Wolff watching Massa 2008 F1 title case ‘with curiosity’
By Mat Coch
Saturday 16th September, 2023 - 1:06am
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is a curious observer as Felipe Massa works to be crowned 2008 Formula 1 world champion.
The Brazilian narrowly lost the title that year to Lewis Hamilton, though argues the race-fixing saga from that year’s Singapore Grand Prix should mean he is the rightful title winner.
Nelson Piquet crashed out of the inaugural Marina Bay race at the request of then-Renault boss Flavio Briatore, allowing team-mate Fernando Alonso to benefit from the resulting Safety Car and win the race.
That was only revealed well after the fact, when Piquet finally went public, the fallout from which saw Briatore and technical director Pat Symonds banned from the sport for a period, though Alonso and Renault kept the race win.
Ex-F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has since revealed that he was aware of the situation before it became public, and certainly before the end of the 2008 season – as was then-FIA president Max Mosley.
Massa argues their knowledge should have triggered action at the time.
The Brazilian is now pursuing the matter through the British court system.
Should that race be stricken from the record, Massa would be the 2008 world championship.
“Well… interesting,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.
“Interesting to follow. Clearly not something that anyone saw coming.
“The rules are pretty clear in Formula 1. There’s a civil case behind it. It will certainly set a precedent, whatever it is.
“We’re looking from the sidelines with curiosity.”
Hamilton won the 2008 title while driving for McLaren, his sole success with the squad before switching to Mercedes for the 2013 season.
Wolff’s curiosity has been piqued due to the potential impact Massa’s endeavours have on the contentious 2021 season, which saw Max Verstappen seal the world championship from Hamilton.
“The FIA commented on the 2021 race with a clear statement. So that’s why we’re looking at it with interest,” Wolff noted.
At the time, Mercedes protested the result of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, though that was dismissed.
Hamilton and Verstappen entered the final round of the 2021 championship level on 369.5 points– the Red Bull driver ahead on countback.