Todt agrees 2008 Singapore GP result should have been cancelled over ‘Crashgate’

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In the round-up: Jean Todt, who was formerly a president of the FIA and team principal at Ferrari, has endorsed Felipe Massa’s call for the result of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix to be cancelled.

In brief

Former FIA president agrees Singapore GP result should have been cancelled

Massa is mounting a legal bid to have the result of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix cancelled as he believes the FIA failed to take action when it first learned of the ‘Crashgate’ conspiracy. Renault had instructed Nelson Piquet Jnr to crash during the race in order to help his team mate Fernando Alonso win.

Todt stood down from his role in charge of Ferrari at the end of 2007 and became FIA president three years later, after his predecessor Max Mosley oversaw the governing body’s response to the Crashgate affair. He told La Stampa he does not wish to be drawn into the controversy around the case but acknowledged the episode was “very hard for [Massa] psychologically.”

“Maybe we could have been tougher when this story became known,” Todt continued. “There is no doubt that the Singapore Grand Prix was rigged and should have been cancelled.”

Schumacher drives 2023 Mercedes in Magny-Cours test

A contemporary Formula 1 car has run once more at Magny-Cours, which hosted the French Grand Prix from 1991 to 2008. The track is hosting a Pirelli tyre development test.

Mick Schumacher is conducting the test at the wheel of Mercedes’ 2023 F1 car. He navigated a low-grip track due to cold temperatures and rain to complete 90 laps.

The bad weather did not prove detrimental for the test, since Pirelli had brought several different prototypes of intermediate and wet compound tyres to be used. Schumacher’s fastest lap on intermediate tyres was a 1’35.542, and his fastest on wet compound tyres was 1’41.962 on the full wet. It is set to be dry but cloudy on the second day of the test today.

Piastri: “At McLaren, we are encouraged to question the team”

Oscar Piastri shed light on how he and team mate Lando Norris are encouraged to challenge McLaren’s decision-making during races – but not excessively. “I’m a pretty reserved guy ad I think it kind of comes across in my radio messages all the time,” he told the Eff Won podcast.

“For us at McLaren, we actually are encouraged to question the team. But once [only in each instance]. And then once we’ve got the next message on what the plan is – sometimes that’s the same message, which you respect, but sometimes they will see it from a different perspective if you can give them a reason that maybe they haven’t thought of. That’s what these conversations are for.

“If you’re the driver behind, you’re always going to want to be let past because having clean air is always beneficial. It always goes two ways. Sometimes it might seem like there’s tension in there, but it’s the kind of conversation that helps us move forward together and see things from different perspectives.”

Campos sign Goethe for 2024 FIA F3 Championship

New Red Bull junior team member Oliver Goethe will be part of Campos Racing’s line-up in the 2024 FIA Formula 3 Championship.

The 19-year-old dominated in Euroformula last year, then moved to FIA F3 with Campos, contesting two rounds of the 2022 season. He spent the 2023 campaign with Trident and took one win and one pole en route to eighth in the standings.

Goethe reunited with Campos for the FIA F3 World Cup-awarding Macau Grand Prix, finishing ninth, and is the team’s first confirmed signing for the 2024 season.

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Comment of the day

Those criticising Sergio Perez’s performances at Red Bull should remember the circumstances under which he joined the team to begin with after being dropped by Racing Point and hired as a replacement for Alexander Albon, says Alboreto:

Perez was never signed to compete against Verstappen. He was out of a drive before Red Bull signed him, arguably harsh but he wasn’t brilliant enough to have a guaranteed seat to begin with.

So the comparison to a 25-year-old who is arguably the best driver on the grid at this point in time is a bit unfair. The real question should be how good a number two driver is he and is he doing enough?

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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57 comments on “Todt agrees 2008 Singapore GP result should have been cancelled over ‘Crashgate’”

  1. It just makes no sense. If a competitor cheats they should be disqualified. On what basis do you annul an event unless maybe the manipulation comes from race control? There’s no precedent. Teams have cheated all the time.

    1. Like it or not, Renault were already punished for their role in Crashgate. That’s not the wrong Massa is seeking to right here. It’s the alleged cover-up by the FIA and FOM that is the target of Massa’s lawsuit, and one potential remedy for that would be the annulment of the event, on the basis it was improperly governed. I still think monetary compensation is more likely though.

