Jacques Villeneuve ‘running illegal fuel’ joke after Felipe Massa files F1 2008 lawsuit

Michelle Foster
Jacques Villeneuve and Williams Renault celebrate his 1997 World title

Jacques Villeneuve and Williams Renault celebrate his 1997 World title

Heinz-Harald Frentzen has joked Jacques Villeneuve was “running illegal fuel” in 1997 and that he should be the World Champion, similar to how Felipe Massa wants the 2008 outcome overturned.

Massa is suing Formula 1, the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone in the London High Court, wanting not only the 2008 World title but a minimum of $82 million in damages.

‘I hope he wins the case. So I got a chance as well’

The Brazilian’s case is based on that season’s Singapore Grand Prix, a race in which Renault ordered Nelson Piquet Jr to deliberately crash to help Fernando Alonso.

In the ensuing Safety Car chaos, Massa, who had been leading the race, wrecked his pit stop when he left the Ferrari pits with the fuel hose still attached to his car. He finished down in 13th place while title rival Lewis Hamilton was third. Hamilton went on to win the World title by a single point.

But with Ecclestone admitting last year that F1 “should have cancelled the race in Singapore” as the sport’s higher-ups knew the truth about Crashgate before the last lap of the championship, Massa believes he is the “rightful” 2008 World Champion.

Frentzen, second in the 1997 World Champion but by 42 points to Villeneuve’s 81, has joked he too needs to get a lawyer involved.

“I think Jacques in ’97 was running illegal fuel, I am looking for a lawyer as well,” he wrote on X.

“I hope he wins the case. So I got a chance as well.”

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On a more serious note, the 56-year-old clarified he was joking before saying he supports the rule that the results are classified two hours after a race.

“Please for those who don’t think I am funny, I did run the same fuel like Jacque and I finished officially 2nd in the F1 championship,” he said.

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

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

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