Massa could have won title despite ‘Crashgate’ – Piquet Jnr

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In the round-up: Felipe Massa could have been the 2008 champion without the Crashgate scandal, says Nelson Piquet Jnr

In brief

Massa could have won title despite ‘Crashgate’ – Piquet Jnr

Nelson Piquet Jnr says the crash he caused during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix needn’t have cost Felipe Massa the world championship that year.

Massa is seeking legal action over the race, which Fernando Alonso won after Piquet, his Renault team mate, deliberately crashed in order to cause a Safety Car period. During that period Massa pitted but suffered a botched pit stop which ended his chances of scoring any points.

Lewis Hamilton, who ran second behind his championship rival Massa in the opening stages of the race, finished third. He out-scored Massa by six points and went on to deny him the title by a single point.

Piquet insisted his crash wasn’t done “to affect a person directly – it was a team order to help someone within our team.”

“It wasn’t to disturb Felipe,” he told the Pelas Pistas podcast. “It was nothing like that. We don’t know what happened, you know? Felipe could very well have won that race if that hadn’t happened at the pit stop.”

Kobayashi puts #7 Toyota quickest in WEC practice

Kamui Kobayashi set the quickest time in the second practice session ahead of this weekend’s Six Hours of Algarve at Autodromo do Algarve in Portugal, putting the number seven Toyota of Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez quickest, almost a full second faster than Toyota number eight team mates Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa, who had been quickest in the opening session.

The two Ferrari 499Ps were third and fourth, with number 50, driven by Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina and Niklas Nielsen ahead of the number 51 of Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Antonio Giovinazzi. The two Peugeots were split by the number five Penske Porsche, with Cadillac, Glickenhaus and the number six Porsche completing the top ten. The Vanwall hypercar was 13th, behind the two fastest LMP2 cars of Vector Sport and Inter Europol.

Mini fastest as F3 test ends

Gabriele Mini set the fastest overall time in the two day FIA Formula 3 test at the Circuit de Barcelona as the running came to an end.

The Hitech driver’s best time in the morning session of a 1’26.319 was half a tenth quicker than Taylor Barnard, while championship leader Gabriel Bortoleto was quickest in the final session in the evening, also ahead of Barnard.

F3 will test again next week in Imola. The next round of the F3 championship also takes place at the Imola circuit during the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix weekend.

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Comment of the day

With F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali claiming that Red Bull’s dominance is not turning off newer fans from the sport, @tommy-c is cynical…

Really? I’d have thought the opposite was true. Avid fans are used to teams dominating. New fans have been sold a Drive to Survive version which dramatises the sport into the realms of fiction. I fear the fans who get on board via Netflix will soon drop off when they realise the product they’ve been sold is quite different. I’m in no way knocking F1. I love it and always will. But it’s not what is portrayed in Drive to Survive.
Tommy C

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Davidnotcoulthard and Dave W!

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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17 comments on “Massa could have won title despite ‘Crashgate’ – Piquet Jnr”

  1. Indeed & COTD is spot-on.

  2. I think if I was Felipe’s friend, the first thing I’d ask him would be ‘would it make you happier? Like, if the FIA organised a big gala event in Monaco, everyone wore tuxedos and Lewis came with the trophy and passed it over to him? Round of applause etc. I somehow doubt it would. Yeah, he’d be able to call himself 2008 World Champion. But it’d still be somewhat hollow.

    I’m sorry about what Flavio, Pat & Nelson did that evening. But I think Felipe would be better looking at the positives, rather than trying to right wrongs. Everyone who needs to know knows how close he was that season. A trophy 15 years later? Will he be all smiles and celebrating?

    Yes, Renault cheated in Singapore, but there so many variables in an F1 season, it’s probably infinite (I’m not a mathematician). Ferrari still dropped the ball at his pitstop, he still spun 43,714 times at Silverstone. People get taken out by backmarkers, who get a penalty but the title hopeful is still in the wall. Loads of stuff happens in a F1 title race. Webber probably still has nightmares of Korea.

    I feel for him, but I think he’d be better off embracing the last corner drama and everything else he has done in his career rather than pursue legal action 15 years later. When he walked back into the pit lane (2016?) after his crash and had announced retirement he got a round of applause from every garage. They’re the people who matter. No trophy is going to be better than that.

