Massa’s Legal Representatives Threaten FIA and FOM with UK Court Action Over Delays

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Initially covered by F1 Flow.com, lawyers for Felipe Massa, the Brazilian F1 driver, sent an advance legal notice to FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem and FOM CEO Stefano Domenicali earlier this month. The notice outlined Massa’s intentions to seek legal redress for losing the 2008 F1 World Championship.

According to this preliminary legal correspondence, Massa’s attorneys claim that he was “sabotaged by a calculated scheme,” referring to the infamous Crashgate scandal during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. They argue that both the FIA and FOM knowingly sidestepped the controversy in Singapore, even though they were alerted to the cheating incident in time to take corrective action.

Massa’s quest for a legal resolution was sparked by an interview with Bernie Ecclestone, who suggested that the entire issue was casually dismissed, as well as by a past conversation with Charlie Whiting, the former F1 race director. Whiting divulged that he had learned about Nelson Piquet Jr.’s intentional crash in Singapore during the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix that same year.

Loss of the championship due to the events in Singapore, they argue, has cost Massa millions in potential earnings, in addition to damaging his reputation and causing emotional distress.

F1 Flow.com has discovered that while the FIA and FOM have both acknowledged Massa’s initial notice, they’ve also indicated that a formal response won’t be forthcoming soon, blaming the delay on staff vacations during the F1 summer break.

This tardy approach hasn’t sat well with Massa’s camp, who have elevated their sense of urgency to receive answers. F1 Flow.com has obtained copies of the reply letters sent to the FIA and FOM, expressing that the projected three-month delay to address Massa’s concerns is “unjustifiable.” The letters argue that, “The processing of a formal response should have started immediately upon receiving the advance legal notice, regardless of any summer holidays.”

The letters also insist that if the authorities fail to respond by the end of the next business day on September 8, 2023, legal action will proceed in the UK High Court to compel the necessary responses.

Massa’s legal team is keen to receive swift replies from both FIA and FOM, as they are also considering taking legal action in different jurisdictions. However, they prefer to move on this only after gaining the requested clarifications.

While the situation veers into legal territory, neither the FOM nor the FIA have offered any formal statements. When reached for comment, an FIA spokesperson noted: “The FIA can confirm that it has received the correspondence from Felipe Massa’s representatives. The case is currently under examination, and we will refrain from commenting further at this point.”

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Felipe Massa legal action

What is the main focus of the legal action by Felipe Massa’s lawyers?

The main focus of the legal action is to seek redress for Felipe Massa’s loss of the 2008 F1 World Championship, which they claim was the result of a deliberate scheme known as “Crashgate” during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

Who are the main parties involved in this legal matter?

The main parties involved are Felipe Massa, the FIA represented by its President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, and the FOM represented by its CEO Stefano Domenicali.

What are the allegations made by Massa’s legal team?

Massa’s legal team alleges that both the FIA and FOM deliberately failed to act on information about the Crashgate conspiracy in a timely manner. They claim that this cost Massa the championship, financial earnings, as well as moral and reputational damages.

What prompted Massa’s team to consider legal action?

Massa’s decision to consider legal action was influenced by an interview with Bernie Ecclestone, who indicated that the Crashgate issue was downplayed, and by a past conversation with Charlie Whiting, who said he knew about the deliberate crash.

What is the deadline set by Massa’s legal team for a formal response?

Massa’s legal team has set a deadline of September 8, 2023, for a formal response from both the FIA and FOM. Failing to meet this deadline may result in the case being taken to the UK High Court.

How have the FIA and FOM responded so far?

Both organizations have acknowledged receipt of Massa’s legal notice but have indicated that a formal reply will be delayed due to personnel being on summer break. This has not been well received by Massa’s legal team.

What are the potential consequences if FIA and FOM fail to respond by the deadline?

If the FIA and FOM fail to respond by September 8, 2023, Massa’s legal team plans to file claims in the UK High Court to force the necessary answers.

Have any of the involved parties provided a formal comment on the situation?

Neither the FIA nor the FOM have issued any formal statements about the situation, choosing to withhold comment until the matter is more thoroughly reviewed.

More about Felipe Massa legal action

  • Crashgate: The Full Story
  • Interview with Bernie Ecclestone on F1 Controversies
  • Profile of FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem
  • About FOM CEO Stefano Domenicali
  • Overview of the 2008 F1 World Championship
  • Felipe Massa: Career Highlights and Controversies
  • Charlie Whiting’s Influence on F1
  • Understanding Legal Actions in Formula 1
  • UK High Court: How it Works in Sport Litigations
  • F1 Summer Break: What You Need to Know

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10 comments

NitroNick August 30, 2023 - 9:56 pm

legal action after all these years? Man, the wound still seems fresh for Massa and his team.

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GearHead_Jen August 30, 2023 - 11:02 pm

If the claims r true, FIA & FOM need a reality check. cant hide things under the rug and expect ppl to forget.

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UnderdogLover August 31, 2023 - 12:05 am

If Massa wins this, it’s gonna shake the foundations of F1. And not gonna lie, it needs a bit of shaking up.

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ChampionChaser August 31, 2023 - 12:19 am

So they need until September 8? What are they gonna do, summon a council of racing wizards to give them an answer? lol

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F1Fanatic1990 August 31, 2023 - 1:19 am

This is crazy, I remember the 2008 season like it was yesterday. Massa deserved better, but is this the way to go?

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SpeedyGonzalez42 August 31, 2023 - 1:39 am

Whoa, Massa is going full-on legal warrior, huh? Bout time somebody called out FIA and FOM on their shenanigans.

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TurboTim August 31, 2023 - 9:11 am

Honestly i always thought that crashgate thing was sketchy. Good on Massa for finally taking it head on.

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RealTalk_Rachel August 31, 2023 - 12:08 pm

Wait, so Bernie and Charlie knew and didnt say anything? The plot thickens!

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JustAnotherFan August 31, 2023 - 1:49 pm

UK High Court? This is gonna b a spectacle, grab your popcorn folks!

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DataDrivenDave August 31, 2023 - 6:22 pm

Millions in lost income, reputational damage and all that jazz. FIA and FOM better lawyer up, this is gonna get messy.

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