The chances of Lewis Hamilton losing the 2008 Drivers’ Championship to Felipe Massa appear to have increased somewhat, after ex-FIA president Jean Todt insisted that the Singapore Grand Prix from that year was “rigged” and should be “cancelled”.
Massa is currently taking legal action against Formula 1 and the FIA, after it was discovered that ex-F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone and former FIA president Max Mosley knew about ‘Crashgate’ when it happened but stayed silent to protect the sport.
Renault’s illegal actions weren’t announced to the world until 2009, with Massa having been told that it was too late for the results to be altered.
The ex-Ferrari driver accepted it at the time, only to initiate legal action earlier this year after Ecclestone revealed that himself and Moxley knew what Renault had done at the time.
Massa wants the 2008 Singapore GP to be cancelled as a result, something which would crown him as the World Champion from that season.
A Letter Before Claim was sent to F1 and the FIA in August, with the governing body having been given until mid-November to conduct an internal investigation into the matter.
With that final deadline having passed, it’s expected to be announced later this month whether the case will go to court.
Some have accused Massa of bringing up the actions of 15 years ago purely for his financial benefit, an accusation which has been denied by one of the Brazilian’s lawyers, Bernardo Viana.
Viana has stressed that the legal action being taken is just to “bring the trophy home”, with him feeling “quite confident” that Hamilton will be stripped of the title.
“The objective is to bring the trophy home. It’s not financial,” Viana told Motorsport.com. “To get there, several measures will be taken with different aims, some to obtain information and others to obtain statements. We want everything that happened in 2008/09 to come to light.
“We are quite confident in the evidence we have, without prejudice to the additional ones we are looking for, and without prejudice to everything that will come to light. We understand that there is even more information that has not been made public.”
Whilst Todt didn’t become FIA president until 2009, he believes that more should’ve been done by F1 when ‘Crashgate’ came to light.
He admits that the race was undoubtedly “rigged” and that the results should be “cancelled”, suggesting that Massa’s legal action is correct.
“I won’t get into the controversy, but it was very hard for him psychologically,” Todt told Italian newspaper La Stampa.
“Maybe we could have been tougher when the story became known, but there is no doubt that the Singapore Grand Prix was rigged, and should have been cancelled.”