumed guilt based on rather questionable evidence.

    2. How is he diminishing himself? According to the reporting he’s not saying he should be made champion, because that’s not going anywhere. You cannot replay the events, and has been pointed out, it wasn’t Alonso and Renault who messed up Massa’s pitstop. Or, for that matter, his spin in Malaysia earlier in the year, without which he would have been champion regardless of the events in Singapore.

      However, Ecclestone claims there was a cover up. Is that true? Who knows. That’s something a court might now have a look at.

      The simplest solution the FIA should have been on years ago to avoid this whole mess, and one that has been used in many sports, is simply to strike Renault from the Singapore results, and ban the lot of them from the entire season for good measure. It’s ridiculous that Alonso can still claim he won that race. Instead, they are proven and admitted cheaters.

      Also, the sooner F1 and the FIA stop working with ‘Singapore’ Symonds the better.

  5. Ref – Comment of the day

    Maybe the bottom 5 teams in the constructors championship going into a weekend with the ‘alternative tyre allocation’ in use, should be allowed to use any tyres they want in Q1, Q2 and Q3 (if they make it there of course). The tyre restrictions, then, only apply to the top 5 constructors going into that weekend. It would certainly give us fans ‘some’ hope of the chance there could be some giant killing taking place.
    I do think that the FIA reducing the number of overall sets of tyres a driver has over the whole weekend is not necessary. Maybe make the teams use 2 sets minimum in each practice session and then hand them back and just leave the teams to work their own tyre strategy, of which compounds of tyres to use up and hand back and which ones to keep for Qally and the race. That way you would hope the fans are going to see some decent running in the Friday and Saturday morning practice sessions.

    It would only be a small tweak to what the FIA and F1 have worked out already.

    Re – Massa claim against FOM and the FiA
    From a moral point of view, its a terrible shame and on the surface might sound like grounds for a case, but didn’t he drive off with the re-fueling hose attached to the car still in that same race? I might be wrong, but surely that cost him more time loss in the pits from a team and/or driver error, than he would ever have lost by just doing some laps behind the safety car. I’m going to try and follow any updates on this case, as it could start to get a cut throat nasty. Especially where Bernie Eccleston is involved…….

  6. Okay, okay, Mr. Felipe!
    You had to not make so many mistakes last season to be the champion.
    Nobody told you to spin like a merry-go-round in Australia and Great Britain…
    And in the case of Singapore, blame the team for giving the green light while the refueling hose was still connected…

    1. *mistakes in that season

    2. He’s trying to find out if his biggest mistake was to trust the FIA.

  7. I see lots of Massa negative comments here, yes maybe he did make some mistakes and could still have won the championship had he not made them. That does not change the fact that but for the issue being questioned he would have won it. So the question is only was he cheated out of it or not?
    I would love to see all of your comments if you had dedicated your life to something to find out that “maybe” the very organisation that was profiting from your effort unfairly denied you the opportunity.
    From a Lewis fan perspective I understand the emotionally driven negativity but facts don’t really care about feelings, this is in no way saying Lewis cheated, all he did was continue driving as best he could.
    This is a simple “did the officials cheat Massa out of it? and if they did, then correct it?” that’s all.

    That said, I can’t see them changing no matter what happens.

    1. Not a Lewis fan, so no input from that angle. Too much time has passed – Felipe should have pursued this much earlier if he hoped for any chance of success. If my brain is working correctly this happened 15 years ago for god’s sake. If we all could go back and right all the ‘wrongs’ done us over the years……

      1. I agree with you this will be more a case of sueing the Fia/Fom for money not for title for damages for lost income. Sporting results isn’t changeable by a court could be only done by Sporting body while has a limited time to appeal too.

        While cheating isn’t pushable by law he could make a case in a civil court for damaging income and 15 years isn’t so long ago we can forget it.

