Toto Wolff says Mercedes is looking at Felipe Massa’s 2008 championship case “with interest”, because it “will certainly set a precedent” that could affect the 2021 championship.
Felipe Massa’s case to change the results of the 2008 championship, due to the ‘crashgate’ incident that happened at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, is all over the F1 news media.
The fact that Massa made it clear that his mission is to be awarded the 2008 championship, which means Lewis Hamilton would in that case have to lose it, made a lot of people think about the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where Hamilton lost the 2021 title under controversial circumstances.
Ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said that the civil case that Massa is planning to launch, could affect what Mercedes does about Abu Dhabi.
“Well, [it’s] interesting to follow,” the Austrian said.
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“Clearly, not something that anybody saw coming. The rules are pretty clear in Formula 1.
“It’s a civil case behind it, it will certainly set a precedent, whatever it is. We’re looking from the sidelines with curiosity.
“The FIA commented on the 2021 race [the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix] with a clear statement, so that’s why we’re looking at it with interest,” Wolff concluded.
While the development of Massa’s case could certainly affect what happens regarding the 2021 title, it’s important to note that what happened in Abu Dhabi more directly affected the outcome of the 2021 championship, than Singapore did in 2008.
Nelson Piquet Jr. crash in Singapore was a deliberate move designed to help his team-mate Fernando Alonso win the race, and every other driver was a victim. Every driver on the grid was put in the same situation and they had to cope with it the best they could.
Ferrari at that point made a pit stop error which cost their driver several positions, while Lewis Hamilton and McLaren did everything right, and ultimately bested their rivals.
Lewis did not benefit from Piquet’s move, nor was the move designed to help him, he was in the same position as every other driver on the grid (except Alonso).
Now, in Abu Dhabi, the race director made a series of decision that directly benefitted Max Verstappen. Whether this was deliberate or not, nobody can claim with 100% certainty, but there’s no doubt that the rules were broken in exactly the right way so that only Verstappen could come out on top.
In Singapore, Lewis was just a bystander, while in Abu Dhabi Verstappen was a direct beneficiary of the illegitimate decisions made by the race director.
So, the situation in Singapore actually doesn’t have anything to do with Lewis. To question his title win on the grounds of a different driver doing something to benefit his team-mate, is completely ludicrous.