Massa’s Crashgate case could set precedent affecting Hamilton’s lost title – Wolff

Formula 1

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Felipe Massa’s legal case over the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix could set a precedent which affects Lewis Hamilton’s controversial 2021 championship defeat, Mercedes believe.

Team principal Toto Wolff said they are following the progress of Massa’s legal case over the notorious ‘Crashgate’ episode with interest. Massa believes the FIA’s failure to act in a timely manner over the disputed race ultimately cost him victory in that year’s world championship, which was won by Hamilton.

Massa’s legal team began work on the case after former F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone claimed the FIA knew before the end of the 2008 season that the race had been manipulated by winners Renault. Nelson Piquet Jnr deliberately crashed his car during the race in order to cause a Safety Car period which his team mate Fernando Alonso benefited from.

Wolff said the case was “interesting to follow” for Mercedes. “This is clearly not something that anybody saw coming, the rules are pretty clear in Formula 1.

“If there’s a civil case behind it, it would certainly set a precedent, whatever it is. We are looking from the sidelines with curiosity.”

Hamilton lost the 2021 world championship following a controversial decision by former race director Michael Masi, who arranged a last-lap restart in contravention of the rules. That allowed Max Verstappen to overtake Hamilton on the final lap and clinch the championship.

Mercedes’ protests over the race were thrown out. They considered a further appeal but decided not to proceed as even if the race result was annulled, Hamilton would not have won the championship.

However Wolff says Massa’s efforts to cancel the result of a race which took place 15 years ago in order to claim a title he lost to Hamilton by a single point raises the prospect of reopening the matter of disputed 2021 championship.

“The FIA commented on the 2021 race with a clear statement,” he said. “So that’s why we were looking at it with interest.”

Three months after the 2021 finale the FIA confirmed Masi had made an error in restarting the race without allowing all lapped cars to rejoin the lead lap. He never ran another F1 race and subsequently left the FIA.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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90 comments on “Massa’s Crashgate case could set precedent affecting Hamilton’s lost title – Wolff”

  1. Can we then also discuss the lost title of Senna with the escape road? Cause that was a daylight robbery.

    1. Senna wouldn’t have won anyway because he crashed out in Adelaide, but I agree that he should never have had that Suzuka victory taken away.

    2. His way of achieving the following season’s championship was more clear-cut.

      1. Doesn’t matter since that was a direct result of the previous year’s action.

        1. He just balanced things out

      2. That race needs to be on the to be reviewed list as well but not because of the incident in turn one but a full investigation why they changed the grid position overnight.

    3. And while you are at it, let’s throw in the last minute change of grid positions in Japan the year after.

  2. I don’t see the connection. Yes it’d be a precedent because it’s reviewing past championships but how do you compare a race fixing scandal that was premeditated and subsequently covered by the persons in power to a FIA director coming up with rules of his own?

    Very different causes… It’s like putting a referee error and a team getting paid to lose in the same basket…

    1. but how do you compare a race fixing scandal that was premeditated and subsequently covered by the persons in power to a FIA director coming up with rules of his own?

      If they can prove that the FIA director was changing the rules to favour one team over another… its as much of a scandal as crashgate. From a layman’s perspective, an FIA official bending the rules to favour one team over the other should also make the race result void. Unfortunately for Hamilton, he would still lose the championship if the race result was negated, as they were tied on points but Max had more wins.

      1. @todfod the scandal is big sporting wise but the crashgate was far deeper and sinister, as they deliberately covered it afterwards.

    2. Toto mentions the statement of admission made by the FIA 3 months later, perhaps meaning that could be used.

      I imagine it runs thicker than that anyway for example the comment above mine. The race director clearly did favour one team over another and specifically because of the title. There is a pretty robust case for that

      Also Masi has been silinced from talking about what happened. Maybe there’s something there maybe there’s not but I’d imagine masi wants to be able to redeem himself by be able to say his side yet he can’t and is forced not to.

