Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has acknowledged that his team is closely monitoring Felipe Massa’s legal efforts to overturn the outcome of the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship.
The championship, in which Lewis Hamilton narrowly defeated Massa by a single point while driving for McLaren, has been mired in controversy due to events at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.
During that historic night race, Fernando Alonso secured victory for Renault in what later became known as the ‘Crashgate’ scandal.
Team officials allegedly instructed Alonso’s teammate, Nelson Piquet Jr., to deliberately crash, thereby triggering the deployment of the Safety Car at a strategically advantageous moment for Alonso.
The controversy deepened when it was revealed that individuals like Bernie Ecclestone and former FIA president Max Mosley had prior knowledge of the conspiracy but kept it hidden until Piquet Jr. went public in 2009.
Massa, concerned about the lack of transparency, initiated legal proceedings upon learning of Ecclestone’s alleged involvement earlier this year.
In response to questions about the matter during Friday’s Singapore Press Conference, Toto Wolff described it as “interesting to follow” and noted its unexpected nature within Formula 1.
He emphasised the clarity of the sport’s rules and speculated on the potential impact of any civil case that might arise from Massa’s challenge.
Wolff stated, “Is there a civil case behind it?
“It will certainly set a precedent, whatever it is.
“Yeah, we’re looking from the sidelines with curiosity.”
The curiosity surrounding Wolff’s interest in Massa’s case led to inquiries about Mercedes’ role in the controversy surrounding the 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi.
Wolff clarified Mercedes’ stance, referring to the FIA’s previous comments on the 2021 race.
“The FIA commented on the 2021 race with a clear statement,” Wolff said.
“So that’s why we’re looking at it with interest.”
Lewis Hamilton, the current Mercedes driver and seven-time Formula 1 champion, was also asked about Massa’s legal challenge during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend.
Hamilton emphasised his preference for focusing on the present rather than dwelling on past controversies.
“If that’s the direction that Felipe wants to go, that’s his decision,” Hamilton responded.
“I prefer not to focus on the past.
|Whether it’s 15 years ago, two years ago, or three days ago.
“I’m only interested in the present, and my focus is on helping my team this week.”