With the Brazilian driver seeking to engage F1 and the FIA in legal action, Felipe Massa has opted against attending the Italian Grand Prix.
With battle lines being drawn in the background of the weekend at Monza, former Ferrari F1 racing driver Felipe Massa is not in attendance at the Italian circuit.
However, contrary to reports elsewhere, Massa made the decision himself not to attend the Grand Prix – one at which he is greeted as a hero after his years of loyal service at Ferrari.
Felipe Massa opts against attending Italian Grand Prix
Massa is one of several former F1 drivers who works as an F1 ambassador, representing the sport itself on the ground in the paddock.
Mika Hakkinen, as well as Jacques Villeneuve (who is present), are other current ambassadors for F1.
With Massa seeking to take legal action against F1 and the FIA, rumour had suggested that Massa had been blocked from attending the Grand Prix by FOM. However, PlanetF1.com understands that Massa made the decision himself that it was not appropriate to attend as a current ambassador for F1, and that the Brazilian is still welcome to attend the race in his capacity as a private individual.
Massa may also be seeking to keep his head low and not attract further media attention at the moment, with his legal team having set a deadline of September 8th before filing to begin legal proceedings in the UK High Court.
A source has also told PlanetF1.com that suggestions of banners hung around the circuit, which had been visible trackside, in support of Massa are being removed are wide of the mark.
Why is Felipe Massa seeking legal action against F1 and the FIA?
Massa is seeking legal redress against the outcome of the 2008 F1 World Championship, which the then-Ferrari driver lost by a solitary point to McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton.
At the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, an event now called ‘Crashgate’ occurred, in which then-Renault driver Nelson Piquet Jnr. deliberately crashed his car to bring out a well-timed Safety Car and help teammate Fernando Alonso to the win.
With Piquet being dropped by Renault shortly after, the Brazilian spilled the goods on the plan to manipulate the race.
Felipe Massa’s problem was that he was leading at the time, but lost the race due to a pit-stop error that saw him drive off with his fuel hose still attached.
It proved cataclysmic in that year’s title battle and, with former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone revealing earlier this year of having had earlier knowledge of Renault’s manipulation than initially thought, Massa evaluated his legal options to fight for that race result to be overturned – a dismissal of said results would mean he would be World Champion.
In letters sent to F1 and the FIA, which have been seen by PlanetF1.com, Massa’s legal team have issued a hurry-up to both parties after receiving a response to postpone immediate action for up to three months.
In a letter sent on August 29th, his legal team said “It is clear that members of the legal team have been operating during the summer break.
“Work on a response should have begun promptly upon receipt of the Letter Before Claim and summer absences should not have prevented that.
“These are important claims which call into question the integrity of the sport as a whole. As such, they should be prioritised.”
The documents go on to state: “An open-ended timeframe for a response is not consistent with the Pre-Action Protocol. Please provide your response by 4 pm on 8 September 2023, failing which we anticipate being instructed to file claims in the UK High Court.”
The article Felipe Massa sits out Italian Grand Prix weekend as legal battle brews appeared first on Planetf1.com.