      If Massa’s attempts help bring further light and perhaps justice to AD 2021 I’m all for it. It only wasn’t a bigger deal because it was the least popular winner that was wronged. No doubt it also took some overlooked radio and silence from Lewis to even make it nearly half as important as it should have been.

      Hopefully it takes much much less than 15 years, before liberty can leave.

      1. Hey, can I apply for some compensation, also? I was asked to vacate the pit wall at the start of a race, in 1986. I feel, that in doing that, I missed an opportunity for income generating photography. Any ambulance chasers around?

        1. By all means! :)

      2. Also Masi has been silinced from talking about what happened. Maybe there’s something there maybe there’s not

        This is probably Toto’s angle, because there obviously is a huge story in that. Remember Masi changed his mind, from correct to incorrect, after a couple of minutes, and it’s 110% obvious that in that two minutes someone very high up in the F1 money tree realised they could have a shiny new WDC, if only…

        And now Toto is eyeing a spot of revenge. A court can challenge an NDA, so a precedent of a civil court case could tease that can of wriggly worms open! Or even the threat, is amusing.

        1. In a sense they’re saying: if hamilton loses the 2008 title we can get the 2021 back.

  3. A ‘realistic’ scenario would be a civil case that causes the 2008 Singapore GP to be excluded from the 2008-season. In that case Hamilton will lose his title to Massa. I don’t see how that will help Mercedes’ case in Abu Dhabi 2021. Excluding that race from the 2021 championship results will have no effect on the championships result (at least not for Mercedes).

    1. Unless they try to reverse a lap like happens under red flag as I suppose there is predicent for that. But not sure that would add up. They only other thing would be to challenge the great Belgian GP of that season. And rightfully so

      1. I don’t think they have a case in spa: red bull could argue that in a regular race verstappen could’ve gained 7 points on hamilton, but only ended up gaining 5 this way because of the half points (and rusell coming 2nd), and I wouldn’t blame them, there’s no saying he couldn’t have kept hamilton behind, we didn’t see them race at all.

      2. Ofc you mean, with the race not having happened, it’s fair to not give points but I disagree with that too: russell and verstappen, for example, deserve a reward for their brilliant qualifying, and half points is fair for a non race.

        1. also each team deserves one point for the efforts of coming to spa? no race, no points – simple as that. the fake race only happened for commercial reasons, against the paying fans.

        2. Agree to disagree I suppose. Qualifying isn’t a race and isn’t worth points unless predetermined. Retroactively awarding points for a normally non scoring session is a bit daft. Had it been agreed prior sure fair enough but it hadn’t.
          Different drivers and cars have differing levels of performance from qualifying to the race as well, setups can and will have an affect not to mention just on the tyres. There’s a reason drivers don’t celebrate a great qualifying session like they do a great race result, because they know the points are for Sunday’s race.

    2. Regardless of all that, it probably doesn’t truly matter. I would imagine it’s more about the truth and account because realistically they can’t have their titles they feel they deserve

  4. Felipe Massa has no case at all because there is no rule stating that the Singapore Grand Prix should be annulled, or taken to the lap before Piquet’s crash. If Hamilton had not passed Timo Glock in Brazil, it is ironic that he could easily be presenting the exact same legal case now, but asking for Alonso to be disqualified instead (which would actually be more reasonable).

    Lewis Hamilton actually was robbed of the championship in Abu Dhabi 2021 although I still don’t see how he could get it back. It would require the race to be taken to the lap before the restart which would be fair but I don’t see how it could be in line with any rules. But while I would have liked Mercedes to have protested at the time and got the title, I think after a year has passed it should be consigned to the history books, and while I would like for Lewis Hamilton to be declared the rightful 2021 champion, it doesn’t seem right for him actually to be given the 2021 championship now. The history of Formula 1 is filled with controversies which help to make it interesting, and it doesn’t do any favours to start ripping up the history books in hindsight.

    1. Why are you lying?

      “We had enough information in time to investigate the matter. According to the statutes, we should have cancelled the race in Singapore under these conditions.”

      1. Why are you lying?

        “We had enough information in time to investigate the matter. According to the statutes, we should have cancelled the race in Singapore under these conditions.”

