Bernie Ecclestone responds after Felipe Massa files lawsuit against him, F1 and FIA

Michelle Foster
Felipe Massa, Ferrari, with fuel hose attached. Singapore, September 2008.

Felipe Massa leaves the Ferrari pit box with fuel hose still attached. Singapore 2008.

Bernie Ecclestone says if Felipe Massa had come to him for advice over whether or not to sue over the 2008 F1 title, he would’ve told him to go ahead and do it.

Last year new information regarding the 2008 F1 World Championship came to light when former F1 supremo Ecclestone revealed he and then-FIA president Max Mosley knew the truth behind the Singapore Grand Prix’s ‘Crashgate’ scandal that year already.

Felipe Massa is suing over the 2008 F1 World Championship outcome

That Sunday, Renault ordered Nelson Piquet Jr to deliberately crash to help Fernando Alonso in the race, with a botched pit stop dropping race leader Massa out of the points while his title rival Lewis Hamilton was third.

Hamilton went on to win the title by a single point ahead of Massa, a result that would’ve been different had F1 bosses cancelled Singapore and not included its points in the championship race.

While it had been thought the truth behind Crashgate was only revealed a year later, last April Ecclestone told F1-Insider he knew long before that.

“According to the statutes, we should have cancelled the race in Singapore under these conditions,” the Briton told the publication. “That means it would never have happened for the World Championship standings. Then Felipe Massa would have become World Champion and not Lewis Hamilton.”

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With Massa then threatening to sue Ecclestone, F1 and the FIA, Ecclestone backtracked and told Reuters: “I don’t remember giving the interview for sure.”

Six months down the line, Massa is going ahead with his legal action claiming he is the “rightful” 2008 World Champion due to Crashgate.

He announced this on Monday, filing a lawsuit in the United Kingdom’s High Court in which he is seeking the World title and a minimum of $82 million in damages.

“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.”

Ecclestone, despite being named in that lawsuit, says the Brazilian is doing the right thing.

“If he had asked me,” Ecclestone told Press Association. “I would have said it was the complete right thing to do, to sue, and to let an English judge decide what is right and wrong.

“I cannot say anything about the outcome and what will happen. From his point of view, it is better that an English judge comes up with a verdict. It will be of more help for him.”

F1 declined to comment on the situation when approached by PlanetF1.com, while a request for comment has been lodged with the FIA.

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