        1. @macleod Sporting courts can and have changed sporting results, most notably due to doping. If a criminal conviction is applied that by logical extension should change the result, courts have the power to impose that (and in the case of the FIA, the French court explicitly has the power to order that because otherwise the FIA couldn’t have a base in France). The fact that nobody’s done that in a F1 context yet doesn’t mean the power does not exist, it means people have typically preferred the faster response times of the FIA’s court of appeal and the Swiss Court of Arbitration (the latter itself being a legally binding court).

          1. @alianora-la-canta But is this a criminal offense? I think it’s just a civil case i am afraid to say.

      2. @stever Not saying that Felipe should be pursuing this, but the reason he is doing it now and not earlier is that it has only recently been revealed that the FIA allegedly knew about the crash scandal at the time.

      3. @stever He couldn’t, because the information that indicated there may have been a deliberate cover-up only emerged earlier this year.

        1. (This matters because as far as I know, no jurisdiction relevant to the matter allows one to sue based on an accidental cover-up, unless it falls under an exemption – what those exemptions are varies by jurisdiction).

    2. @malrg

      That does not change the fact that but for the issue being questioned he would have won it.

      Is that really a fact? First, there is no guarantee he or Ferrari wouldn’t have screwed up at another point in the race without the crash. Second, another point situation would surely have meant that other decisions would have been made later in the championship.

      Sure, it would have helped him considerably, but things aren’t static.

    3. So the question is only was he cheated out of it or not?


      If Hamilton can let Abu Dhabi 2021 slide (which is literally cheated out of a WDC)… then Felipe needs to let this just be. He was world champion for 20 seconds.. and thats as good as its going to get for him.

      1. Hamilton was less deserving than verstappen in 2021, so he was definitely not chated out.

        Massa and hamilton were pretty equal in 2008, both made plenty of mistakes, I think it’s good to pursue the case legally, regardless of the fact it probably won’t change anything, not like he has anything to lose.

        1. Masi making up rules and thereby changing the WDC result is cheating…

          1. Masi had the power to see as he done is what the rules said even if a rule must be broken to achive what the owners said no Race finish behind a safetycar (after Spa)
            I think he was a escape goat for that incident.

        2. What a weird take. What’s wrong with you man?

      2. cheated*

      3. At the end of the day, he’s not going to get a championship from this.

        However, there is evidence that the FIA’s actions cost him significant amounts of money. For a civil case like this, all he needs to do is show that in the balance of probability, without the FIA’s actions, he would have finished higher than he did and gained bonuses etc because of that, possibly that he would have made more money in his later career sure to having a WDC. This isn’t a criminal case, so all he has to do is prove that it’s likely, better than 50/50, that this is the case.

        This could well amount to millions.

        TBH I support him bringing this case. If the FIA and FOM did know and chose to keep quiet, as Ecclestone has said, then they need punishing for that, and they should be compensating anyone who lost out. They shouldn’t, and can’t, change the record books, but they shouldn’t be allowed to get away with such behaviour.

        1. TBH I support him bringing this case. If the FIA and FOM did know and chose to keep quiet, as Ecclestone has said, then they need punishing for that, and they should be compensating anyone who lost out. They shouldn’t, and can’t, change the record books, but they shouldn’t be allowed to get away with such behaviour.

          I don’t mind the case and to bring to the surface what the FIA (they are responsible) did wrong.
          As much as I dislike Ecclestone, FOM merely paid out to teams (not drivers) what they owed them based on the FIA final standing (and other agreements).

          But Massa is not a disadvantaged party. His ranking would still be the same had Renault been excluded from the race result and final World Cup standing.
          I guess Rosberg should be the one who bringing this case; an extra win and two places higher in the 2008 WDC.

          1. But Massa is not a disadvantaged party. His ranking would still be the same had Renault been excluded from the race result and final World Cup standing.

            That would be something for Massa to prove in court, and for the court to decide. It wouldn’t surprise me if they found against him, but I still think it’s right for this to be brought to court to get it into the open.