        Actually, that’s standard Bernie bull****
        As @f1frog notes, there was, and still is, no provision for annulling the race in circumstances like that.
        There was, and still is, a provision in the regulations for DQ’ing the offending party/parties.

        Why Toto is watching with interest is a different question.
        The rules are written to attempt to deal with competitors cheating, and I don’t think anyone ever dreamed that a race director might throw the rule book out of the window at a critical point.
        I suspect a legal ruling might take things back to a situation just prior to the offence being committed.

        The other side is that they might rule that the offender (Masi) and co-conspirators (stewards defending the invented rules) should be subject to normal legal procedures in recognition of clear wrong doing.

    2. One of the worst things out of all of it was that masi was silenced from speaking about it, yet barely anyone picks up on this. Why wasn’t he allowed to speak? He certainly did not like the backlash after it happened so I would imagine he’d like to explain his truth but for some reason isn’t allowed to.

      1. Exactly, it’s a guilty secret. The secret is that it wasn’t a mistake, it was an order. And yes this is F1, so if a journalist wants to keep getting access, they mustn’t get into this scandal.

      2. https://www.planetf1.com/news/michael-masi-open-abu-dhabi-discussion-lewis-hamilton/

        He wanted to explain to hamilton at least, but hamilton himself declined, so it’s not on masi.

        1. Not sure it makes sense to expect to be approached for an explanation after a huge blinder like that, rather you would assume it be the person responsible for error to explain willingly and from intuition their reasoning and mistake. And this is a sport, so publicly to the fans that fund it with time and money.

    3. Hamilton wasn’t robbed, like you said in your analysis, he was not the best driver of the 2 fighting for the title that year, he made several mistakes and had a terrible performance in monaco; verstappen was always on top of his game.

      1. Absolutely was, if you watch the race and see the FIA comments they themselves admit they made a mistake.

        There was an admission of a mistake, and without the mistake the race would have finished behind safety car. Meaning no positions could be changed, reversing the mistake to reinstate the position during safety car and Lewis would be world championship.

        Also you can certainly argue they were equal over the season, verstappens mistakes in the last 4 races are overlooked. Not to mention driving standards and conduct. Across all metrics they were pretty equal.

        Regardless, it’s a case of most points by actual result. Not who objectively or subjectively did better. F1 would have 100+ champions if it were done that way lol

  5. Difference being that the massa case doesnt require artificial altering racing decicions whereas hamiltons case would. If they would they can also change the fact hamulton overtook max offtrack gaining an advantage and not givi g the place back, resulting in nett the same outcome

    1. It was go off track or crash…which was exactly what Max wanted to happen.

    2. Difference being that the massa case doesnt require artificial altering racing decicions whereas hamiltons case would.

      There was not, and still is not, a regulation that provides for the annulling of a race where only one competitor cheats. There is provision for DQ’ing the offending competitor. The result of that would remove Alonso from the result and only benefit competitors who were lower in the points, or stood to become one that picked up points.
      Massa stands to gain no points out of that, so the reason for him chasing this is unfathomable.

      WRT the AD21 result, the situation is unclear. I suspect a legal ruling might take things back to a situation just prior to the offence being committed, and institute a red flag procedure at that point. Proximity to the finish would allow a full points result.
      Where does that leave things?

      If they would they can also change the fact Hamilton overtook max offtrack gaining an advantage and not givi g the place back, resulting in nett the same outcome

      5 second time penalty under the rules. Given the fact that Hamilton’s pace was such that, until the safety car, he had an 18-second lead I don’t see that making any difference. Even with the safety car, until Masi did the illegal procedures, Hamilton was still more than 5 seconds ahead. No difference.
      The only “win” scenario for MV is with the illegal procedures from Masi.

      Personally, I believe the FIA changing anything is so vanishingly small that it isn’t worth considering. Doing the right thing isn’t an FIA thing.

      1. Actually no, the SC bunched up the field, there was not enough time to regain a 5 sec lead, unless you mean serving the penalty at the pit stop.

