Massa takes action against F1, FIA and Ecclestone in London High Court

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Massa takes action against F1, FIA and Ecclestone in London High Court

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Williams' Felipe Massa after the race in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in November  2017
Williams' Felipe Massa after the race in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in November 2017Reuters
Former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa (42) has taken action in the London High Court against Formula 1, former commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone and the governing FIA seeking recognition as 2008 world champion and financial compensation.

A court document provided by Massa's representatives said the best estimate of his alleged financial losses from missing out on the title by a single point was 64 million pounds ($82 million) plus interest.

That sum represented the difference in salary for the remainder of his career and money from sponsorship and commercial opportunities, as well as a 1.7 million pound bonus he would have received from Ferrari.

"I always said that I would fight until the end. As FIA and FOM decided to do nothing, we will seek the correction of this historical injustice through the courts," Massa said.

"The matter is now with the lawyers and they are fully authorized to do whatever is necessary so that justice is done for the sport."

Formula 1 Management (FOM) and the Paris-based International Automobile Federation would not comment on the move when contacted by Reuters.

The 2008 title went to Britain's Lewis Hamilton, who was then racing for McLaren and is now a seven-times champion with Mercedes.

Reuters was unable to locate immediately a record of a lawsuit brought by Massa on the court's electronic filing system but Massa's representatives provided court documents which stated that the lawsuit was filed on Monday.

Massa wants the FIA to acknowledge it breached its own regulations by not immediately investigating a Singapore Grand Prix crash that blew up the following year into one of the sport's biggest scandals.

The Brazilian has highlighted an Ecclestone quote to the German website F1 Insider stating that Massa should have been world champion and was "deprived of the title he deserved".

The Briton, now 93, also said there was not "enough information at that time to investigate the matter" and cancel the Singapore race.

Ecclestone told Reuters last August he could not remember saying the quotes attributed to him.

"Attempts to resolve the matter amicably have not been successful so far, leaving, therefore, no alternative but to take the issue to court," Brazilian law firm Vieira Rezende Advogados said in a statement.

"Recent events highlight the continued relevance of issues of transparency and integrity in Formula One, and it is clear that serious work is needed to restore its credibility and secure its long-term future."

Massa was leading the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix from pole position when fellow Brazilian Nelson Piquet Jr crashed into the wall on lap 14 of 61.

The crash triggered the safety car and benefited Piquet's Renault teammate Fernando Alonso, who won the race. Massa failed to score after a bungled pitstop.

Piquet revealed in 2009 that he had been told to crash by team bosses, who were subsequently banned.

Hamilton won the 2008 title from Massa after overtaking Toyota's Timo Glock for fifth place on the last lap of the season's final race, won by Massa, in Brazil.

Massa did not win again after 2008, with the Brazilian suffering a near-fatal head injury at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix. He retired in 2017.

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