‘Manipulation and Sabotage’: Felipe Massa’s $13MN Lawsuit Against Lewis Hamilton Takes New Turn

Published 11/03/2023, 5:27 AM EDT

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The 2008 F1 season will forever remain one of the most historic in the sport. You might think this is due to Lewis Hamilton‘s insane last-lap overtake at Interlagos to secure his first championship. But no, it’s unfortunately related to one of the most controversial and darkest moments of F1, which is still in conversation to date. With Felipe Massa seeking justice, his $13 million lawsuit against Hamilton has taken a new turn thanks to his recent comments.

Felipe Massa was one of the most talented F1 drivers to never win a championship. Whilst many would think he was simply unlucky, he would consider himself to be sabotaged by none other than the ones at the top of the sport. Amidst his ongoing $13 million lawsuit against Lewis Hamilton, his recent comments have provided a never-before in-depth perspective from Massa himself.

Amidst the $13 million lawsuit against Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa explains why he got sabotaged


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This all started with the infamous crashgate incident from the  2008 Singapore Grand Prix. A race that saw Nelson Piquet deliberately spin out to help Fernando Alonso gain an advantage, which resulted in Felipe Massa ultimately losing the lead of the race. To clear every doubt and misconception regarding similar controversial F1 seasons, such as the 1994 and the dramatic 2021 seasons, Massa candidly shared his honest thoughts.

In an exclusive interview with RacingNews365, he stated, “The only difference between all these championships and what happened was maybe a mistake [from officials], maybe crashes, or maybe a result that was not corrected by the FIA on the sporting side because of a technical issue or whatever. These cases were related to that. My case is related to manipulation, related to sabotage and it is a completely different situation. It is a completely different situation and my case was investigated as the race in Singapore was manipulated.”


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To further justify why his case got manipulated, he adds, “This was a year after, and unfortunately there was a rule saying that if it was not in the same year, the result of the championship cannot be changed. But then after 15 years, we hear that Bernie Ecclestone said he knew [about Renault’s race-fixing plan in Singapore] in 2008, we hear that [former race director] Charlie Whiting knew in 2008 and they didn’t do anything to not risk the brand of Formula 1. So my case is a manipulation case, it is not sporting, technical or anything else.”

Amid $13 Million Chaos With Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa Reacts to F1’s Rude Shunt

Massa’s recent comments certainly do provide an entirely new turn in his lawsuit. Before these comments, many people assumed that he got stuck in the past or was greedy for more money. But with this perspective, perhaps F1 fans will better understand his perspective.

Should Lewis Hamilton have filed a lawsuit for the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix?

Besides F1, another thing that Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa have in common is that both drivers have been wronged in F1. Like the 2008 F1 season, the 2021 season still lives in the heads of many fans. It was a race that saw only the lapped cars between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton overtake the safety car, handing the advantage to Verstappen and Red Bull. With the Dutch driver ultimately winning the 2021 championship, should Hamilton have also followed in the footsteps of Massa and filed a lawsuit for the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP?


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According to FanNation, Bernie Ecclestone shared his interesting perspective on this matter. He stated, “Lawsuits against the FIA could have been filed by Hamilton with Mercedes after the not very clean 2021 finale in Abu Dhabi” 

Despite Bernie Ecclestone’s controversies, he does put forward quite an interesting point. Because during the end of the 2021 Abu Dhabi, lapped cars had no permission to overtake the safety car. Despite that, the authorities allowed Lando Norris, Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon, Charles Leclerc, and Sebastian Vettel to overtake. With just one lap remaining, this decision by the FIA remains one of the most highly debatable topics.


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WATCH THIS STORY | Felipe Massa’s Attempt to Take Back the 2008 F1 Championship Explained

Amidst the ongoing $13 million lawsuit against Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa’s new statements provide a new perspective. Whether more fans now feel inclined towards Massa’s side remains to be seen. However, this also raises the question of whether Hamilton should have followed in the footsteps of the former Ferrari driver and also filed a lawsuit. In my opinion, he shouldn’t. But what do you think?


Written by:

Adhiraj Dhyani


One take at a time

Adhiraj Dhyani is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports. He kick-started his online writing journey on Drivetribe, where he passionately covered F1 and automobile content. Adhiraj's love for Formula 1 dates back to 2015, and he's an ardent supporter of Sebastian Vettel as well as Lewis Hamilton.
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Edited by:

Aditi Krishnan