Four F1 insiders hit out at Massa’s $82m F1 crusade

Wed, 13 March 2024, 08:00

Mar.13 (GMM) Four well-known Formula 1 personalities have questioned whether Felipe Massa should be proceeding with a $82 million lawsuit against the 2008 ‘crashgate’ scandal.

The former Ferrari driver claims Renault’s orchestration of a deliberate crash perpetrated by Nelson Piquet jr in the 2008 Singapore GP ultimately cost him that year’s drivers’ title – Lewis Hamilton’s first of seven such triumphs.

“I hope he wins the case. So I get a chance as well,” Heinz-Harald Frentzen, a former F1 driver, said on X. “I think (Williams teammate) Jacques (Villeneuve) in 1997 was running illegal fuel.

“I am looking for a lawyer as well.”

Frentzen, now 56, clarified that he was joking.

“But to be serious this time,” he explained, “my opinion is that the sport we love is as good as it is designed to be. The traditional rules are that two hours after official results are confirmed there is no chance to appeal. For the sake of simplicity.

“F1 is here for entertainment – at least that was my job description when I entered a foreign country at customs.”

1996 world champion Damon Hill, another former Williams driver, also joked about the questionable approach of challenging a title result many years after the fact.

“Mate,” he told Frentzen on X, “if anyone tries to take Dad’s 1966 Indy away … I’ll sue them!” the British driver joked, referring to his father Graham.

Frentzen and Hill’s responses were triggered by a tweet made by former McLaren and Aston Martin communications boss Matt Bishop.

“I think they indicate first that Damon and Heinz-Harald are both good sports, which we already knew, and secondly that not many F1 insiders think Felipe Massa is wise to be doing what he’s doing.

“Ditto,” Bishop concluded.

Even Massa’s race engineer at the time, Rob Smedley, urges the Brazilian to let go of the past – agreeing with David Coulthard that the “racing gods decided on something else” in 2008.

“He’s one of my best mates,” he told the Formula For Success podcast, “and if he wants to pursue this whole thing then everybody should be free to do what they want.

“My opinion of it is I’m somebody who never looks back. My view is it would have been great to have won the 2008 world championship in 2008. We didn’t. Lewis won it. That’s racing,” Smedley added.

“You luck into some points that you shouldn’t have had and you get points nicked off you that you should have had as well. And I think that’s the whole point. It’s why it’s a 24-race world championship.”

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