            About the only thing I could see being argued is the following:
            If the FIA knew that Renault and Piquet had cheated like this, they didn’t need the testimony of Piquet. Therefore, Piquet didn’t need to be given amnesty, and they would both have been disqualified from the championship. This would have given Massa 3 more points (2 in Germany and 1 in Japan) without giving any to Hamilton, which would have seen Massa win the WDC.

            It’s a bit of a stretch, really. Would Ecclestone’s testimony of what Piquet Sr. said about what Piquet Jr. said have been evidence enough? Would they have found sufficient evidence without giving the drivers amnesty had they started an investigation immediately?

            But all this does need dragging into the light, IMHO, however that is accomplished. If officials in the sport knew that the crash had been deliberate but kept quiet about it, that’s a really serious level of corruption which needs highlighting.

          2. both have been disqualified from the championship. This would have given Massa 3 more points (2 in Germany and 1 in Japan) without giving any to Hamilton, which would have seen Massa win the WDC.

            You missed the minor difference between being disqualified from a race (all others can move up) or disqualified from the championship (their results do not count, but do NOT impact the individual race results, e.g. McLaren in 2007).

            Nice try, but no cigar ;)

          3. There’s a few things going on here:

            – If the FIA knew Renault and Piquet had cheated, both Renaults would have to be thrown from the 2008 championship (since Flavio Briatore got a 5-year-ban upheld in court, and nobody’s arguing his behaviour was different since that case happened). If not for the offence directly, then for the suspended sentence from the spying allegation from 2007. Other sports have had to change their results listings based on court proceedings, so the FIA regulation that otherwise prevents this won’t help it here. This doesn’t even need an argument about immunity, since Flavio’s behaviour would have disqualified Piquet Jr. – it’s hard to get a result if one does not have a valid team in which to drive in the first place.

            – If Bernie Ecclestone’s take on the situation is temporally true, then there’d be an argument about whether failure on the FIA’s part to meaningfully act on the information before the race resulted in the pitlane chaos. If it was reasonable to assume Ferrari deciding its own strategy (rather than having it imposed upon it by a crash, or triggered by Barrichello’s engine failing 2 laps later) would have led to its not leaving the fuel hose attached to Massa’s car, then extrapolation would be needed to figure out the effect on the rest of the race. Depending on the jurisdiction, the court may have no choice but to attempt that extrapolation. Note: it would not be necessary to prove Bernie’s entire testimony (either at the time or now), reasonable suspicion at the time would have required the FIA to take some sort of action, even if it was an announcement that the allegation would be investigated by the stewards/FIA courts post-race and a quick “What’s going on?” letter to Renault specifically or all teams generally (which could have had a deterrent effect on the plan happening).

            – If either of the above happened, this would also potentially mess up the 2009 title results (not the headline, but the mid-tier positions) since Renault would need to be excluded from all the results prior to when Flavio Briatore actually left, and payouts are done based on championship position post-penalty unless FOM (as it was then) grants an exemption.

            Note that neither being disqualified from a race nor being disqualified from a championship requires the behaviour Facts&Stats cited; the FIA judges these on a case-by-case situation, meaning the court can overrule the decision in either direction if regarded as incompatible with the law.

          4. You missed the minor difference between being disqualified from a race (all others can move up) or disqualified from the championship (their results do not count, but do NOT impact the individual race results, e.g. McLaren in 2007).

            Nice try, but no cigar ;)

            I did get the difference. I was just pointing out pretty much the only way I could Massa being able to seriously claim a significant loss of earnings.

            I don’t think it’s completely unreasonable that, had it been shown that the team ordered Piquet to crash deliberately, they could have been disqualified from the entire championship. It’s a very serious breach of the rules, and highly dangerous besides. Not that I think it’d have been likely, but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility.

            For me, to win this case, Massa would have to show (on the balance of probability) that:
            a) senior officials at FOM and/or FIA knew Piquet had been ordered to crash on purpose, and
            b) if it had been made public, the penalty would have given him the championship.