      1. But if it is true that Nelson Piquet told Charlie Whiting about Crashgate in Brazil, what does this cover up have to do with Felipe Massa? Shouldn’t Rosberg get compensation for his lost win, even though he inadvertently benefited from Crashgate? Or Hamilton should get compensation for his seven point lead in Brazil not being a nine point lead. Massa only wins out of this if the race is annulled, or if the result is taken to the lap before the crash. Funny that these are the two suggestions he has come up with. Because they both win him the title, but they are both totally made up rules which have no precedent in history.

        1. I think that’s pretty much the point Massa and his advocates will bring forward. That it’s almost impossible to find a fair and just outcome and therefore the race has to be declared null. Rosberg never would have been in second position, nor would Hamilton have ended up behind a Renault and a Williams and there’s no way that both Ferrari’s race would be destroyed.
          The interference was just so big that the results of the complete event were put upside down.
          It’s just a complete mess (why on earth did they have to implement these stupid safety car rules with the pitlane closed) and with first Ecclestone and now Todt saying that the results should not count the ex-officials just poor oil into the fire.

          1. It’s just a complete mess (why on earth did they have to implement these stupid safety car rules with the pitlane closed)

            Exactly, the problem is that every safety car totally jumbled the order randomly because of this utterly ludicrous rule which inexplicably is still used in IndyCar. This particular safety car was brought about by Renault to rig the race to benefit Fernando Alonso, so he should have been disqualified from the race. For every other car in the race, it was just a random safety car like any other and should be treated as such. Rosberg and the Red Bulls got lucky (although I am pretty sure anybody could have used Rosberg’s strategy) just as Nelson Piquet Jr got lucky in Hockenheim. Robert Kubica got unlucky. Felipe Massa had no good or bad luck as a result of that safety car, but then Ferrari messed up his pitstop totally independently of Crashgate.

      2. But there was no cover-up. The best comment is still from Whiting, who said, paraphrased, “Yes, we knew it smelled fishy, but we had no evidence, and without evidence, we couldn’t investigate”.

        There’s still nothing I’m seeing that indicates anything other than Renault should have been DQ’d from the 2008 championship. And I’m not sure that helps Massa.

    2. Todt is just saying what Massa wants to hear knowing the result won’t change because they are friends.

    3. The allegation is that part of the manipulation came from the FIA (because if Massa’s line of argument is judged true, then the attempt to cheat could have been stopped before the race even started), thus the FIA should not be rewarded for its part in the matter.

      Of course, a court would need to judge who knew what and when before deciding what (if any) changes should be done to resolve the matter.

  2. Silent but Deadly
    6th December 2023, 0:33

    Here’s an idea that will be popular around here – take away the title from whoever it was that won it that year, and give it to Verstappen.

    1. Add to the bargain the other six and it’s a deal

      1. Silent but Deadly
        6th December 2023, 2:31

        Hey, let’s just give him all the other titles too, from 1950 to, let’s say, 2099. In fact, why stop at F1?

        1. The only fair thing to do would be to go through F1 history and every time somebody cheats in any race, award that entire championship to Felipe Massa. It’s for the children.

          1. That last line. Hilarious!

  3. I would have no problem if they crown Felipe 2008 champion and he shares it with Lewis. They both deserved it that year.

    Same goes for the controversial 2021 ending. Lewis and Max sharing the 2021 trophy would be very fitting.

    1. Disagree: wasn’t kubica driving better than both massa and hamilton in 2008, but his car stopped development? 2008 was actually a bad season for both massa and hamilton, full of mistakes, but if any of the 2 deserves the title more it’s massa, since he had awful luck with reliability and the likes.

      2021 very clearly verstappen drove better and got the brunt of the bad luck, there’s no reason to go look for a 2nd champion for 2021 and borderline for 2008.

      1. It seemed like that, but they didn’t stop, it just went wrong. Like Ferrari in 2018.

        Dr. Theissen talked about this at some length on the Beyond the Grid podcast.

      2. Yes. Hamilton is amazing, but he wasn’t even that great in 2008. Heikki was matching Lewis through the first half of the season, but kept having hilariously bad luck (car dying in Monaco while qualified ahead before the race, a wheel bearing failure in Spain, terrible SC timing in Australia and so on). Later on, he looked like Perez vs Max in the pairing though.

