Fred Vasseur has offered his insight into the fresh legal tussle between Felipe Massa, F1 and the FIA as the former Ferrari driver looks for compensation for missing out on the 2008 Drivers’ Championship to Lewis Hamilton.
The 42-year-old has commenced legal proceedings against both F1 and the FIA after recent comments surfaced from Bernie Ecclestone, claiming that he and Max Moseley knew about the intentions behind the ‘Crashgate’ scandal at the time, but chose not to investigate until 2009 in order to avoid a scandal.
‘Crashgate’ ultimately cost Massa the title as Fernando Alonso went on to win the Singapore Grand Prix, costing the Brazilian priceless points in his championship fight against Hamilton. When the chequered flag waved on the Brazilian Grand Prix, Massa ended the season one point behind the young Briton.
“I don’t want to make any comment on this matter,” Vasseur told Motorsport.com Italy when asked about his opinion on Massa’s legal challenges. “I have a good relationship with all parties involved.
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“It is a complex affair, the circumstances are quite exceptional. I can say that personally, I am not a big fan of revisions, even if it is a matter of changing the results 15 minutes after the race.”
Massa is now pursuing financial remuneration from the two parties as he seeks to find some justice, 15 years after the ‘Crashgate’ incident played out.
In his Letter Before Claim, revealed by Reuters, Massa’s legal team explained: “Simply put, Mr Massa is the rightful 2008 Driver’s Champion, and F1 and FIA deliberately ignored the misconduct that cheated him out of that title.
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“Mr Massa is unable to fully quantify his losses at this stage but estimates that they are likely to exceed tens of millions of Euros. This amount does not cover the serious moral and reputational losses suffered by Mr Massa.”
Unfortunately for Massa, it is unlikely that the 2008 World Championship will be taken away from Hamilton and given to him. Under the FIA rulebook, once the winning driver has been handed the trophy, the result of the title is set in stone and will not be changed.
Vasseur, meanwhile, has his own matters to worry about. The Frenchman is looking to wrap up contract negotiations for both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz after Ferrari failed to lure Hamilton away from Mercedes.
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