Felipe Massa says he is going to look into whether there are any legal routes he could go down to void the results of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, which, if successful, would mean he would take the championship title.
Lewis Hamilton won the 2008 crown by the narrowest of margins after a late overtake on Timo Glock at the end of the final race in Brazil earned him enough points to snatch the championship from the grasp of Massa, who had won the GP.
Massa is not considering looking into that race, though, but one earlier in the campaign in Singapore, which saw the Crashgate scandal involving Nelson Piquet Jr and Renault deliberately causing a crash to bring in a Safety Car period, during which Massa had a botched pit-stop that led to him finishing outside of the points when he had been leading.
Massa says that recent comments from former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone have prompted him to at least have a look at whether there’s any legal route to go down here.
Bernie Ecclestone discusses Singapore 2008
Recently, Ecclestone said of the Singapore incident via F1-Insider:
“At that time there was the rule that a World Championship classification after the FIA award ceremony at the end of the year is untouchable. So Hamilton was presented with the championship trophy and everything was fine.
“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 out of the deserved title, while Hamilton had all the luck in the world and won his first championship.
“Today I would have arranged it differently.”
Ecclestone admitted that he and then-FIA President Max Mosley were “informed during the 2008 season about what had happened in the race in Singapore.”
Felipe Massa considers legal action over 2008
And in light of that, Massa admitted via Motorsport.com he might consider looking into the outcome once more, having felt back in 2009 that such a change should have happened because of the Crashgate scandal:
“There is a rule that says that when a championship is decided, from the moment the driver receives the champion’s trophy, things can no longer be changed, even if it has been 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. So I logically believed in this situation.
“But after 15 years, we hear that the [former] owner of the category says that he found out in 2008, together with the president of the FIA, and they did nothing [so as] to not tarnish the name of F1.
“This is very sad, to know the result of this race was supposed to be cancelled and I would have a title. In the end, I was the one who lost the most with this result. So, we are going after it to understand all this.
“There are rules, and there are many things that, depending on the country, you cannot go back after 15 years to resolve a situation.
“But I intend to study the situation; study what the laws say, and the rules. We have to have an idea of what is possible to do.”
It’s probably very unlikely that we’d see any change in the result, and so Lewis Hamilton’s 2008 championship win seems set to stay in the record books.
Nevertheless, it’s certainly an intriguing story that we might not have heard the last of yet.