        2008 was also one of the most boring seasons ever. I just rewatched the first five races yesterday and there was not a SINGLE pass for a podium position during the races besides the lap 1, turn 1 launch. The aero disturbance was just awful. You had to be like 10 seconds a lap faster to get a pass done.

    2. notagrumpyfan
      6th December 2023, 9:26

      Why stop there? Give it to all drivers.
      They all try hard, and it’s not their fault that their car is slower or less reliable.

      I know they cannot give them all those big trophies, but I’m sure smiley face stickers will do as well.

    3. Participation trophies!

      Trophies for all!

      It’s not a championship, it’s a BEST EFFORT!!!

      MASSA LOST. He lost the championship in Singapore, he lost in Silverstone, he should have lost in Spa. They both had crappy seasons, but Hamilton had a slightly less crappy season, so he won. Full stop.


  4. “There is no doubt that the Singapore Grand Prix was rigged and should have been cancelled.”

    Team orders are responsible for “rigged” race results regularly in F1 – and many other series too. This was nothing special.
    It is cheating every single time according to F1’s sporting regulations, just never treated as something worthy of being punished – an agreed application of the rule rather than the wording of the rule.

    Until the championship comes down to a close finish… Then people start to get upset.

  5. Jean Todt was still CEO of Ferrari in 2008 so what else would he say? All this talk of retrospective annulment of a race is pointless. Sport is dynamic, and no-one can know what the other drivers might have done in the remaining three races had the race result been changed at the time. It wasn’t. The contest moves on. Massa, apparently, does not.

    1. Jean Todt was still CEO of Ferrari in 2008 so what else would he say?

      If he was honest, I suppose he could say “Felipe we as a team screwed up and took your chance of a WDC title from you, so here’s some monetary compensation”
      Of course, they would then need to examine a few other seasons where their leading driver didn’t get the best of service (and the other driver barely got scraps from the table)

      But, hey, why not blame the other guy(s)

  6. Throughout history, there’s been a litany of incidents in sport that perhaps “should” have been handled differently.

    They weren’t – it’s time to move on from rehashing this.

    1. It’s not time to move on at all, the court will decide that.

    2. Absolutely, the can of worms would be astronomical. Rewriting history would be like 1984.

      1. Rewriting history would be like 1984.

        Yeah they should have restarted in Monaco. Let’s get the old turbo cars out and sort that one first.

    3. notagrumpyfan
      6th December 2023, 9:51

      There was a great overview by one commenter (racingmallard?or red????) who listed many of those instances and the possible consequences.
      Can somebody find and share the link to that comment? (It would be good if the search function on this site also includes the comments)

    4. And it is ironic that this can of worms is being threatened to be opened not by one of the many genuine injustices in F1 history like 2021 or 1994, but by an incident that had nothing to do with the title contenders, and changes the outcome of the championship only if one of two totally made up (by Felipe Massa as they would benefit him) rules are applied.

  7. Coventry Climax
    6th December 2023, 2:20

    The CotD seem to forget it was Perez himself who thought to be a title contender.
    If you claim to fight in that league, you’ll be judged by that league’s standards.

    But -for a second- let’s assume that he was there fully knowing he had to fullfill the no.2 position only.
    Then why all the pressure he put on himself, with the resulting mistakes? And even for a no. 2, his results are rather poor still, given the car’s capabilities. He was lucky, very lucky, that the opposition was battling amongst themselves, for otherwise, he would never have ended second in the championship.

  8. Well, BE & Max Mosley should’ve had courage to do that shortly afterwards.

    So Mercedes still hadn’t completed their filming day allocations for this year.

    1. notagrumpyfan
      6th December 2023, 9:59

      Well, BE & Max Mosley should’ve had courage to do that shortly afterwards.

      Even within the season that would not have been the right decision!
      They should’ve disqualified Alonso, and immediately punish Renault (withdraw from WCC that season).
      But don’t cancel the whole race and eliminate the efforts, racing, mistakes of the other drivers.
      There were better examples in F1 history where they could’ve (but still shouldn’t have) cancelled a race.

      1. The only reasonable example I can think of that a race should be “cancelled” would be Spa 2021 as no actual racing took place.