    3. Ah this again. You do realise max was off the track himself right? And that Lewis avoided a collision by not counting his turn in trajectory? Probably for the 5th time that season. I suppose you expected Lewis to park on top of the redbull. It was essentially Brazil again but instead with an opposing corner after.

        1. That’s the wrong lap pal

          1. He clearly understood you were talking about the last overtake, instead of the first lap incident.

  6. I actually think Hamilton’s case would be more solid than Massa’s.

  7. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    15th September 2023, 13:38

    Yeah, it would be hilarious if they change the outcome for 2008 but not the outcome for 2021…

    1. @freelittlebirds I do think there is ground to contest the 2021 Abu Dhabi results. However, I don’t see any other option for the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP to either exclude the race from the 2021 results or to leave the results as they are. In both cases Verstappen is still champion. Unlike Massa, Hamilton and Mercedes have little to gain from a civil procedure.

      1. Not if they go after spa. I don’t think they really can but it wasnt a race and shouldn’t have been given points. Qualifying isn’t a race either.

        Otherwise they have further truth to gain from a civil procedure. Masi was never allowed to speak, why wouldn’t they let him? Any further truths and also any significant ones could come to light depending on how far the case is allowed to go.

        1. While I do think that there was a solid argument in favour of a penalty for Hamilton in Spa 2008, that is besides the point. ‘They’ will never go after Spa for the simple reason that Hamilton wasn’t driving for Mercedes at the time.

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            15th September 2023, 18:39

            @matthijs I believe Yellow Baron was talking about the rain at Spa and the cancellation of the race.

            Abu Dhabi was just the final straw that broke the camel’s back and a smokin’ gun one which any attorney can use to extend to the entire season.

            A lot of Verstappen’s driving went practically unpunished. If they show similar driving from other eras and the penalties they received including Lewis over his career with drive-throughs, it’s clear that Verstappen’s season did not abide by FIA standards, rules, and regulations and that was epitomized in the final decision on the final lap by the race director who was in charge for the entire season and chose to give Max the championship. I don’t think any jury would side with Masi there given Masi’s final decision which clearly showed the FIA’s bias against Lewis.

            Even Silverstone can be used against Verstappen as he was overly aggressive into the corner, moved twice, and also realized that Hamilton was there too late (with onboards clearly showing Max realizing the mistake he made). Lewis’ job was to hold his ground which he did like Piastri at Monza which was clearly Lewis’ fault.

            They ended up giving Lewis a penalty which broken down into individual parts was either a racing incident from a lenient viewpoint or Max’s fault. The penalty Lewis received regardless of the result is another example of bias.

          2. @matthijs I think people mean 2021 Spa, but penalizing for what happened in the 2008 edition was wrong because it happened retroactively rather than for something already in place.

          3. Yes of course Spa 2021, my apologies.

  8. Unless Schumi would also lose his maiden championship retroactively.

    1. Coventry Climax
      15th September 2023, 16:11

      Ah, talk about justice..

    2. Everyone going to court: schumacher’s wife, senna’s family, prost, hill, massa, hamilton, verstappen!

  9. Does the English court (where Massa is taking his action) have jurisdiction to order the FIA to annul a race result? My (admittedly shaky) understanding is that the FIA is subordinate to the French courts, so an order in a French or EU-level court would carry some weight, but not an English one.

    Seems like the best Massa can hope for is a big bag of money, and if Mercedes are looking for a precedent to reopen Abu Dhabi then they’re probably thinking about big bags of money too, rather than any changed sporting outcome.

    1. Formula One Group is headquartered in London, and since it was Ecclestone who claimed (and one can take that as loosely as seems proper) they were in on the cover-up, that might be why Massa went there.

      The FIA is indeed headquartered in France, although they may have legally put themselves in Geneva for certain purposes.

      1. I would guess that F1’s commercial contracts are governed by English law, as is quite common in the commercial world, which would explain Massa’s choice of jurisdiction. But my comment was more around whether the same court could actually deliver the outcome people are talking about here – i.e. the annulment of the Singapore race and the retrospective re-awarding of the championship. I don’t believe it could, but I am happy to be corrected.