            My scenario is pretty much the only one I can see which would have led to (b) being satisfied.

          5. @drmouse,
            I largely agree with you, and understand that you are merely pointing out how Massa could win this (civil) case.
            I just opinion that:
            1) FOM is not a party in this. FIA, and FIA only, determines race results, penalties, disqualifications, and Championship rankings. FOM merely makes payments to teams (not to drivers like Massa) based on what FIA presents to them.
            I don’t even think FOM can deviate from the official FIA ranking even if they disagree with it.

            2) Even if FIA disqualified Renault and both drivers from the 2008 Championship, then they would not rearrange each race result, but merely put a DSQ after (or instead of) whatever points they accumulated.
            Only if FIA disqualifies them from individual races then the other drivers (could) move up a place and earn more points

        2. @drmouse Strange as it sounds, Felipe’s about as likely to get a title from this than money. Civil cases typically need to be brought within a certain timeframe, unless there’s a criminal element – and if there is a criminal element, forcing a change of title would be trivial.

      4. @todfod Lewis wasn’t given a choice in the matter. His team elected not to pursue the matter due to believing further pressing the point would damage F1 (in a wording that made it sound to me like it was not exactly voluntary). Let’s say I don’t think we’ve heard the last of that one.

      5. If Hamilton can let Abu Dhabi 2021 slide (which is literally cheated out of a WDC)… then Felipe needs to let this just be. He was world champion for 20 seconds.. and thats as good as its going to get for him.

        You said everything.
        Or the FIA re-opens every championships and redistribute points, would be fun!

    4. I think he is right to try sue the organisation for what is clearly mismanagement.

      However he is not looking for justice, but a very specific outcome that will benefit him only, by keeping all other factors the same. Which is very opportunistic, I think most people agree that it’s impossible the know the outcome of the race if the crash didn’t happen and we get in to speculation.

    5. I kind of understand the Massa point of view. But imagine Massa getting his title via court (highly unlikely) – Lewis and McLaren can spin the same story with almost the same arguments. It’s not Lewis who cheated or his team – if that were the case this would be a completely different story. But even then I doubt the result would be reversed so many years later.

      1. No this will be not about the title that isn’t possible but a civil court could award lost income in money.

        1. I guess but still with the angle of having ‘lost’ the championship – and that’s never gonna fly. I am also curious to hear at what moment in the timeline of events – Massa thinks the FIA could / should have acted. Straight after the Singapore GP or at the latest before the Brazil GP (which McLaren would have never been okay with). At the time the FIA would have needed very hard evidence to disqualify Renault or even expel it from the championship and I doubt they had enough – it’s an easy defense for the FIA to make.

      2. @streydt There are multiple championships, including all of the last 3 years’, that would fall under suspicion in such a case. The FIA will not want that to happen, and will fight tooth and nail against the outcome.

    6. didn’t he drive off with the re-fueling hose attached to the car still in that same race? I might be wrong, but surely that cost him more time loss in the pits from a team and/or driver error,

      Yup. He did.
      You can put it down as a small driver error (never trust a Ferrari crew to do things correctly all the time) but mostly a team error in that they gave him the go signal before the hose was detached.

  8. Old news

    1. @jerejj The news is new, and has implications on this year’s championship. It’s the opposite of old news.

      1. @alianora-la-canta
        By old I meant something that had already been reported earlier this year, so sudden reappearance surprised me.

        1. @jerejj that was talked over but now he files a case for real.

  9. notagrumpyfan
    18th August 2023, 7:25

    Massa’s representatives claim he lost millions of euros in earnings after a deliberate crash by Nelson Piquet Jnr in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix cost him points

    I would support a review of that race (result) and eliminate Alonso’s Renault from the results. There is nothing illegal about (Piquet) crashing, but the team is fully responsible for organising such a crash and got only partially punished.
    Massa will also benefit as he will now be classified 12th (Congratulations!) and he can then prepare his next lawsuit against the mechanic who released him early, Ferrari as a team, the fuel hose manufacturer and Shell just to make it a quartet.

