Fifteen years ago, Lewis Hamilton won the Formula 1 drivers’ title for the first time at the expense of Ferrari’s Felipe Massa. But the situation could change as the former Brazilian driver is ready to take his case to court following Bernie Ecclestone’s revelations about ‘Crashgate’. Massa is keen to overturn the results of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix and regain his world F1 title, making Lewis Hamilton a 6 time champion.
Felipe Massa has hopes of inheriting the 2008 title back, which was lost by one point to Lewis Hamilton in conditions that he is still contesting fifteen years later after new information has emerged about the Singapore Grand Prix and its famous “crashgate” which gifted Renault’s Fernando Alonso a win but destroyed Massa’s championship bid.
The points swing on that day arguably decided the world championship outcome as Hamilton ended the campaign just one point ahead of Massa in the standings after the Brazilian GP.
FIA’s investigation into the events of Singapore did not uncover any evidence that suggested Alonso and the wider Renault team knew of the crash plan or assisted in its execution, so ‘officially’, the governing body felt it would have been unfair to change the result.
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On that September evening in 2008, Nelson Piquet Jr. sent his Renault into the barriers on command of his bosses on the pit wall, allowing his team-mate Fernando Alonso to win the race to the surprise of everyone in a generally uncompetitive Renault car. Lewis Hamilton took the six points for third place, while Felipe Massa, who had led the race for 17 laps, finished 13th and out of the points after an incident during his pit stop, dropping him down the field.
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Lando racing hard Down Under. 👊 What a battle this was. #AusGP 🇦🇺
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) April 3, 2023
The Brazilian felt he had been cheated and therefore abandoned the idea of challenging this situation in court after the season finished. The idea resurfaced after Bernie Ecclestone’s confession last month. In an interview with F1-insider.com, the former F1 supremo conceded that F1 officials “decided not to do anything, in order to protect the sport and save it from a huge scandal” when they should have instead “cancelled” the Singapore Grand Prix results.
“And it is Felipe Massa who would have become world champion, not Lewis Hamilton,” he concluded.
“Bernie should have said this earlier,” Felipe Massa said.
“I spoke about it at the time with Ferrari and the team’s lawyers, and they told me there was nothing they could do. (…) I always thought, and I still think today, that if I had hired lawyers on my own and presented a case, the result would have been different.”
The 2008 World Cup runner-up is reportedly considering taking the case to court again. Massa, who is the current president of the International Karting Commission admitted as much in an interview with Motosport.com Brazil:
“We know there was a robbery. I am the one who lost the most. We’re trying to understand all this…”
Felipe Massa makes valid case
Aware of the legal notion of prescription, the Brazilian cited the example of the Tour de France and the revocation of Lance Armstrong’s titles for doping:
“Depending on the country, you can’t go back 15 years to solve a case. But I intend to study the situation. We need to have an idea of what can be done. I have no financial interest in this case.
“Am I going to sue the FIA to make money without changing the outcome? No. All I’m interested in is that justice corrects the situation.”
The Brazilian, who retired from F1 in 2017, said he was “a totally happy man” and that if the 2008 title came to him, “it will not change anything” in his life.
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If Hamilton cannot be declared to champion for the 2021 season even after the FIA said they were at fault, then this also cannot be changed for the same reason.
So the only option is to remove both races from the results.
Then Massa is champion and so is Verstappen.
The difference is that Renault were found guilty of “crashgate”, another team and nothing to do with Lewis who won fair and square as in all his titles, but it was the governing body the FIA who admitted fault and technically the race fixing in the 2021 finale costing Lewis the title, Max was nowhere all race until Masi rewrote rules on the fly for the first ever time in the history of the sport…
but it wasn’t Verstappens fault. So why punnish verstappen? He was the first to cross the finisline that day.
It’s the same for Lewis ot Massa, it wasn’t there fault. But they had the feeling they where robt of something.
And if the guy with the best car that year did better in the races before AD then he wouldn’t have had to rely on a result from that race.
LH and MB failed in 2021. They even admitted they were concentrating on the new regs. So in reality he lost because of bad decisions from his own team. Max earned his title before that race.
Wherever there is a lot of money involved, there is corruption. And there surely is a lot of money involved in Formula 1. The efforts should not be on tweaking the rules by a 32nd of an inch here and there. The effort should be focused on banning the corruption.
Debating a championship 15 years after the fact…what on earth are we doing for crying out loud.
Always thought it was a fix. DNA brings crimes to light after 20 years. No problem dealing with this after 15. Put record straight don’t try the popular/political route. Respect the man.
Is Massa really that desperate for a world title? What cost him the championship was the last lap in Brazil.