Akshita Patel

Why Is Mercedes “Curiously” Watching  Felipe Massa’s 2008 Title Case Proceedings?

Mercedes ace driver Lewis Hamilton’s maiden Formula One championship title is under scanner. Felipe Massa, former F1 driver, has initiated legal proceedings against F1 and FIA for allegedly covering up the infamous “Crashgate” scandal. The scandal refers to a major controversy that unfolded during the 2008 Formula 1 season and became public in 2009.

It revolved around allegations of race-fixing and cheating involving the Renault F1 team, specifically during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. Apparently, the incident robbed Massa of a championship as Lewis Hamilton, then driving for McLaren, gained a massive advantage in standings. Meanwhile, Mercedes is apparently keeping a close eye on the legal case with an interesting agenda.


Mercedes To Challenge 2021 Abu Dhabi GP’s Results?

Lewis Hamilton
Max Verstappen (R) and Lewis Hamilton on the podium after the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Sportskeeda

In 2008, Nelson Piquet Jr. of Renault deliberately crashed at the Singapore Grand Prix as per team instructions. It was an act to bring out the safety car, which would, in turn, benefit his teammate, Fernando Alonso. After the admission, an investigation was launched by FIA, and Renault’s managing director, Flavio Briatore, and executive director of engineering, Pat Symonds, were found to be involved in race manipulation. However, this incident ruined Ferrari driver Felipe Massa’s championship run. He was in the midst of a close battle with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton. However, due to the 2008 incident, Massa could not gain points, which elevated Hamilton’s lead. Years later, then F1 and FIA presidents Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley admitted to covering up the investigation to protect the integrity of the sport.

This confession promoted Felipe Massa to challenge the 2008 championship title results. He sued the sport’s governing bodies for injustice and deception. Amid this, Mercedes, who encountered a similar fate in 2021, is keeping a close eye on the legal proceedings. Lewis Hamilton missed out on a championship after a human error from the race director’s end led Max Verstappen to edge past the Briton in a controversial final lap shootout of Abu Dhabi GP 2021. Toto Wolff, the team principal, said that the case is interesting, and they are following it curiously. Further asked if the Silver Arrows are planning to pull off anything similar to challenge the 2021 outcome, Wolff responded, “The FIA commented on the 2021 race with a clear statement. So, that’s why we’re looking with interest.” If they end up initiating a legal case, it would shake up the F1 community and further intensify the Mercedes-Red Bull rivalry.

Lewis Hamilton Not Dwelling On The Past!

Lewis Hamilton
Credits: IMAGO / Thomas Melzer

Meanwhile, Mercedes ace Lewis Hamilton, whose maiden F1 title is under the scanner, is the least bothered by Felipe Massa’s legal case against F1 authorities. He said that he is not concerned about something that happened 15 years ago. He is not a person who dwells on the past. Hamilton added that if Massa feels going in that direction is the right choice, let him.

His focus right now is on Mercedes. “I’m trying to get our car and our team back to the top of the podium. So that’s what I put all my energy towards,” added Lewis Hamilton. Having said that, the outcome of Felipe Massa’s legal case could change the dynamics of the structural workings of Formula One. Interesting times ahead.