Felipe Massa is seeking legal advice for a possible challenge over the 2008 Formula 1 drivers' title he lost to Lewis Hamilton.
The Brazilian was on course to be crowned world champion at the final race in his home country before Hamilton passed Timo Glock in dramatic fashion and gained the points he needed.
Massa was left in tears on the podium having been denied what would've been his first and only only world title.
He is now looking to explore legal avenues over the outcome of the championship after comments from Bernie Ecclestone emerged.
What Ecclestone said...
The former boss of F1 was asked about the infamous 'Crashgate' incident in the Singapore Grand Prix of that season, which saw Nelson Piquet deliberately crash to help Fernando Alonso win the race for Renault – a race in which Hamilton finished third and Massa ended out of the points in 13th.
“Back then, there was a rule that a world championship classification after the FIA awards ceremony at the end of the year was untouchable," Ecclestone told F1-Insider. "So Hamilton was presented with the trophy and everything was fine.
“We had enough information in time to investigate the matter. According to the statutes, we should have cancelled the race in Singapore under these conditions.
“That means it would never have happened for the championship standings. And then Felipe Massa would have become world champion and not Lewis Hamilton.”
Understandably, Massa wasn't pleased with that revelation, with Ecclestone effectively admitting that he should've won the title had Renault's wrongdoing been uncovered earlier.
“There is a rule that says that when a championship is decided, from the moment the driver receives the champion's trophy, things can no longer be changed, even if it has been proven a theft," he said to motorsport.com.
“At the time, Ferrari's lawyers told me about this rule. We went to other lawyers and the answer was that nothing could be done. So I logically believed in this situation.
“But after 15 years, we hear that the [former] owner of the category says that he found out in 2008, together with the president of the FIA, and they did nothing [so as] to not tarnish the name of F1.
“This is very sad, to know the result of this race was supposed to be cancelled and I would have a title. In the end, I was the one who lost the most with this result. So, we are going after it to understand all this.”
The chances of anything being overturned more than a decade after the fact are slim – which Massa himself admitted – but he insisted that he wanted to seek 'justice', citing Lance Armstrong's Tour de France titles being reassigned after the American was discovered to have cheated.
"There are rules, and there are many things that, depending on the country, you cannot go back after 15 years to resolve a situation," he said. "But I intend to study the situation; study what the laws say, and the rules. We have to have an idea of what is possible to do.
"I would never go after it thinking financially. I would go after it thinking about justice. I think if you've been punished for something that wasn't your fault, and it's the product of a robbery, a stolen race, justice has to be served. In fact, the right situation is to cancel the result of that race. It is the only justice that can be done in a case like this."
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