    1. notagrumpyfan
      18th August 2023, 7:46

      PS the guy who paid “more than £8million” for LH’s Pagani Zonda and now had/saw it crashed might join Massa in this lawsuit.
      If Lewis hadn’t won that championship, then he would not have been able to buy/get that car specially made for him, and could not have sold it in 2021 for this huge amount.

    2. Crashing on purpose is against FIA regulations and can be subject to a penalty in its own right, even before considering other aspects of the matter.

      1. Crashing on purpose is against FIA regulations

        Not specifically…
        It can be classified as intentionally altering a result or unsporting behaviour – but then so can every other application of team orders. And that’s ultimately all that happened here – typical, F1 standard issue team orders.

        For Massa’s case to be successful, they’d also be saying that every other team order is also illegal.
        And that would set a very interesting precedent for the future in a series that relies on them so heavily and uses them so overtly…

        1. The Code isn’t meant to be specific, because it applies to all FIA sanctioned motorsport.

          What Renault did was clearly unsportsmanlike, certainly an orchestrated attempt to influence the result of the race, and potentially dangerous for both spectators and other competitors.

          Even if nothing else comes of this other than that Renault is stripped of their ill-gotten win, that’ll be a good day for F1.

          1. What Renault did was clearly unsportsmanlike, certainly an orchestrated attempt to influence the result of the race, and potentially dangerous for both spectators and other competitors.

            Sure (although I’d dispute the danger element) – but all of those conditions apply to a huge number of other deliberately and inadvertantly enacted events in F1’s history too.
            To alter a result now (which they certainly won’t) would effectively open them up to a class action style situation and enable/require altering every other result that has been affected by team orders.

            I don’t expect anything to come of this at all. This is a racing series where the rules and conditions of entry are clearly laid out to each competitor prior to the start of each season.
            One of those conditions is that the FIA controls the running of the competition, and that their judgements are discretionary.
            Massa will be told he has no case, and the defendant will have a strong enough case to assume that already.

          2. The FIA also has a duty to uphold the Code, and if what Ecclestone claims is true – that they conspired with the guilty parties to keep the cheating under wraps, thereby avoiding any sanctions from being applied during the championship – then the FIA definitely has some explaining to do.

            You’re right that they won’t change the result, but they can strike the ‘winner’ from the record. They should have already done that back in 2009.

  10. My guess is that the FIA/FOM will settle with Massa to avoid potentially embarrassing court proceedings. There’s no way they want all those skeletons dragged out of the closet in open court, even if Massa wouldn’t ultimately win the case.

    1. I really hope not, but I suspect this will be the case.

  11. Hope Massa gets millions!

  12. There’s so much to unpack in this Massa case, unsurprisingly given the amount of time passed.

    Firstly, I’m not sure why Massa is doing this, I’ve not read of him being in financial trouble which is surely his primary motivation.

    The FIA will not open the can of worms of rewriting championships. Cheating in the 80s and 90s was widely viewed as bending the rules and was celebrated with all the same protagonists at the forefront of the sport from the mid 80s onwards. The idea that anyone was naive to the fact Renault cheated is a revision of history. The entire paddock and fanbase were suspicious and everyone agreed this was a step too far.

    Moseley would argue that everyone knew what was happening but no-one could prove it and the only person able to confirm the story would wait until his job was under threat.

    If we exclude Renault from one race, Hamilton is champion, if we exclude them from all Hamilton gains 6 points and Massa 5, Hamilton is champion. Given what has happened with Carlos Ghosn, Renault will want all underhand doings hidden and forgotten about – so they’ll pressurise the FIA into settling this behind closed doors.

    Massa’s argument that this cost him financially is laughable. He was more popular for losing that title than winning it. His magnanimous nature won him millions of fans and insulated him from criticism during his poor Ferrari performances. I’d argue losing that title gained him more than he lost.

