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Crashgate: The 2008 Controversy That Has Been Reignited by Felipe Massa to Seek ‘Justice’

Aishwary Gaonkar

Crashgate: The 2008 Controversy That Has Been Reignited by Felipe Massa to Seek 'Justice'

The 2008 Crashgate controversy undoubtedly is one of the biggest contentious moments in F1 history to date. Despite 15 years having passed since the alleged race-fixing scandal at the 2008 Singapore GP, the incident is back in the spotlight courtesy of Felipe Massa. The former Ferrari driver lost the championship due to the events of the inaugural F1 race in Singapore. Now, Massa seeks to reverse that and has filed a lawsuit against F1, the FIA, and then F1 honcho Bernie Ecclestone. So, what happened in Singapore in 2008?

The 2008 Singapore GP was a crucial race in the season as Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton were in the midst of a close title fight. During that race, the Brazilian driver had a very awful pitstop during the first safety car of the Grand Prix. According to ESPN, this safety car came out because of Renault driver Nelson Piquet Jr.’s deliberate crash on Lap 14.

Due to this incident and the resultant botched pitstop for Massa, Piquet Jr’s teammate, Fernando Alonso, later got the lead in the race. Meanwhile, Massa dropped out of the points, which severely affected his championship challenge. In 2009, Piquet Jr. confessed to crashing deliberately because of the orders he received from the Renault team.

This resulted in Renault boss Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds facing a ban from all F1 and FIA events. Briatore faced an indefinite ban, while Symonds faced five years. However, the FIA did not cancel or change the results of the 2008 Singapore GP.

Why is Felipe Massa hoping for a reversal of the 2008 Singapore GP result?

Bernie Ecclestone recently revealed that had they canceled the 2008 Singapore GP results, Felipe Massa could have been the world champion and not Lewis Hamilton. The Brazilian is now looking to appeal for the same. Massa has put together a legal team to call for the cancellation of that race result and crown him as the 2008 champion.

If we look back at the events of the inaugural race in Singapore, Massa was leading the Grand Prix until lap 14 when a safety car came out due to Piquet Jr’s crash. Had Piquet Jr not crashed deliberately, the botched-up pitstop by Ferrari may not have happened.

It was a chain reaction of events that despite being revealed a year later was not acted upon by F1 and the FIA. Thus, the Brazilian feels that despite 15 years having passed since the infamous 2008 Crashgate incident, he wants to fight the legal battle to receive justice.

If the FIA does indeed end up canceling the race result, Hamilton’s points for P3 (6 points as per the old system) won’t count towards his tally. Thus, Massa, who lost the 2008 championship by only one point, will claim the championship.

From a sporting sense, it is quite baffling to overturn a championship result 15 years later. However, that is what Massa wants. So, given he has now filed a lawsuit against F1, the FIA, and Ecclestone, Hamilton is at risk of losing his maiden world title if the 42-year-old does end up winning the case.

Post Edited By:Vidit Dhawan

About the author

Aishwary Gaonkar

Aishwary Gaonkar


Aishwary Gaonkar is the F1 Editor at The SportsRush. Having written over 757 articles about different aspects of the sport, Aishwary passionately likes to dive deep into the intricacies of the on-track events. He has been an avid F1 fan since the 2011 season, amid Sebastian Vettel's dominance. Besides the 4-time champion, he also likes Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. Among the current drivers, he thinks Charles Leclerc and Oscar Piastri have championship-winning caliber. Longing for a Ferrari world championship, Aishwary is also a fan of Aston Martin's underdog story and their bid to win the F1 championship. Other than F1, he follows tennis and cricket too.

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