Nelson Piquet Jr has pushed back at growing criticism over his role in the 2008 ‘crashgate’ incident that is believed to have cost Felipe Massa that year’s Drivers’ title.
The renewed focus over the controversial moment comes after Massa claimed he was considering his legal options over the result of that year’s campaign.
Massa’s reported interest in challenging the title in court follows claims from ex-Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone that he and then-FIA president Max Mosley knew Renault ordered Piquet Jr to crash, triggering a safety car and helping teammate Fernando Alonso pick up the win at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.
A shot at a podium ended in a pointless race for Massa because of the incident, while Lewis Hamilton, who would eventually win the Drivers’ Championship, picked up a valuable top three finish.
Explaining the incident, Piquet Jr has defended the role he played, arguing that he was a victim of “bullying” by senior management.
“They didn’t care and treated me like a dog,” Piquet Jr said, discussing his team’s leadership during the saga.
“It was a team order to help someone in our team, it wasn’t to hinder Felipe, it wasn’t like that.
“We didn’t know what was going to happen and Felipe could very well have won that race if the [bad] pitstop didn’t happen.”
The 2008 championship would ultimately come down to the final race of the season, with Hamilton securing the title by one point with a last lap of the season overtake.