Felipe Massa Goes Legal on F1

Felipe Massa has gone legal in his battle with the FIA and F1 over the disputed 2008 Singapore Grand Prix highlighting this week’s Motorsport Law Roundup. In the Business of Motorsport Roundup, I have details on the valuation of F1 teams, NASCAR’s NextGen plans and IndyCar team dissatisfaction with the Captain.

All this and much more in this week’s edition of the Business of Motorsport Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. It’s business news racers can use.

Don’t forget that the Motorsport Prospects Weekly Newsletter is now available so you will not miss out on any business or legal news racers can use! Check out the footer of every page on the Motorsport Prospects website and sign up now!

Motorsport Industry News

Formula 1

Red Bull F1 car

McLaren Racing chief executive Zak Brown has claimed that every Formula One team is worth “well north” of UK£1 billion (US$1.3 billion) but as Front Office Sports points out, solid financial performance and enforced scarcity are fueling the valuation gains.

“What Liberty is wanting to do is protect the value of the 10 teams that exist,” Brown said. “We’re now in a position where pre-Liberty, you had teams falling away. Now post-Liberty era there are teams lining up to get into the sport. So I think Liberty is just seeing how, when, and if they want teams to enter.”

Audi F1

Audi has officially confirmed their commitment to F1 by confirming their takeover of Sauber with a 100 percent stake in the Sauber Group. Oliver Hoffmann is set to be the person responsible for the Audi Formula 1 program overall as a General Representative. As CEO of the Audi F1 Team, Andreas Seidl will be responsible for the implementation of the F1 project as well as the management of the Audi F1 Team.

Business of Motorsport

Blinkfire has done a deep dive on the social media engagement of Formula 1 from the season-opener in Bahrain. “The first Grand Prix of the season was met with excitement on social media. With 368,000 new followers from Thursday, February 29, to Saturday, March 2, Formula 1 experienced a significant increase in its fanbase, demonstrating the eagerness of fans to see their favorite teams and drivers hit the asphalt.”

BlackBook Motorsport’s Cian Brittle, Tom Brown and Peter Jones sit down to discuss whether Max Verstappen’s dominance is bad for F1’s business on the Mics Out Podcast. You can listen here.

By now everybody knows the effect that the Netflix series “Drive to Survive” has had on Formula 1. A new book, “The Formula” goes behind the scenes to see how the show was created and why and I have included two reviews to help you decide if you want to buy it or not.

Legendary Red Bull designer Adrian Newey says he might be relegated to the Hypercar program to save money but PlanetF1.com understands these rumors are inaccurate.

Michael Schumacher leads the list of the 7 motorsport athletes appearing on Sportico’s Top 50 Highest-Paid Athletes of All Time. Top of the list? Michael Jordan. Here are the motorsport 7:

  • 12. Michael Schumacher
  • 19. Lewis Hamilton
  • 24. Jeff Gordon
  • 27. Valentino Rossi
  • 34. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  • 35. Fernando Alonso
  • 45. Kimi Raikkonen

General Motorsport Industry News

Felipe Massa Goes Legal on F1

While the TV ratings were not overly impressive, a busy and packed St. Petersburg IndyCar race kicked off the 2024 season, but not without some drama off-track. Despite his team winning the race, Roger Penske has come under criticism from fellow team owners over how the series is being run so a meeting was convened to clear the air.

“We had a really positive meeting,” Penske Entertainment CEO Mark Miles told RACER. “We shared several ongoing efforts to grow the series and also some important plans for the future. There was a lot of alignment and helpful dialogue. We agreed to keep talking on a regular basis moving forward.”

Michael Andretti was a little less sanguine. “[If he’s not willing to invest] then sell the series,” Andretti said. “There’s people out there willing to do it. I think there’s a lot of people on the sidelines thinking, ‘This is a diamond in the rough if you do it right’. But what you need is big money behind it to get it to that level, and if he’s not willing to do it, I think he should step aside and let someone else buy it.”

NASCAR TV ratings are looking good in comparison to IndyCar and F1 in the United States as it works to extend its lead. Part of this could involve a race around Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium (where Formula E is also looking to race). The other part is with international expansion, something their NextGen car could better facilitate.

“As we were designing the new car, we were keeping an eye out for not just the powertrains, but how relevant our car topology is to the rest of the world,” said John Probst, NASCAR senior vice president, chief racing development officer. “The idea was not only to attract new [team] owners, but how can we try and attract drivers from all over the world.”

SpeedCafe’s Roland Dane explains why a charter system is important in top line motorsports. “The basic answer is very simple, and it’s tied to the fact that these four classes, from F1 down to Supercars, are really the only four-wheeled circuit-based motorsport categories that produce meaningful and regular media, sponsorship and gate revenue opportunities to the point where it’s possible for teams and organisers to make a profit.”

