In a relentless quest to strip Lewis Hamilton of the Drivers’ Championship title he won by a solitary point in 2008, Felipe Massa remains determined to “keep fighting to the end.” The Brazilian driver, who narrowly missed out on the championship at the final race of the season, firmly believes he was unjustly denied the title due to alleged foul play by the FIA.
Earlier in the 2008 campaign, Massa encountered a setback at the Singapore Grand Prix when a victory was snatched away from him, allowing Fernando Alonso to claim his sole victory of the season. It was later discovered that Renault had orchestrated a plan in which their driver, Nelson Piquet Jr, was ordered to crash deliberately, leading to the deployment of the safety car.
This sinister incident gave birth to the ‘crashgate’ scandal, eventually evolving into one of the most notorious controversies in the history of Formula 1. The scandal resurfaced in April when former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone admitted prior knowledge of the conspiracy, asserting that the Singapore race’s result should have been invalidated. However, Ecclestone later retracted his statement, denying any awareness of a conspiracy.
In response to these revelations, Massa publicly announced his intention to pursue a legal case to overturn the 2008 championship result. He remains steadfast in his commitment to take whatever actions necessary to rectify what he perceives as a grave injustice.
In a recent interview with Brazilian outlet Infobae, Massa expressed his deep convictions, stating, “They robbed me, for sure. It was a perfect championship, which ended by one point at Interlagos. But later we saw that there was a rigged race [in Singapore], and the result should have been canceled. They didn’t do it because they didn’t want to destroy the name of F1. Bernie Ecclestone said in an interview that the 2008 championship is mine for him and that the race in Singapore should be canceled. They did not do it, and they knew in 2008 of the manipulation.”
Massa continued, emphasizing the importance of his pursuit of justice for the integrity of the sport: “For me, it was a very difficult situation. We prepared a large legal team with lawyers from six countries. We are going to fight until the end because what happened was not fair for the sport, for me, for my country, for the fans, for Ferrari.”
Massa and his legal team, well-versed in handling sporting disputes, await an official response from the FIA. While contemplating the possibility of seeking financial compensation from the governing body, Massa maintains that his primary focus is to rectify the sporting injustice. He elaborated, “They are people who worked for a long time on cases like this. It is a case of manipulation. We have to work for justice in sports. We will see the response they give us and if we are going to go to court or a tribunal, that is something we have to decide. Surely in the fight, there is money to claim, but I base the claim on the championship. The trophy is the most important thing for me.”
In his unwavering determination, Felipe Massa stands as a symbol of persistence and integrity, refusing to let go of the pursuit of what he believes is rightfully his – the 2008 Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship title.