Felipe Massa is considering legal route to ascertain if there is any way to get the 2008 F1 title by altering the Singapore GP result.
The 2008 F1 title decider came down to the last lap in the final grand prix of the season where McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton did enough to beat Ferrari’s Massa to secure his first drivers’ world championship in only his second year in the sport.
It was looking bleak until the dying moments when the famous ‘Is that Glock?’ lines were uttered who gave way to Hamilton to clinch the title. But following that year, F1 were hit hugely by the ‘crashgate’ scandal from the Singapore GP weekend.
It came to light that Renault’s Flavio Brivatore and Pat Symmonds planned a crash for Nelson Piquet Jr during the grand prix to trigger a safety car which would have helped Fernando Alonso to win the grand prix. The Brazilian carried it out under pressure.
Once this was out on in open, Piquet, Briatore and Symmonds were duly punished by the FIA as Alonso escaped any punishment while the grand prix results stayed as it is. Hamilton finished third in the F1 grand prix to score a valuable six points.
Now if there was cancellation of the grand prix and the results declared void, Massa would be world champion having lost to Hamilton by only one point. The Brazilian is considering legal options after recent comments made by Bernie Ecclestone.
“Max Mosley and I were informed during the 2008 season of what had happened in the race in Singapore,” said Ecclestone to F1 Insider. “Piquet junior had told his father Nelson that he had been asked by the team to drive into the wall at a certain point in order to trigger a safety car phase and such to help his teammate Alonso.
“Piquet junior was worried about his contract extension, so he was under a lot of pressure and agreed. We decided not to do anything for now. We wanted to protect the sport and save it from a huge scandal. That’s why I used angelic tongues to persuade my former pilot Nelson Piquet to keep calm for the time being.
“Back then there was a rule that a World Championship ranking after the FIA awards ceremony at the end of the year was untouchable. So Hamilton was presented with the World Cup and everything was fine. We had enough information in time to investigate the matter.
“According to the statutes, we should have canceled the race in Singapore under these conditions. That means it would never have happened for the World Cup standings. Then Felipe Massa would have become world champion and not Lewis Hamilton. I still feel sorry for Massa today.
“He won the final at his home race in Sao Paulo and did everything right. He was cheated of the title he deserved while Hamilton had all the luck in the world and won his first championship. Today I would have arranged things differently. That’s why Michael Schumacher is still the sole record world champion for me. Even if the statistics say otherwise,” summed up Ecclestone.
These comments from Ecclestone has pushed Massa into considering legal options even though he isn’t certain if there is any way to get it done. He cited example of Lance Armstrong too who lost his win after the doping scandal.
“First of all, it’s very sad, to find out that a race has been stolen that became clear the following year,” said Massa to Motorsport Network’s Brazilian website. “The punishments of Briatore and Pat Symonds happened, while the result of something being stolen, [with that] nothing happened.
“There is a rule that said that when a championship was decided, from the moment the driver receives the champion’s trophy, things could no longer be changed. But it was proven a theft. At the time, Ferrari’s lawyers told me about this rule, we went to other lawyers and the answer was that nothing could be done. I, logically, believed in this situation.
“And after 15 years, we hear that the owner – Ecclestone – of the category says that he found out in 2008, together with the president of the FIA, and they did nothing to not tarnish the name of F1. This is very sad. You know something was stolen, the result of this race was supposed to be canceled and I would have a title.
“In the end, I was the one who lost the most with this result. We are going after to understand all this. There are rules, there are many things that, depending on the country, you cannot go back after 15 years to resolve a situation. I would never go after it thinking financially, I would go after it thinking about justice. I would try justice.
“I think if you’ve been punished for something that wasn’t your fault, it’s the product of a robbery, a stolen race, justice has to be done. In fact, the right situation is to cancel the result of that race, it is the only justice that is done in a case like this. This is justice. I don’t know if it’s possible to divide a title.
“If that race is proven to be stolen, it has to be cancelled, that’s justice. It’s very difficult to say ‘ah, poor thing’… there is no ‘poor thing’ in the world, the situation is clear. We have already seen other situations happening in sports, such as Lance Armstrong, who was proven to be doped, he lost all the titles. What is the difference?
“I intend to study the situation. The result, the studies of what the laws say, the rules… We have to have an idea of what is possible to do. As I said, I have no financial interest in this. Am I going to sue the FIA to make money on top of it, but without changing the result? I don’t care. What interests me is just the correct justice of this situation,” summed up Massa, as this hot topic is certainly to generate discussions come Baku.