    Finally, sport is so fickle that one different decision has huge consequences. Singapore was round 15 of 18. If Renault were disqualified on the night of the Singapore race and didn’t go to the remaining 3 rounds the results would be radically different. Would Hamilton and Massa have collided for example? We know how it played out, let’s move on – this cash grab from Massa would set a horrible president if it had any impact on the results.

    1. @rbalonso Spending most of one’s youth chasing a title and then finding out it was potentially denied by the very people one trusted to tally the results correctly, would be considered sufficient motive for a lot of people – certainly for a lot of athletes.

      It’s not for the FIA to decide whether this can of worms gets opened, not now the law is involved. Can’t settle a criminal case (which with the time that has passed, this would presumably have to be in order to have standing in court). However, the ageing of the paddock means that it is seasons after 2008, rather than before, which are more likely to get challenged (Damon Hill may have the only non-subjective pre-2008 argument for which sufficient witnesses are around to support either side of a case, but he deliberately chose not to pursue the matter at the time for reasons that, as far as I can tell, haven’t changed since).

      Mosley won’t argue anything because he’s dead.

      Massa’s representatives (who are the people cited as having lost out) may not have seen that popularity translate into dollars in their pocket. And Felipe himself may well consider the title itself to be worth more than the money. After all, he spent his youth chasing it.

      1. @alianora-la-canta let’s be clear here: no-one is suggesting results weren’t tallied correctly. The accusation is that without the crash Massa may have won the race. The facts of the case have been known for years and those involved have been challenged numerous times. The reason Massa is bringing a case at all is based on a sentence in an interview with Ecclestone.

        Massa will do very well to convince a judge of a conspiracy as he’s directly claiming. All of this is a day late and a dollar short, if Massa suspected wrongdoing he should have raised it to the court of arbitration for sport in the last few months of 2008.

        There won’t be enough evidence for a jury to find corruption and Moseley’s representatives will point to the interviews where he said “we suspect it but couldn’t prove it”. A court can’t tell a sport what to do in the event of cheating in a game. Massa’s arguments are spurious at best, there’s no guarantee he’d have won the race based on results in the first 25% of the race. He’d be laughed out of court.

        On top of that there is no historical precedent. The only example I can think of is excluding Tyrrell for a technical infringement which happened mid season. Even if we annul all Renault’s results Massa still isn’t Champion. But again, none of this is new information based on the Bernie interview.

        I’m very sorry Massa lost out on this title, but it’s not a guarantee he’d have won it and it’s not a guarantee he’d have been paid more. I’m still unclear as to who would pay it in any event. What I am sure of is this episode has made me lose a lot of respect for someone I held in high esteem.

  13. Considering Massa was gifted the Spa win that year, at Hamilton’s expense, I’d suggest he’d do well to keep his mouth shut. Whether Renault cheated or not, the circumstances were the same for every other team – and Ferrari were the only one to fluff their pitstop.

    Whatever “moral and reputational damage” he thinks he should be compensated for is likely to be increased rather than minimised by this spurious and groundless claim. It’s clearly a grift. Does he need the money? Has he given it all away to Bolsonaro?

    1. A suspicion of corruption in both directions would lead to more reason, not less, to expose it. Of course, we don’t yet know if any corruption at all happened…

    2. Whether Renault cheated or not, the circumstances were the same for every other team – and Ferrari were the only one to fluff their pitstop.

      And there you have it, he’s suing the wrong people. He should have sued Ferrari years ago.

    3. Whether Renault cheated or not

      There is no question about Renault cheating. They admitted this.

      The only question is if the FIA and FOM conspired to cover this up during the 2008 season.

      The rest of the world only found out in 2009.

    4. No gift at all.

      Sir got a well-deserved penalty. Which was really surprising for everybody because Sir always seemed to get away with everything, no matter how egregious.

      But somehow this time was different. Some steward apparently did not get the untouchability memo.

