Bernie Ecclestone responds to Felipe Massa suing ex-F1 boss for £64million

Bernie Ecclestone is at the centre of another F1 scandal (Photo: Getty)

Bernie Ecclestone, Formula 1 and the FIA are being sued by former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa for a minimum of $82million (£64.1m) in damages.

The lawsuit was filed in the UK’s High Court on Monday as Massa steps up efforts to reclaim the 2008 world championship title which he lost to Sir Lewis Hamilton by just one point.

Last year, the Brazilian announced he would be taking legal action after former F1 supremo Ecclestone stated that Massa was the rightful winner of the 2008 title.

The controversy surrounds that year’s Singapore Grand Prix, where Renault ordered Nelson Piquet Jr. to crash on purpose which in turn brought out the safety car, which strategically helped teammate Fernando Alonso claim victory.

The incident also ruined Massa’s race and he finished 13th and out of the points, while Hamilton came home third.

A year later, the ‘Crashgate’ scandal was revealed and Renault were punished but the results could not be overturned due to the length of time that had passed.

However, in 2023 Ecclestone claimed in an interview that he and then-FIA president Max Mosley knew about ‘Crashgate’ at the time but decided not to act in order to ‘protect the sport from a huge scandal’.

F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Sprint

Felipe Massa wants to ‘right a historical injustice in court’ (Photo: Getty)

He said that had they spoken up they would have cancelled the results from the race and that would have made Massa champion and denied Hamilton the first of his record seven F1 titles.

Ecclestone, 93, has since stated that he does not even remember giving the aforementioned interview.

His comments left Massa furious and the 11-time race winner has now followed through with his plans to sue, saying in a statement on Monday: ‘I always said I was going to fight until the end.

Massa lost the 2008 F1 title to Lewis Hamilton by just one point (Photo: Getty)

‘Since the FIA [motorsport’s governing body] and FOM [Formula One Management] decided not to do anything, we will seek to right this historical injustice in court.

‘The matter is now for our lawyers and they are fully authorised to do whatever is necessary so justice in sport is served.’

But despite being named in the lawsuit, Ecclestone says that Massa is doing the right thing, telling Press Association: ‘If he had asked me, I would have said it was the complete right thing to do, to sue, and to let an English judge decide what is right and wrong.

‘I cannot say anything about the outcome and what will happen. From his point of view, it is better that an English judge comes up with a verdict. It will be of more help for him.’

This matter could well be the latest high-profile scandal to plague F1 amid the ongoing saga surrounding Red Bull boss Christian Horner and the allegations against FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

The 2024 F1 season continues on 24th March with the Australian Grand Prix.

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