Felipe Massa is expecting support from his former employer Ferrari as he seeks to legally overturn the result of the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship.
Massa lost out on the 2008 title to Lewis Hamilton by just one point, but the Brazilian and his legal team claim that he was the victim of a “conspiracy” which cost him the championship.
The Brazilian’s case focuses on the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix ‘Crashgate’ controversy where Renault’s Nelso Piquet Jr crashed out of the race deliberately to deploy a Safety Car, helping team-mate Fernando Alonso to victory – a race Massa was likely to win.
Massa has been spurred on by comments made by former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone earlier this year, where the 92-year-old revealed that he and the former FIA president were aware of details of Renault’s wrongdoing, but chose not to act to prevent the sport from a scandal.
“I have one certainty: that title is mine and it is Ferrari’s 16th drivers’ title,” Massa said in an update to Italian broadcaster TG1TV.
“I have hired a team of very strong lawyers. We will fight to the end to obtain justice in this sport. I don’t understand why a case of manipulation cannot be verified in the way right, even if a year, two years or 15 years later.”
The 42-year-old’s comments imply that he is seeking more than just financial remuneration as he expects Ferrari’s help to claim a 16th Drivers’ Championship for the Scuderia. Should the outcome of the 2008 championship be overturned, Massa would become Ferrari’s most recent F1 World Champion.
“At this moment I have not yet had the support of Ferrari, but I expect help from them. I am optimistic: I will fight for the justice until the end,” he added.
The former Ferrari driver escalated his legal challenge against F1 bosses and the FIA in August when his team sent a Letter Before Claim to F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.
Massa received an unsatisfactory response from F1 representatives, who said it was impossible to provide a formal response over the summer break when key figures were away from work.
His team have now responded, saying that a months-long delay is unreasonable, and are understood to have set a September 8 deadline for the relevant parties to deal with the matter satisfactorily.
If the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix was to be nullified, Massa would have won the title by five points.