    1. There’s no argueing about the fact a manipulated sport event needs to be cancelled. So the championchip rightfully belongs to Massa, it’s simple as that. It’s impossible to take the title over from Hamilton now, but FIA could at least recognize their mistake. It’s crazy to think they can consider Massa also champion in 2008, but I think it’s better to break with conventions sometimes and do the right thing.

      1. championship*

      2. The championship wasn’t manipulated by Hamilton however (if you bring up the Glock nonsense, just don’t it; It is clear nonsense and Glock has suffered abuse for it from fools for years) and Alonso wasn’t proven to be involved, according to FIA investigation Miane, so who exactly would you think it fair to give up the win/podium/points fifteen years after the facts when the way that race went influenced how everyone involved raced the rest of the season. Fifteen years ago?

        That’s why I think @bernasaurus has written a well argued and put post which I wholeheartedly agree with.

        1. If someone insisted on something being done, then I’d say the Renault team would be disqualified from the results of the Singapore GP 2008. Cancelling the whole event is ridiculous.

      3. Who manipulated the event? FIA or Renault?
        At the 2000 Sydney Olympics the US 400 x 100 relay team won the relay race, some years Antonio Pettigrew was found to be using illegal performance enhancing drugs. The whole squad was disqualified from the race, they didn’t disqualified the whole race. Lance Armstrong was disqualified from his races and the winner was passed on to the next person.

    2. Pretty sure it would make him happier, he drove at least as well as hamilton that year (they both made several mistakes), which is a high standard for massa.

  3. I do really like the simple lines of those Indy cars, subjective and not everyone’s opinion I know – but still :)

  4. So sad to hear about Craig Breen’s tragic death. He was the most interesting character in this year’s WEC, and the joy he obviously had driving at the top level again was inspiring. Gutted.

    1. typo: WRC

  5. Piquet jr. is completely right. I am sure he only spoke because someone went to him and ask, but it is good he says it clearly.

    There were so many things both Massa and Ferrari could have done better both before and after Singapore. And there was a lot that McLaren and Hamilton did wrong, and even some unfair FIA stuff involved as well.

  6. Were FIA decide or forced to act retrospectively to redress the 2008 Singapore GP, there seem to be two actions available: 1. cancel Alonso’s win, disqualifying him from the race, and redistribute the points accordingly. 2. cancel the entire event (which Ecclestone seems to be claiming would be the option under regulations).
    In terms of ‘natural justice’, the first option seems correct. Alonso benefitted, whether he knew about the crash plot or not, and his team were effectively culpable. Nul points.
    Massa’s argument isn’t natural justice. It’s based on a ‘what if’ – what if Piquet Jr hadn’t spun, what if, therefore, he hadn’t made a mess of his pit stop, etc. A whole cascade of hypotheticals and variables. We can’t know what would have happened. But the same applies – this is crucial – to subsequent races. A different Singapore GP result would have meant different strategies, decisions and outcomes in the remaining races. It’s an attempt to rewrite history based on speculation and fantasy.
    Do I think Abu Dhabi 2021 was unfair? Totally. Should Mercedes and Hamilton have appealed? I said no at the time and stand by it, just about. But take away Verstappen’s first title officially? No. However wronged I feel that Hamilton was, taking away a title even after 1.5 years – not 15! – seems worse, demeaning everyone.
    Massa was always resentful of Hamilton’s title win. But he also benefitted from dubious stewarding and FIA decisions, Spa in particular, and some gifted points from his team mate. He simply didn’t deserve the 2008 championship, however much he may feel so.

    1. Well, but the option 2 would actually give the title to massa.

      1. @esploratore1 I know. Obviously Massa prefers the option that would ‘theoretically’ give him the title. My point is that his claim can only be based on a ‘what if’ idea of ‘natural justice,’ claiming he ‘deserved’ the title. But that argument doesn’t work on multiple levels.

    2. Option 1 is the only one that makes sense as the team orchestrated things for their own benefit, so disqualifying the team from the event is the only reasonable solution.
      As for Abu Dhabi seeing as people love to poke that particular wound, the only reasonable solution for that would be to cancel the final lap as it was run outside the rules as written and previously clarified, returning the race order to as it was at the end of the last legitimate lap. Perfectly fair and reasonable, no one’s given an unfair advantage or is unfairly disadvantaged (Riccardo and Stroll, who both pitted for tyres, were not allowed to unlap themselves to take advantage of said tyres, for example).

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