  10. I wonder if Toto refers to Brazil 2021 when I thought Verstappen deserved a clear 5 second penalty for him pushing Hamilton off track. Imagine if they get Abu Dhabi results as null and then a 5 second penalty for Verstappen in Brazil 2021, which would drop him behind Bottas and a further 3 points lost. Hamilton would be then the winner of 2021.

    1. Don’t think it would be possible to give a penalty more than 2 years later especially given different rules of engagement at the time. Even if it was justified.
      I’m intrigued more by the points given for the two parade laps at spa that year. Those points given without a race taking place changed the eventual championship winner.
      Qualifying isn’t a race.

      1. Ah yes I forgot also about that. They could also examine that because Verstappen was declared as the race winner and Hamilton was 3rd if I remember. That also would change a lot because that is 10 points difference between them.

        1. 5 points, since only half points were awarded for that race. Verstappen won by 8.

          But I don’t think there is any legal argument about that race, regardless of how unsatisfactory the result was. 2 laps was enough to declare a result and award points, even if they were run behind the safety car.

    2. Stuff like this is not fair, because verstappen could’ve easily gained those extra seconds if he had known a penalty was coming, there was no investigation and you can’t retroactively change that.

  11. “They knew a bit more about the (proposed) power unit,” he is quoted by Italy’s Sky Sport 24, “because the Mercedes people were in close contact with the FIA in defining the concept of this engine. “It is why they had such a strong start last year and they are keeping that advantage now,” the 84-year-old Briton added.

    Doesn’t this information also affect all of Hamilton’s and Mercedes’ titles? If they indeed had insider information well before it’s been officially confirmed, they should be stripped of all titles won between 2014 and 2021.

    1. If they indeed had insider information

      That’s based on “information” from what could, politely and diplomatically, be called “an unreliable witness”.

      A witness who, to use a Churchillian phrase, “has frequent recourse to statements lacking in verisimilitude” – ask the HMRC, among others.

  12. Schumacher Adelaide 1994

    1. Racing incident, if you want to go after that you need to go after suzuka 1989 and 1990, 1990 making it worse because it’s clearly a hitting from the back move, and at dangerous speed.

      1. as much of a racing incident as monza 21. on purpose takeout.

        1. Yup. You all saw max back out against Carlos recently at the same corner with the cars in the exact same positions. Like I had said before, fortunately for Carlos he isn’t Max’s title rival so max didn’t park them both in the gravel. He actually managed to back out of it somehow

  13. The results in both cases would be a disqualification of the offending driver you can’t erase and ENTIRE race as it would affect all other competitors in that race as well. If 2008 is altered it’s disqualifying Alonso, meaning all competitors move up, no change.

    2021 Abhu Dabi should have, would have ended under a SC which mean Hamilton was clearly (intentionally) robbed of a race win.

    The entirety of the 2021 season saw the F1 stewards, Liberty Media and the FiA do everything in their power to look the other way whenever Max had clear penalty violation, going as far as having him black flagged but then again 2021 was more WWF1 and F1 as the stewards always seems to be looking the other way.

    1. When saying hamilton was robbed of that RACE WIN you have a point, however he’s not the first driver to lose races because of a SC or VSC, it happened to hamilton himself in australia 2018 for example, as well as in hamilton’s favour in imola 2020.

      And races have also been restarted for only 1-2 laps in the past too, not necessarily did it have to end behind SC.

      1. All fair points however you’re completely committing the essence of the argument, the FIA very conclusion was that Masi made multiple mistakes no allowing all cars to unlap themselves, and didn’t follow the rules about when the SC would have come in, rules applied to other similar situations previously that very season; had he followed the rules the race would have ended under a SC.