  14. Chaos Theory means that Massa cannot be sure he would have done any better than he actually did.

    1. @sonnycrockett No court in the world requires certainty.

      1. @alianora-la-canta Piquet crashed on lap 14 of 61. The rest of the race was packed with incidents and retirements, Massa spinning, Raikkonen crashing out – nothing to do with Piquet and all completely unpredictable at the outset of the race. So the idea that anyone can have any idea what would have happened had Piquet not crashed is simply absurd. I mean try: describe the next 47 laps to us as you think some ‘highly probable outcome’ can be retrospectively predicted. Try it.
        That’s an issue you refuse to address. I’m OK with nullifying the race results. Even Renault’s entire season. But wildly guessing an alternative race result as somehow ‘the most likely’ and having that guess determine a championship 15 years later? Come on. Say Massa wins. Where does everyone else finish, in order? Or doesn’t that matter?

    2. Chaos Theory means that Massa cannot be sure he would have done any better than he actually did.

      Is that the theory that says that where it is possible to screw up a strategy, Ferrari will. ??

  15. It’s good he’s taking it to court, because the accusation that FIA tried to cover up crashgate is pretty serious. And if true (Ecclestone as a source is always dubious) for me the perfect outcome would be: Millions from FOM/FIA for Massa, Disqualification for Alonso at Singapur, Renault excluded of the championship entirely and Hamilton keeps the title.
    The final race was utter heartbreak for us Tifosi, but it’s those feelings that make us love (and hate) F1 and now it’s done and dusted.

    1. This is – at least now, so many years later – probably the fairest possible outcome in this case.

      1. Why? Massa gets a million dollar pay off for what exactly? Not causing FIA embarrassment? Why is that fair? The money has to come from somewhere, meaning inevitably others will lose out just to make Massa a bit richer.

        1. @david-br Because one of the former leaders of FOM claims that his organisation, together with the FIA, conspired to keep the cheating plot under wraps. In doing so, they denied the F1 World Championship as a whole a proper reaction to said cheating. That Massa’s lawyers claim he is the rightful champion is a bit fanciful, but this isn’t uncommon in such claims. They probably know all too well that there is not going to be any trophy-exchange, but a settlement is quite likely as neither the FIA nor FOM has much to gain from a months long investigation into their business practises.

          1. Sure but why should Massa alone receive millions as ‘pay off’ for a claim you yourself are describing as ‘a bit fanciful’? And wouldn’t paying him millions act as some kind of ‘confirmation’ that he should have been champion?

    2. @roadrunner Seriously, why should Massa get millions? It’s a completely unsubstantiated claim that he would have won the title without the Piquet incident. Of course Hamilton keeps the title, he won it. Disqualifying Alonso and Renault, fine by me.

      1. It’s not really about Massa. It’s more that this is seemingly the only way to make FIA/FOM accountable for the cover up (if there really was one). Massa lost the championship to Hamilton, no doubt about that.

        1. @roadrunner But I’m sure Massa’s interest isn’t in making FIA/FOM accountable, it’s in being declared a Formula 1 champion. And receiving a pay out will inevitably be taken as some kind of ‘admission’ from the governing bodies that he was the ‘true champion’.

  16. He obviously won’t get the title, but should receive a good sum of money since apparently it was out in the open even before the end of the season, so he was royally screwed and the big fish just acted as it’s part of business.

    In fact i have to pinch myself to believe they didn’t exclude Alonso from the result because “he didn’t know” even if his strategy for that race didn’t make any sense without that SC coming out when it did.

    1. It’s doubtful anyone in F1 actually believes Alonso didn’t know, but they can’t prove it and he just smiles it off.

      It’s actually quite curious how careful folks handled this, especially since Alonso’s cheating antics were on full display just months earlier in the McLaren spying shenanigans (together with his now Aston Martin colleague Pedro de la Rosa). FIA president Mosley in particular tried to play it off as somehow a noble whistle blowing act so he could get everyone focused on going after Ron Dennis again.

