Bernie Ecclestone Backs Massa’s Legal Battle for 2008 F1 Title

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Last Updated on March 12, 2024

Former Formula One boss, Bernie Ecclestone, has expressed his support for Felipe Massa’s decision to take his fight to be recognized as the 2008 world champion to the London High Court.

This revelation came to light on Tuesday, following an announcement by Massa’s lawyers on Monday.

The Brazilian ex-Ferrari driver, Massa, is initiating legal action against Formula One Management (FOM), the International Automobile Federation (FIA), and Ecclestone himself.

Massa is also seeking compensation for an estimated financial loss of around £64 million ($82 million) plus interest, having missed out on the title by a mere single point to Britain’s Lewis Hamilton.

Ecclestone, speaking to Reuters from Brazil, stated that if he were Massa’s manager, he would have advised him to take action in England.

The 93-year-old Briton, who is no stranger to the British legal system, believes that an English judge ruling in Massa’s favor could significantly benefit his case.

Ecclestone’s recent encounters with the law include a £652.6 million payment last October to avoid a jail term after pleading guilty to misleading Britain’s tax authority about overseas assets. In 2014, he won a High Court case against German media company Constantin Medien, who sought $100 million in damages following the sale of a stake in the sport eight years prior. That same year, he paid $100 million to end a bribery trial in Germany.

The 2008 Singapore Grand Prix Scandal

Massa’s claim heavily relies on a quote from Ecclestone to the German website F1 Insider, where he stated that the Brazilian should have been the world champion in 2008 and was “deprived of the title he deserved” by a Singapore Grand Prix scandal. However, Ecclestone maintains that he has no recollection of making such a statement and has unsuccessfully attempted to find a recording of it.

During the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, Massa was leading from pole position when his compatriot, Nelson Piquet Jr, crashed his Renault into the wall on lap 14 of 61, causing the safety car to be deployed. Piquet’s teammate, Fernando Alonso, went on to win the race, while Massa failed to score due to a bungled pitstop.

In 2009, Piquet revealed that his team bosses, who were subsequently banned, had ordered him to crash.

Massa is now seeking the FIA’s acknowledgment that it breached its own regulations by not immediately investigating the crash and cancelling the race result, which would have made him the champion.

Awaiting Response

As of now, the Paris-based FIA and London-headquartered FOM, a part of U.S. company Liberty Media, have not commented on Massa’s legal action.

The Formula One world eagerly awaits their response and the outcome of this high-profile case.

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