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Massa legal team hopes for support from Hamilton in 2008 F1 title case

Felipe Massa’s legal representation hope that 2008 Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton will support his former Brazilian rival in his case to overturn the outcome of that year’s drivers’ title.

Felipe Massa, Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton, McLaren

Prompted by an interview with ex-F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone earlier this year, plus archive footage of late FIA race director Charlie Whiting, Massa believes F1 and the governing body were aware of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix ‘crashgate’ scandal in time to take action before the championship was decided.

Former Ferrari and Williams racer Massa says he is developing a subsequent legal case to gain “justice for the sport” rather than recoup the “tens of millions of euros” that his team believes have been missed out on after losing that year’s championship by one point to McLaren driver Hamilton.

But Bernardo Viana - from the Sao Paulo Vieira Rezende Advogados law firm that represents Massa in Brazil – hopes that Hamilton will support the case that would theoretically lead to him losing the first of his seven drivers’ championship crowns.

Speaking to Reuters, Viana said: “He is an important ambassador for the sport and has always defended sporting integrity.

“He is an honorary Brazilian citizen and very well liked by Brazilians, so I hope he will support us.

“We have absolutely nothing against Hamilton."

Aside from Hamilton, it is known that Ferrari - for which Massa drove in 2008 - will not join forces for the case.

Felipe Massa, Ferrari F2008, and Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4-23 Mercedes

Felipe Massa, Ferrari F2008, and Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4-23 Mercedes

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

In the same Reuters interview, Viana also revealed that Massa’s legal team have pushed back the deadline for F1 and the FIA to respond to a Letter Before Claim until mid-October.

Previously, the letter - which outlined that the F1 summer break and personnel being on holiday was not sufficient a reason for the FOM and FIA delays in replying - stated a deadline to respond of last Friday (8 September) ahead of potentially launching a formal challenge in the British High Court.

Speaking to Motorsport.com last week, Viana said: "They have asked for more time, and we are assessing internally if we're going to give them more time in good faith," added Viana.

"They are still within the time that we have offered them, so we are waiting for their response. If their response is adequate, and if they approach us for any conversation, that's OK.

"If it is not, if their response is not adequate, we're just going to move forward with the legal strategy that we have in place."

Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble 

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