        1. As well as above comment, you’re forgetting Michael masi isn’t a safety car.

          Yes but from a red flag. There was no red flag in AB 21′. By admission of their mistake it did have to end behind safety car. Meaning the safety car order was the correct finishing order

  14. It comes down to the stupidity and shortsighteness of FIA, Berni and FOM.

    1. Create proper wellthought rules.
    2 . Follow those rules.
    3. Utilise earned experiance for rule.
    4. Be transparent as possible.

    Formula 1 is broken i have no hope that it will work itself out. The mechanisms that govern F1 are there to be manipiulated by the powers to be.

  15. Maybe wrong but I’d have thought this is mainly a threat of quid pro quo: if FIA take away one championship from Hamilton, he’ll automatically have a basis to sue for the 2021 loss. And Mercedes will back him with that. Makes a lot of sense. But like I said, it seems more like a warning to FIA about where they want to go with this.
    Personally I think Hamilton’s claim is far, far stronger too. FIA have already admitted Masi made a ‘mistake’. Since there is no precedent on cancelling an entire race (which some people seem to think would be the automatic option: if there is no precedent, I don’t see why) then FIA could well rule that race positions prior to Masi’s intervention should count, effectively finishing the race under SC or red flag conditions (enough of the race was completed to count as a full race).
    Hopefully none of this happens.

    1. The bit about annulling the whole AD2021 race came from Mercedes themselves – it was part of their (public) reasoning for dropping their case. The argument was that, since the rules do not allow for a race result to be declared from a prior lap (except for in certain specified scenarios such as when the chequered flag is waved early), the only remedy available if they’d won their case would be for the whole race to be annulled due to the incorrect handling of the safety car unlapping procedure. In that situation Verstappen would have been champion anyway, so there was nothing “judicial” that could be done to deliver Hamilton the title.

      As it happens, I think they were wrong about that (Canada 1995 is an example of a race that was declared a lap early in circumstances outside the explicit provisions in the rules), but it was nonetheless the reason they publicly gave.

      However none of this changes the fact that Mercedes had their opportunity to challenge the result at the time, and were unsuccessful. Massa’s case is different – he is arguing that he was denied his opportunity to challenge the result at the time because of information that was deliberately withheld from him by the FIA and FOM – and who knows what the ruling would have been had the full facts been available. The situations are not really analogous, though I can see why the question is being asked.

      1. @red-andy Like I said, I’d rather not see any such litigation, from Massa or Hamilton/Mercedes. Irrespective of Mercedes’ argument at the time, I think, like you’ve said yourself, there’s actually more precedent for declaring the Abu Dhabi 2021 race was completed prior to the Masi-inspired restart. In such a case, the race and thus championship winner is clear: Hamilton. And it was also effectively the end of the season.
        As I’ve said before, Massa’s claim is slippery because it’s based on a double claim: first, that he was ‘winning’ the 2008 Singapore GP when Piquet crashed and thus ‘deprived’ him of a race win and the additional points over Hamilton. That’s a ‘moral victor’ claim. It’s 100% invalid. Being ahead 1/5 into a race isn’t a guarantee of anything, as anyone following Formula 1 or any other sport knows. But the second claim is that if the race had been annulled at the end of the season – for which there is zero precedent – then he’d have had more points than Hamilton and would therefore have been champion. That ignores the injustice that cancelling a race would have for all the other drivers and teams involved, who raced the remainder of the season based on the results of the Singapore race. So I don’t think Massa has any claim either in terms of precedent or in terms of justice. He was no more prejudicated than any other non-Renault driver.

      2. Andy: “Canada 1995 is an example of a race that was declared a lap early in circumstances outside the explicit provisions in the rules”

        I had to look that up to see why. It was the crowd invasion of the track. Whilst I can remember watching it, I cannot remember the crowd invasion, probably because it didn’t affect the results and everyone was happy with the countback. Was it in F1 where a celebrity got to wave the chequered flag and immediately started waving it one lap early? And does anyone remember a wet race, many years ago, where I think it was a Senna Prost duel but I cannot remember which way round it was. I think one of them had a big lead, but the other was reeling them in hand over fist, and the lead driver was signalling to the marshalls that the rain was too heavy. Controversially the race was stopped just before the lead driver was caught by the pursuer.

