F1 crash: Frederic Vasseur says it would be “strange” to change the title result for 2008

Nelson Piquet Jr on track at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix
Rookie driver Nelson Piquet Jr crashes his Renault on lap 15 of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, resulting in a safe car period

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur believes it would be “strange” to change the results of the 2008 World Championship after 15 years.

Ex-Ferrari driver Felipe Massa is taking legal action against the Formula 1 bosses and seeking compensation for the ‘collision gate’ scandal.

Massa’s lawyers claim he lost the title to Lewis Hamilton because of Renault The Singapore Grand Prix has been fixed.

Vasseur said it was a “difficult” subject, with “exceptional” circumstances.

He added, “I’m not a big fan of changing the score after 15 minutes of science (let alone 15 years).”

In a letter seen by Reuters, Massa’s legal team said it is seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages for what they claim was a “conspiracy” to deny him the 2008 title.

Massa’s actions stem from an interview with former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone earlier this year, in which he said he and then FIA president Max Mosley knew Nelson Piquet Jr’s Renault crash that turned the Singapore Grand Prix He deliberately nodded, but took no action.

Ecclestone told Reuters he did not remember saying what was attributed to him.

Piquet revealed during 2009 that his crash was intentional and his actions led to an investigation resulting in Renault Team Principal Flavio Briatore And technical chief Pat Symonds has been banned from F1 for a number of years. Both have since been allowed back into the ring.

Piquet’s crash triggered a safety car period that helped teammate Fernando Alonso jump to the front, and from there he went on to win, although a subsequent investigation found that Alonso was unaware of the plot.

Massa was leading the race, but mistakes made as he pitted under the safety car saw him leave the pits with the fuel hose still attached to his Ferrari, forcing his retirement. And the Brazilian lost to Hamilton in the championship in the last race of the season by one point.

Vasseur addressed a question about the situation at Tuesday’s press conference by drawing parallels with current attempts by stakeholders “to push the FIA ​​to see the outcome of the event on the checkered flag.”

Trust the FIA ​​on the cost cap

F1 returns from its summer break for the Dutch Grand Prix this week awaiting the results of the FIA’s investigation into whether any teams breached its cost cap last season.

Red Bull were penalized last year with a $7m (£5.49m) fine and a 10 per cent cut in permissible aerodynamics research when it was found they breached the cost cap for 2021 by $1.86m (£1.46m).

There has been speculation that at least two teams are breaching the cost cap for 2022 in one way or another, but the FIA ​​insisted before the summer break that investigations were far from over.

Vasseur who previously said Red Bull’s penalty last year was ‘too light’He said: “Do I have a concern? No, because I believe the FIA ​​made contact in July and made it clear that the results of the investigations would come by the beginning of September or something like that. It was a matter of weeks and the plan was the beginning of September.”

He added, “I am fully confident that they are doing their job and will produce results according to plan.”

Vasser is pleased to advance Ferrari

Laurent Mekies and Frederic Vasseur on the pit wall before qualifying for the Hungaroring in Budapest
Frederic Vasseur (R) is in his first season as Ferrari boss and the team is fourth in the Constructors’ Championship with 10 races remaining.

Ferrari have been in the late group behind the dominant Red Bull so far this season, but Vasseur said he is happy with his team’s reaction to a difficult start to the year and is confident they will improve until 2024.

“Everyone was pushing in the same direction,” said Vasseur, who took over from ousted former team boss Mattia Binotto in January. “In terms of performance compared to, say, Aston Martin, in Jeddah (in the second race of the season) they were also much faster than us, but we Now in front of them in general.

“The reaction was good but the most important thing is that the team spirit was good. We have to keep developing in this mentality and avoid infighting.”

Vasseur said Ferrari had some performance improvements before the end of this year, but not in the upcoming races on back-to-back weekends at Zandvoort and the Italian circuit of Monza on September 1-3.

Ferrari changed parts of its car to a design approach pioneered by Red Bull this season, and Vasseur admitted Ferrari was pursuing a different design direction for its car next season.

“The 2024 car is a different project, and even if we have some carryovers from one car to another, the projects are completely different,” he said.

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