  9. “The penalty we had to give Sainz in Vegas, it felt wrong, it was wrong, we worked very hard for it not to happen but they’re the rules.”

    It felt wrong, it was wrong, so we did the wrong thing anyway… FIA has 2 jobs, make the sport safe, and make the sport fair… They monumentally failed on both accounts because they apparently couldn’t do anything about the rules they govern and adjudicate. Worked very hard indeed…

    1. FIA has 2 jobs, make the sport safe, and make the sport fair… They monumentally failed on both accounts

      The FIA adhered to the regulations currently in place. To ignore them would be the absolute epitome of failure.

      They (as a complete organisation) can change them for future seasons though – if, indeed, they feel that changing them is actually beneficial overall.

      As for Sainz’ penalty – it may have felt wrong, but there were also many very legitimate reasons why it was completely right.
      Classic ‘Heart Vs Head’ scenario.

    2. I agree completely that it was unjust for Sainz to receive a penalty given the circumstances.

      But I also sympathise with the stewards because there was no wiggle room in the rules for them not to give a penalty. Yes, they could have overlooked it, but of course a rival team would inevitably have protested their failure to apply the rules, because this is Formula 1.

      Whatever we think of the rules, they should be enforced as they are written, whether that means issuing a penalty under such unfortunate circumstances as these or, or (dare I say) concluding a race behind a Safety Car because there isn’t enough time to arrange for the lapped cars to unlap themselves. Whether those rules should now be changed is another debate.

      1. Coventry Climax
        6th December 2023, 11:29

        It’s made abundantly clear there wasn’t any wiggle room within the rules. That’s the part I understand.
        (But think is at fault nonetheless. FiA and rules; I think most here are aware of where I stand regarding the combination.)

        I would have sympathised with the stewards if they had only had the cojones to take the decision to not penalise Sainz, and had just faced the possibility of a storm that might or might not have been put up by any rival teams, taking the risk of showing the unsympathy of lacking any common sense in the process.

        Big difference between understanding and sympathising. Especially where doing the right thing is involved.

      2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        6th December 2023, 14:14

        @keithcollantine my issue is that they seem to change the rules whenever it suits them and they seem to have different rules for different drivers.

      3. Rules, intelligently applied, are what gave us the USGP 2005.


      4. I am reminded of George Orwell’s essay on Politics and the English Language.

        Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

        Perhaps F1 rules should have a similar qualifications.

      5. @keithcollantine The “wiggle room” in the regulations is in the International Sporting Code, specifically Article 11.9.3.g of Appendix O. It states (in a section labelled “Authority of the Stewards”):

        may decide to suspend any penalty in accordance with Article 12.2.3

        For anyone wondering, Article 12.2.3 does not currently exist, thus it is impossible for stewards to contradict it.

        I’m surprised Mr Warwick doesn’t know about the wiggle room because the same section gives the stewards the right to levy penalties in the first place. This is the equivalent of the “Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous” rule that @kcrossle requested. Certainly, the stewards in Las Vegas would have been expected to be thoroughly acquainted with the entirety of Article 11.9.3, because that is where their job is specified. To suddenly choose not to enforce the regulation in the most obvious applicable instance to apply it (i.e. where the FIA’s failures are the reason the penalty was being considered) comes across as refusing to apply the regulations as written, rather than the opposite that was apparently intended.

  10. This is going to be fun, sounds like Schumacher will soon be a 6 time champion after this too if they set this precedent. Perhaps Senna will get his fourth title too. This is going nowhere, the courts will be unable to change the results of the classification. This is about money.

  11. Oh here he comes, still trying to do anything so Hamilton loses another title so there is no chance of Hamilton beating his golden boy Schumacher, Todt was behind the rigged AD 21 result because he didn’t want Hamilton to beat Schumacher to 8 titles. They underfuled Checos car so it would stop out in track but they got lucky with another crash. Todts words were it’s not fair that the title should be beaten whilst Schumacher was ill? What the hell is that all about? Absolutely ridiculous comment but he made it happen and congratulated Masi on a good job after breaking the rules and getting sacked. Todt knows full well a race doesn’t get cancelled and the punishment for Renault was handed out in 2009! Like Ben S and Bernie Ecclestone all corrupt as they come and Massa is just paying lawyers for a pipe dream that will never happen.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      6th December 2023, 14:31

      Yeah, I can’t shake the feeling that Todt was instrumental in the whole 2021 season, not just Abu Dhabi. The whole season starting with Silverstone was ridiculous. Schumacher would have been banned from the championship if he drove like Verstappen.

