Former FIA President Jean Todt has agreed with Felipe Massa's assessment that the 2008 Singapore GP should have been "cancelled" from the record books due to the "rigged" nature of the event.
Massa is pursuing legal action against Formula 1 and the FIA, alleging that they conspired to cover up the ‘Crashgate’ scandal of the 2008 Singapore GP.
In the event at Marina Bay, Renault’s Nelson Piquet Jr. deliberately crashed his car in order to bring out a safety car.
This allowed his teammate Fernando Alonso to pit for new tyres and emerge in the lead, eventually winning the race. The FIA later found that Piquet Jr.'s crash was deliberate, and that Renault had orchestrated it.
While the infamous chapter was not F1 or the FIA’s best moment, the case was closed and filed. But was reopened earlier this year when former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone made controversial comments suggesting that he and then-FIA president Max Mosley had knowledge of the ‘Crashgate’ scandal in the aftermath of the race but chose not to act on it to avoid a "huge scandal."
This revelation reignited Massa's frustrations and spawned the Brazilian’s belief that the FIA and F1 had colluded to cover up the scandal, therefore depriving him of a rightful victory in the 2008 World Championship.
Massa believes that the sport’s governing body, helmed by Max Mosley at the time, should have disqualified Renault from the race, or scrapped the event from the championship altogether, which would have handed him the 2008 title.
Since filing his case with the courts, Massa's legal team has been aggressively collecting documents from relevant parties involved in the case.
In a recent interview with Italy’s La Stampa, Todt – who managed Ferrari from 1993 to 2007 and was a special advisor to the Scuderia in 2008 – acknowledged that the FIA could have handled the situation differently.
“I won’t get into the controversy, but it was very hard for him [Massa] psychologically,” Todt said.
“Maybe we could have been tougher when the story became known, but there is no doubt that the Singapore Grand Prix was rigged and should have been cancelled.”
While Todt's comments do not directly support Massa's legal claims against F1 and the FIA, they do provide some level of validation for Massa's perspective on the case.
Todt's position as a former FIA President and a figure respected within the sport could also carry some weight in the legal proceedings.
The full implications of the Frenchman’s comments remain to be seen, but they have undoubtedly added another layer of intrigue to the ongoing legal battle between Felipe Massa and F1/FIA.