        1. Monaco ’84 is the race you’re thinking of. Prost’s pal Jacky Ickx was the one who decided to call off the race after Prost’s gesticulations. Both Prost and Senna were also being caught by Stefan Bellof, who might have won that day (although it would have counted for nothing as his team were later retrospectively excluded from the entire championship).

          1. Monaco 1984? Now I feel reallly old!

        2. I also remembered that race at monaco 1984, however it’s not a given senna would’ve passed prost, just because of the track they were at ofc, and so prost might have lost the title there, asking for the race to be stopped, so that it only gave half points, and he ended up behind by half a point.

          I’m pretty sure the celebrity waving the flag early was a recent event, one of the last few years, and was a woman, I just can’t remember which race it was, was definitely f1 though since you had that doubt.

          1. Regarding the celeb waving the flag early a few years ago, thankfully it didn’t affect the result but you have to wonder what they would have done had it affected the result. Common sense should be but often isn’t with the FIA.

            If I remember correctly they did still run the true final lap but the race was taken to have ended the lap before

          2. After a bit of Googling, I discovered the flag waver I was remembering was Pele at the Brazilian GP, 2002. There I go feeling old again. I also discovered it had happened more recently, China 2014 when an official waved it by accident two laps early, and 2018 Canada when someone called Winnie Harlow waved it one lap early but she said she was told to wave it then by the official in charge. After that they changed it to say the flag is now symbolic, and the real end of race indicator is an electronic sign, but in Japan 2019 the official controlling the sign also got that wrong and set it off one lap too soon.

        3. I have a “canada” feeling, with vettel winning!

        4. And from what I recall, if it’s canada and vettel won it has to be 2018, he didn’t win any more after that.

    2. This makes sense actually. There was an admission of a mistake, and without the mistake the race would have finished behind safety car. Meaning no positions could be changed, reversing the mistake to reinstate the position during safety car and Lewis would be world championship.

      It’s too logical though. Maybe it was a good thing mercedes dropped it but also someone needs to allow masi to speak on why he did what he did. Very out of place going by past precident both himself and previous race director and also not in line with the rules. So what then brought him to go against all that?

      Not to mention, whoever said he was under pressure, somehow doesn’t realise that’s what rules and protocols are for, to simplify and avoid scenarios where a person has to come up with their own solutions. Especially in high pressure of high stress situations

      Again this only points to the very odd nature of his calls in those last laps and he is yet to speak on it so we don’t even know why he did.

      Perhaps a case would allow him.to open up honestly without intervention that has been keeping him unable to speak.

      Maybe it’s benign maybe there’s much more to it but why else would he be silenced. Can only wonder if it’s a truth that would shake the sport or a truth simply confirms him unfit for F1 race directing.

      Regardless I hope he is well and one way or another the truth does eventually come forth.

      1. @ Yellow Baron I think Masi gave away the reason in his outburst to Wolff: “it’s called racing!”
        That showed that the priority wasn’t following the regulations but enabling (orchestrating) a ‘showdown’ in the final laps, whatever the regulations said. That idea is further substantiated by the way Masi shuffled the drivers only enough to ensure Verstappen and Hamilton were at the front – the order of the other drivers was ‘irrelevant.’ But the rules apply to the entire grid, all the teams and drivers. So Masi effectively, in making that decision, acted as though it was a race between the two drivers in the ‘title showdown.’
        Personally, that’s why I think the last laps were fatally compromised. Like you’re suggesting, the big question was whether Masi was acting alone or whether he was being pressed by someone else (besides Red Bull) to restart the race, whatever the rules. I know what I think was most likely given the commercial interests involved.

  16. Remember, this is based on something Bernie is supposed to have said, and if true, it could mean they had an inkling but no hard evidence, no whistleblower willing to make a sworn statement. If that is the case, how can you expect the FIA to disqualify a team or cancel the race based on heresay and rumour? Massa is accusing the FIA of acting improperly, but he isn’t making it clear how this could be the case.

