Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur said it would be “strange” if the outcome of the 2008 Formula 1 season was revisited in response to a legal bid brought by the team’s former driver Felipe Massa.the controversial events of that year’s Singapore Grand Prix, stressed “I don’t want to make any comment on this matter”.
Reports emerged last week that Massa’s representatives sent a Letter Before Claim to the FIA and F1. The CEO of the latter, Stefano Domenicali, was team principal at Ferrari when Massa lost the 2008 championship to Lewis Hamilton by a single point.
Massa’s narrow title defeat in the final race came five weeks after he lost a potential win in the Singapore Grand Prix. He led the early stages of the race until he lost time due to a botched pit stop during an early Safety Car period.
It later emerged the Safety Car period had been triggered deliberately by Nelson Piquet Jnr, who crashed in order to help his team mate Fernando Alonso win the race, which he did. While Massa failed to score, Hamilton picked up six points for third place and pulled further ahead of his rival at the top of the championship standings.
Former F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone recently claimed the FIA could have acted sooner in response to the allegations Renault had cheated. By the time it did so, almost a year after the race, it was unable to alter the results, which could have led to Massa becoming champion instead of Hamilton.
Vasseur, who briefly headed Renault’s F1 team in 2016 and joined Ferrari at the beginning of this season, admitted the events of 15 years ago had been unusual, but was reluctant to be drawn on his team’s stance over the controversy.
“I have a good relationship with all the stakeholders on this topic, and it’s quite tricky,” he said. “For sure the circumstances were completely exceptional.
“But more generally, and not about Felipe, I think we are also trying to push the FIA to know the result of the event at the chequered flag. And perhaps this, I don’t know. I don’t want to make any comment, but for sure it would be strange [to revise the result].”
He indicated he is not keen on the idea of changing the outcome of a race after it has finished. “I’m not a big fan to change the result of the race 15 minutes after the chequered flag.”
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