Motorsport.com looks at why endurance racing is booming with a new breed of prototype sportscar. “It is that mix of technology and the ability of manufacturers to stamp their own mark on the look of the car with which they go racing that has drawn in global auto manufacturers. No fewer than five manufacturers using LMDh prototypes are now represented across IMSA and the WEC.”

Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has expressed his intent on Formula E racing in the southeast Asian country in the near future. “There is currently a major shift towards EV cars taking place in Thailand, with 40% of the cars ordered in the country last year having been EVs. Because of the dramatic rise in EV cars in Thailand, Thavisin believes hosting Formula E is the next step.”

The Canary Islands will host a round of the World Rally Championship in 2025 as part of a new two-year deal that brings Spain back onto the calendar. “Bringing the Rally Islas Canarias to the WRC has been the reward for many years of work. It was a goal desired by several generations, and now, together with WRC Promoter, it has become within reach”, said German Morales, CEO of the event promoter Club Deportivo Todo Sport.

Quick Takes on the Business of Motorsport This Week

Business of Motorsport

Motorsport Law Roundup

A look at some of the legal and regulatory issues and analysis in Motorsport this week

Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa has made good on his threat and has filed a £64m lawsuit against FIA, FOM and Bernie Ecclestone over the 2008 F1 Singapore Grand Prix. “Mr Massa is seeking declarations that the FIA breached its regulations by failing to promptly investigate Nelson Piquet Junior’s crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix and that had it acted properly, Mr Massa would have won the drivers’ championship that year. Mr Massa also seeks damages for the significant financial loss he has suffered due to the FIA’s failure, in which Mr Ecclestone and FOM were also complicit.”

Jonathan Noble from Autosport has examined the court filings and they show that, despite protestations to the contrary when he initially announced his intention to sue last year, Massa is seeking financial compensation for damages and not to overturn the championship results.

“It outlines that Massa not only lost a €2 million (£1.7 million) bonus for not winning the championship, but it cost him in terms of the salary he could command in subsequent years – both in terms of as a driver and in other roles relating to F1 and motorsport – as well as sponsorship and commercial opportunities.”

Massa also wants a declaration from the FIA that it acted in breach of its own regulations in failing to investigate the circumstances of the Singapore crash.

One of the more bizarre race penalties was handed down in last weekend’s second F1 Academy race as winner Doriane Pin was demoted to ninth after finishing first because she passed the checkered flag twice. Pins was having radio issues and had a hard time seeing the first checkered flag so was not aware that she had passed it.

As motorsport lawyer Sarah Franklin has correctly pointed out, the onus is on the driver to be aware of their surroundings.

“A racing driver is personally responsible to ensure they are aware of all of the flags. Team radio / old fashioned pit boards may assist but ultimately it’s down to the driver. It’s a safety issue hence the penalty given here.”

Another incident that raised eyebrows is why McLaren driver Lando Norris did not get penalized for what looked like a clear jump start at the beginning of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The stewards decided to take no further action after it emerged that Norris’ movement hadn’t set off the FIA’s transponder.

“The stewards reviewed positioning/marshalling system data, video and determined that the video appeared to show that car 4 moved before the start signal was given. However, the FIA approved and supplied transponder fitted on the car did not indicate a jump start. Article 48.1 a) of the Formula One Sporting Regulations states clearly that the judgment of whether or not there was a jump start is to be made in accordance with the transponder, which did not show a jump start. In the circumstances, we took no further action.”

RFK Racing has withdrawn its appeal of last week’s penalty for a safety violation in the Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. By halting the appeals process, the suspensions to jack operator Nicholas Patterson and front tire changer Jakob Prall are set to take effect for Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, extending through the March 24 Cup Series event at Circuit of The Americas.

Motorsport Sponsorship & Partnership News

Here are the latest motorsport sponsorship deals, partnerships and related analysis that were announced this week.

FIA Girls on Track Australia
Business of Motorsport

The Business of Running a Race Team

Business of Motorsport

Andretti Global has released more renderings of their impressive new headquarters in Fishers, Indiana as they continue their pursuit of an F1 entry. As Autosport has pointed out, around 50% of the facility will be devoted to manufacturing and design for the F1 project, working in conjunction with Andretti’s UK facility.

Team & Manufacturer News

Here is a roundup of the latest team news from around the world of motorsport.

Summons Racing
Business of Motorsport
Felipe Massa Goes Legal on F1
Felipe Massa Goes Legal on F1

Mark Boudreau
Author: Mark Boudreau

Mark is the publisher of Motorsport Prospects. As a former lawyer, he applies his legal background and research skills to assist race drivers by showcasing the resources they need to make their motorsport careers happen.