    “F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone claimed the FIA knew before the end of the 2008 season that the race had been manipulated by winners Renault”

    The key phrase here is the claim they knew of the cheating “before the end of the season”. That is not the same as saying it was during the race itself or before the start of the next race. Once the next race has started, you cannot change the results of previous races because races do not exist in isolation from each other. As in any sport, the way a competitor competes is influenced by the number of points they and their competitors have at that time, by how many races are left, etc. If a football match ends in a two two draw, you cannot then cancel one of the goals the following day and award a win because a new TV angle finds a clear handball. You cannot have lawyers in court arguing about the way a competitor MIGHT have played if a decision during the match had been different.

    For this same reason, if a driver or team is excluded retrospectively, after the next race is started, this does not affect the points or positions scored by the other drivers, and there is clear precendent for this. Go look at the stats for the 1997 season where Schumacher was disqualified retrospectively from the whole season for his last race collision with Villeneuve. There were no changes at all to the points scored by any other driver. No one who had finished second to Schumacher was retrospectively credited with race wins.

    The same would apply to 2008. If, (and it is a big if), if the FIA really knew that Renault had cheated, they would have had the option of disqualifying Renault retrospecively, but it would not have changed the points scored by Hamilton or Massa.

    In Massa’s case, the cheating didn’t even affect him directly, and wasn’t designed to help his competitor in any way. It is no different to a Renault crashing naturally, or rainfall forcing a flurry of pitstops, or a monitor lizard running across the track and causing a driver to surf on the back of it into a barrier. All are just situations that teams and drivers have to react to. It is always the case that some drivers are luckier than others with the timing of these events, or getting caught up in crashes that just were not their fault. Massa and Ferrari showed they just couldn’t handle that situation, and catastrophically screwed up. Massa bleating boo hoo it wasn’t my fault just doesn’t change the fact that they didn’t have the mental toughness to cope with the pressure needed to be world champions.

    1. +1 Massa also span later in the race and Raikkonen crashed out. It’s not as though they needed help from Piquet Jr to mess up. I really can’t see how FIA or any adjudicator would or could decide that the entire race should be eliminated from the history books. Like you said, all the precedents indicate the opposite. And if it got that far, surely precedent would dictate any decision. But most of all, there’s no evidence apart from an Ecclestone remark now retracted.

    2. Remember, this is based on something Bernie is supposed to have said, and if true,

      If true, it might well be a rather lonely statement.

  17. Except in Massa’s case, there now appears to be a clear conspiracy between three British citizens at the head of the two respective organizations in control of the sport, and the nett result that a British driver won instead of Massa … something that wouldn’t have happened if the correct procedures had been followed & the results from the fixed race result removed from the championship.
    In the 2021 season, Massi followed the rules and used the authority bestowed on him to make decisions in real time.
    Not even close to the same scenario.

    1. Except entire races aren’t wiped off the record because one driver or team cheated. It’s never happened. Ever. I’m not sure why this idea has gained any traction. And without that possibility, Massa can’t be made to ‘win’ 2008 however you mess around with the numbers. It’s more likely three British citizens were protecting the sport and their interests in it rather than Hamilton. Especially if you look at how FIA decisions over the season – like Spa – went against Hamilton.
      In Masi’s case, FIA subsequently agreed that he’d made multiple mistakes and didn’t follow the rules, but that it was in ‘good faith’ and a ‘human error.’ So your statement is factually incorrect.

    2. how far from reality can ones view be?

  18. The people that so desperately want Massa’s case to result in the 2008 title changing hands also just happen to be same people who believe 2021 is “done and dusted” and must never be revisited.
    Wonder why?

    That aside, on 2008: If Massa succeeds, and Renault get disqualified from the race for cheating, that doesn’t affect the other drivers, including Hamilton, who actually moves up a position since Alonso would be DSQ, so how is Massa seeing the title changing hands?

  19. Has Herr Wolff checked to ensure that precedent applies in civil cases? (which it doesn’t)

    Thought not. Just getting desperate for some publicity probably.

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