  17. In my opinion …… it’s 15yrs, get over it and find something else to occupy your time, because it gives the impression that you’re behaving like a spoiled whining brat …. but you’re way way too late, like 15yrs too late.

    1. I was never a fan of Massa. He just felt out of place between all other drivers and quit frankly came across as a cry baby (to me). Always whining over things not being his fault and stepping into the victim role while never really delivering as a driver. So, this is perfectly in line with my view of him and a confirmation of my opinion. Really annoying he is back in some kind of spotlight again. And again with something that doesnt stand a chance.

  18. I know it sucks, but let’s be realistic. Massa didn’t lose the championship due to Piquet. If you want to pinpoint Singapore, blame your lights system. He had to make a pitstop at some point irrespective of the cause. Additionally, he didn’t lose the championship in Singapore. He arguably lost it at turn 1, lap 1, round 1 when he spun in to the wall all by himself. Or perhaps a week later when he did the same in Malaysia while leading. Or perhaps in Silverstone where he was facing the wrong way more often than not. You just have to let it go, as hard as that might be.

  19. If a driver or team is retrospecitvely disqualified, i.e. after the next race has started, no matter what the reason, it makes no difference to the other drivers’ results or statistics.

    If you look at the 1997 season where Schumacher was retrospectively disqualified from the championship, this didn’t affect the individual race results or the stats of other drivers. For example, Schumacher won the Monaco GP with Barrichello finishing second. Rubens was not promoted to race winner, it does not count as his first GP win in any official stats, and he didn’t get any extra points in the championship.

    Maybe the FIA acted incorrectly, but I don’t see how Massa can claim it was him specifically who was damaged by this, more so than any other driver or team.

  20. Massa is dead right to pursue this.

    Are people saying otherwise genuinely suggesting they wouldn’t seek recompense if they were wronged?

    The Formula 1 WDC is what these drivers dedicate their literal lives to growing up. So you come within a whisker, lose out, find out one of the biggest sporting scandals in the world fundamentally affected your chances and then what?

    You do nothing?

    Give me a break.

    1. Are people saying otherwise genuinely suggesting they wouldn’t seek recompense if they were wronged?

      Sportspeople competing in a sporting series are very much encouraged to get over it and move on. Dwelling on something isn’t going to change it or even improve it in any way.
      Many, if not most, would not be doing what Massa is doing right now.

      As for other people doing other things – no, a lot of people wouldn’t ‘seek recompense’ then either. Money is clearly a big part of Massa’s motivation here – but it’s not everyone’s motivator.
      And as has been described a million times – there is nothing that will make Massa champion.
      Fighting an unwinnable fight isn’t going to lead to any winners out of this – and already you can see that his public standing/image is dropping.

      1. I feel it’s about the principle and also making sure something like that can’t happen in future.

        I think you’re wrong about most people not pursuing it, it’s easy to say you wouldn’t when it’s nothing to do with you.

        This was always going to be an unpopular move on a British website.

        Why might that be.

        1. I feel it’s about the principle and also making sure something like that can’t happen in future.

          But it can happen in the future, because F1’s rules and administration allow it to.
          Principles are all well and good if they aim to provide positive benefits to everyone – but this doesn’t. This is about one person wanting more money.
          The matter itself was finalised 15 years ago.

          I think you’re wrong about most people not pursuing it, it’s easy to say you wouldn’t when it’s nothing to do with you.

          It’s easy for me to say I wouldn’t, simply because I wouldn’t. On principle.
          I’d like to think there are a significant number of people left on this planet who wouldn’t go for this kind of lazy money grab either, no matter how much their feelings were hurt.
          Money can’t/won’t undo what happened – not even a disgustingly large amount of it.

          It should be an unpopular move on any website and in any other place too – not that it should make in difference in this age of the internet and global access.
          I’m not even British – nor, I suspect, are many of the others who are expressing their distaste for this…

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