      The other day in Vegas, Russell got penalized for being in Verstappen’s shoes at Silverstone. Now that they race in Vegas, they should probably use a slot machine to decide the penalties. It’d be a lot more consistent than the stewards.

      1. Todt made it clear he doesn’t want Schumachers 7 titles beaten, he can’t stop Hamilton forever though and these comments being a Ferrari guy are hilarious and shows his contempt over it, he knows full well the FIA don’t and won’t cancel a race because of one teams cheating. Massa dragging his fuel hose down the pit lane could have happened at anytime in a normal no cheating race, how about giving Hamiltons Spa win back? Corruption is rife and Ben S and Todt are bent as they come.

        1. Max didn’t miss the apex and understeer wide into George in Vegas so there is no comparison there to Silverstone ’21.
          George turning in from the outside and not leaving sufficient space on the inside was more like Lewis’ move in Qatar this year.
          You need to look at car positioning and space given before making biased claims like that.

  12. Coventry Climax
    6th December 2023, 11:35

    Todt is no FiA official anymore, is he? So he is free to speak his mind.

    It is however not very chique for him to criticise the decision taking , especially when he was responsibale for the decision making during the years he was at the helm.

    FiA and rules… again..

    1. Coventry Climax
      6th December 2023, 11:43

      G’s, sorry for the typo.

    2. CC, Todt went from Ferrari F1 Team Principal to Ferrari CEO to FIA role. I can’t remember the exact dates, but I have the feeling that Todt was CEO of Ferrari until the end of that season, and only took up the F1 position at the the start of the following year.

      1. Coventry Climax
        6th December 2023, 19:34

        Give the current upheaval with info leaked and shared interests, he should never have gotten that role in the first place, unless maybe after a 5 year distance from F1 period.
        Also look at the Sainz verdict. Nothing changed, regarding ridiculous rules, under his ‘reign’. And now he has a verdict? What a joker.

      2. Todt was Ferrari CEO until the beginning of 2009, and joined the FIA as President a year later.

  13. Coventry Climax
    6th December 2023, 11:41

    So Mercedes is given an advantage here, testing tyres? Or how is that conducted? They’re given tyres blind, unmarked, mixed with sets of existing compounds? Of which they already have all the data and are hence easily identified, if not just by the thread pattern the rain type tyres have?

    Unless the other teams get their chance too, and within the next couple of days in order to minimise the time advantage, it’s very clear to me what this is all about, and I’m not too sure tyre testing actually has a lot to do with it.

    1. if not just by the thread pattern the rain type tyres have?

      Tread pattern is no indicator. Only the compound and construction under it is modified, as the tread pattern itself is: A) perfectly suitable, and B) quite expensive to change, even if it were worth it. Which it currently isn’t.

      All the other teams won’t ‘get their chance’ in the next couple of days – tyre testing is conducted year-round and usually only by one or two teams at each test session. They all get roughly the same opportunities, just from different tests.
      As for the data itself – what is relevant will be shared with all the teams when Pirelli are ready.

      1. Coventry Climax
        6th December 2023, 19:37

        Sure. And Martians are green and existent.

        And the issues with full wets being completely unsuited for full wet conditions are a compound issue only? Dream on.

      2. Coventry Climax
        6th December 2023, 19:40

        Let’s just get back to simply not replying to each others posts, shall we? It’s better that way.
        I don’t even care to read yours anymore, I suggest you do the same with mine.

    2. So Mercedes is given an advantage here, testing tyres?

      Testing on a chassis which Merc won’t be using next year, as opposed to say Ferrari who stated that conceptual ideas from late this season will carry over, or Aston who have said much the same.

      I would guess that Pirelli are collecting data on the differences between each of their test builds, some of which will never see active use.
      Only Pirelli will know before any of the teams which builds they will use and which they will not.

      I suppose they could have chosen to have all the testing done by RBR, because with their “massively reduced wind tunnel time” they need some kind of assistance to scrape a consolation podium in 2024. Obviously.

      1. One might even argue Red Bull had the most consistent car and thus the best platform for testing SteveP :)

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