Helmut Marko couldn’t resist the opportunity to get in a little dig at Lewis Hamilton’s expense as he discussed Felipe Massa’s legal bid for the 2008 title.
Hamilton’s first title win, in 2008, is currently under threat as championship runner-up Felipe Massa has begun legal proceedings in the UK High Court challenging the outcome of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.
That race saw the controversial events of ‘Crashgate’ with a deliberate crash from Renault’s Nelson Piquet Jnr. influencing the outcome of the race – one where Massa lost a big points haul due to a pit-stop error from Ferrari.
Helmut Marko: The chances for Felipe Massa aren’t bad
Speaking to Austrian publication Kronen Zeitung, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko spoke about the controversy surrounding the Singapore race from 15 years ago – the race that Massa’s legal team want to see struck from the outcome of the championship, thus awarding the Brazilian the title over Hamilton.
“Even the choice of lap for the stop was suspect,” Marko said of Renault’s Fernando Alonso, the unwitting beneficiary of Piquet’s crash at Marina Bay thanks to the timing of the Safety Car that was deployed in response.
“Afterwards, it was an open secret. I just wondered why it took so long for this affair to be uncovered.”
While the conspiracy to manipulate the race result became public knowledge in 2009, following Renault’s firing of Piquet, former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone revealed earlier this year that the FIA and FOM had known about Renault’s actions before the end of 2008 and did not take action – this admission being what has piqued Massa’s interest in starting legal proceedings.
“If there are new facts, the matter can be reopened,” Marko said.
“And then the chances for Massa are not so bad.
“The only question is, where would we end up if we had to re-evaluate many other races where there have also been incidents?”
Helmut Marko: Records aren’t so important for Lewis Hamilton…
With Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton recently failing to congratulate Max Verstappen on achieving a record-breaking 10 consecutive races in a row, citing disinterest in F1 records and statistics, Marko couldn’t resist taking a shot at that stance from Hamilton.
“It was terrible to see Massa celebrating winning the title in Brazil for 20 seconds, and then suddenly it was all gone,” he said.
“I would like him to win the title – and Mr. Hamilton – for whom records are not so important – would then have one less…”
Should Massa’s legal challenge succeed, Hamilton would fall back to six titles with the Brazilian securing his one and only championship. Earlier this week, Massa’s legal team sent preservation orders to several associated parties in the case, which looks to gain further momentum over the coming weeks.