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Felipe Massa

Brazilian lawyers give F1 and FIA new deadline in Massa 2008 case

Felipe Massa is still planning to launch legal action regarding the 'Crashgate' scandal that rocked Formula 1 in 2008.

Hamilton Massa
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The legal team that is advising Felipe Massa in the attempt to overturn the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship result has extended the deadline for the FIA and FOM to respond to a Letter Before Claim until mid-October.

The initial deadline set in September was extended to October according to Bernardo Viana, a partner at law firm Vieira Rezende Advogados.

"The ball is on their court, we've been waiting for their response," Viana told Reuters. "They asked for more time, until mid-October, and in good faith we have agreed to that."

Massa started his legal action earlier this year, following an interview that surfaced with Bernie Ecclestone.

The former F1 supremo claimed that he and then-FIA president Max Mosley decided to not take action when they were informed Renault cheated by deliberately crashing to influence the race result at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Under the resulting Safety Car from Nelson Piquet Jr's crash, Massa pitted from the lead but in a mix-up drove away with the refueling rig still attached.

He finished out of the points while rival Lewis Hamilton claimed six points for a third-place finish, and would take the title by one point in the Brazil finale.

It did not emerge until halfway through the 2009 season what had happened, with the saga being branded 'Crashgate' by media after Piquet Jr revealed he had been ordered to crash to help team-mate Fernando Alonso's strategy.

Massa and his legal team believe the race result should be voided as those in charge were aware of what happened, and chose to cover it up.

Massa's lawyers expect Hamilton support

The Brazilian's lawyers now expect to see Lewis Hamilton, who went on to win the 2008 World Championship, to support their claims.

"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," Viana said.

"We have absolutely nothing against Hamilton."

For his part, Hamilton has said that he is "not focused" on events that happened 15 years ago when asked for a response on the legal action raised by his former championship rival.

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