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HomeSportsFelipe Massa sues FIA and FOM over 2008 F1 Singapore Grand Prix

Felipe Massa sues FIA and FOM over 2008 F1 Singapore Grand Prix


Debates over the 2008 Method 1 Drivers’ Championship have lingered for many years.

Now they’re headed to courtroom.

Former driver Felipe Massa has reportedly filed go well with towards Method One Administration (FOM), F1’s governing physique the Federation Internationale de L’Car (FIA), and former F1 President Bernie Ecclestone within the excessive courtroom of London over the outcomes of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, and the Drivers’ title that season.

Massa has alleged since 2009 that he was the rightful champion that 12 months, and never Lewis Hamilton, pointing to an incident that occured within the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. That race a monumental second for the game, because it was not solely the primary F1 race in Singapore, but additionally the first-ever nighttime F1 race.

The 2008 Singapore Grand Prix was the fifteenth of 18 races on the schedule that 12 months, and the standings had been tight coming into the race. Hamilton had only a one-point lead over Massa within the Drivers’ standings forward of the Singapore GP. With Massa qualifying on pole, and Hamilton set to start out behind him in second, Massa had an ideal alternative to retake the lead within the standings. Massa had not been atop the desk for the reason that French Grand Prix, the eighth race of the season.

Nevertheless, Massa ended up ending thirteenth and out of doors of the factors, as a result of a disastrous pitstop early within the race. He had constructed a lead of over three seconds on Hamilton, however on Lap 14 Nelson Piquet Jr. of Renault misplaced management at Flip 17, and bumped into the wall.

The incident gave Massa an opportunity to come back into the pits, however that’s when catastrophe ensued:

The crew launched him too early, and the Ferrari driver roared out of the pits with the fueling line nonetheless hooked up. Massa stopped simply earlier than coming into the monitor, ready for mechanics to race down pit lane to take away the hose. He rejoined the grid behind the sector, and some laps later could be given a drive-through penalty for an unsafe launch.

He ended up ending thirteenth, and out of doors the factors. Piquet’s teammate Fernando Alonso received the Grand Prix.

Within the weeks after the Singapore Grand Prix, there have been rumblings about what occurred within the race itself. Famous F1 journalist Joe Saward was amongst these, scripting this on the time:

There have been some cynics (there at all times are) who reckoned that the crew’s technique was to have Nelson crash quickly after Fernando had accomplished his cease and thus create a state of affairs through which Fernando gained a bonus over the remainder of the sector. One can see this argument, however one likes to consider that no crew would ever be so determined as to have a driver throw his automobile at a wall. Perhaps Piquet simply screwed up – he has executed that quite a bit this 12 months.

Quick ahead to the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix the next season. After failing to attain a single level, Piquet was launched by Renault following that race, the tenth of the season.

Shortly thereafter, Brazilian tv revisited the occasions in Singapore, and allegations that Renault instructed Piquet to crash on function. Throughout a broadcast of the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix, the Brazilian community Globo TV reportedly mentioned it had acquired data that Piquet had been requested to crash on function. The explanation? Alonso had been the primary driver to make a pit cease, and a such he was at an obstacle within the race operating close to the again of the grid. By Piquet crashing, it drew the protection automobile onto the monitor, and leveling the taking part in discipline.

Keep in mind, Alonso went on to win.

FIA instantly introduced an investigation into the allegations, and by early September F1’s governing physique formally accused Renault and Piquet of interfering with the end result of the Singapore Grand Prix. The events had been summoned to a gathering on the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris in late September.

Whereas Renault threatened authorized motion towards Piquet forward of that listening to, within the days prior of that occasion the crew introduced it could not be contesting the costs, and that each Briatore and Pat Symonds, their Director of Engineering, could be leaving the group.

The listening to nonetheless passed off, following which FIA suspended Renault from F1 for 2 years. Whereas the governing physique went on to droop the sentence, it was an enormous black eye for the crew, and the game as a complete.

Briatore was suspended from FIA-sanctioned occasions indefinitely, whereas Symonds was given a suspension of 5 years. Regardless of being the driving force that straight benefited from the crash, Alonso was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Again in August of this 12 months Massa, by way of counsel, despatched a “Letter Earlier than Declare” to Stefano Domenicali, the CEO of F1 (who occurred to be the Group Principal of Ferrari through the 2008 F1 season) and FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem. Within the letter Massa alleges he was “the sufferer of a conspiracy dedicated by people on the highest degree of F1 along with the FIA and Method One Administration.”

An announcement from Massa’s authorized crew on Monday said partly:

Mr. Massa is looking for declarations that the FIA breached its rules by failing to promptly examine Nelson Piquet Junior’s crash on the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, and that had it acted correctly, Mr. Massa would have received the drivers’ championship that 12 months. Mr. Massa additionally seeks damages for the numerous monetary loss he has suffered because of the FIA’s failure, through which Mr Ecclestone and FOM had been additionally complicit.

As Mr. Ecclestone has admitted, there was “sufficient data in time to research the matter” in 2008 and “cancel the race in Singapore.” Mr. Ecclestone additional affirmed that, had the outcomes of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix been canceled, “Felipe Massa would have develop into world champion” and that Mr. Massa “was cheated out of the title he deserved.”

Makes an attempt to search out an amicable decision have been unsuccessful, leaving Mr. Massa with no selection however to provoke authorized proceedings.

A public case search carried out on-line at Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals E-Submitting Service didn’t uncover a submitting by Massa and/or his counsel. Nor did it uncover a case involving Massa and FOM.

The assertion from Massa’s counsel additionally features a reference to “transparency” being wanted in F1 on account of each this incident and “latest occasions,” a possible reference to the latest investigation into Pink Bull Group Principal Christian Horner, and subsequent fallout:

“Current occasions naturally exhibit that problems with transparency and integrity in Method One stay related, and it’s clear that critical work is required to revive its credibility and long-term future.”

It is a creating story, and will likely be up to date as crucial.

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