Blow for Felipe Massa in legal challenge over Lewis Hamilton 2008 title defeat

Jamie Woodhouse
Felipe Massa races in Brazilian stock cars.

Former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa on the grid before a race in Brazilian stock cars.

According to Sky reporter Craig Slater, no FIA system exists which could allow Felipe Massa to overturn his now controversial 2008 World Championship defeat to Lewis Hamilton.

That season Hamilton broke the hearts of Massa and his home fans at Interlagos when he snatched the title from Massa on the final lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix, that proving to be the first of a record-equalling seven World titles on Hamilton’s CV these days.

A recent interview though from F1 boss at the time Bernie Ecclestone has cast doubt over the validity of that 2008 World Championship result.

Felipe Massa has no route to overturn Lewis Hamilton defeat

Ecclestone recently claimed that following the ‘Crashgate’ scandal at that season’s Singapore GP, according to the FIA Statutes, that event should have been cancelled and therefore the results would not have counted towards the World Championship.

In such an event, Massa would have won the title, but Slater shut down the Brazilian driver’s chances of making himself World Champion all these years later.

“Had that happened, Hamilton would have lost the points for coming third, Felipe Massa, who finished second in the Championship by a single point, would have lost nothing however,” Slater told Sky Sports in reference to the ripple effect had the 2008 Singapore GP results been expunged.

“Despite qualifying on pole for that Singapore race, he finished outside the points.

“So why didn’t something happen in 2009 when all of this came to light? Well, according to the FIA Statutes, once the trophy had been handed over to Lewis Hamilton at the FIA Prize Giving ceremony, there was no course of appeal for Massa or his Ferrari team.

“So all of the competitors within the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship effectively sign up to the rules that state once the Prize Giving happens, you cannot appeal a result.

“Now, I understand that still to be the case. So even if there is this fresh evidence that in 2008, Max Mosley, who was then the FIA president and Ecclestone himself knew about this, there is no course of appeal within the FIA system.

“Now, Massa could go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He could get a decision there. But the snag is the FIA does not recognise CAS decisions, except in the case of doping violations. So that would not help him overturn or change the result of that grand prix.” recommends

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It has been subsequently reported that Massa’s solicitors are instead chasing compensation for the now retired racer, which Slater confirmed.

“Massa’s solicitors have written to both the FIA and Formula 1,” Slater stated. “They believe their driver is due compensation.

“I have contacted both bodies, neither have a comment to make at this time.”

Massa would not come close to title glory again after that 2008 campaign, the Brazilian later switching to Williams from 2014 where he remained until his F1 retirement at the end of the 2017 campaign.

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