Former FIA president claims no doubt ‘rigged’ Grand Prix ‘should have been cancelled’

Thomas Maher
Jean Todt chats with Mohammed Ben Sulayem and Stefano Domenicali.

Former FIA President Jean Todt with incumbent Mohammed Ben Sulayem and F1's Stefano Domenicali.

Jean Todt believes the FIA could have come down harder over the result of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix that proved pivotal in the title fight.

The outcome of the 2008 race in Singapore is back under the spotlight recently, as championship runner-up Felipe Massa has opted to take legal action regarding the classification of the 2008 title fight.

A year after the controversial race, won by Renault’s Fernando Alonso, it was uncovered the Enstone team had manipulated the result by ordering Nelson Piquet Jnr. to crash his car at a time that optimised Alonso’s strategy – there has never been any indication that the Spaniard had any knowledge of the plan.

Jean Todt indicates support for Felipe Massa

Massa, who had been leading the race in Singapore, ended up losing out to title rival Lewis Hamilton as a result of a dodgy pitstop when he drove off with his fuel hose still attached – a stop that wouldn’t have happened without Renault’s interference.

The Brazilian would go on to lose the title in heartbreaking circumstances at the season finale at his home race at Interlagos, but his interest was piqued when former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone let slip early this year that the FIA and F1 had had knowledge of Renault’s manipulation before the end of 2008 – and not in 2009, as was believed for the past 14 years.

The resetting of the timeline has opened up a huge can of worms, with Massa opting to challenge for the title in court by arguing the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix should have been cancelled outright, rather than allowing the result to stand. If Singapore 2008 is scrubbed from the record books, Massa would claim the title.

Jean Todt, who handed over the reins of Ferrari to Stefano Domenicali during that season after a long tenure as team boss, was still part of the board at the Scuderia at the time. After a long stint as FIA President, which ended in 2021 as Mohammed Ben Sulayem succeeded him, the Frenchman has remained tight-lipped on the situation until now.

In an interview with Italy’s La Stampa, Todt revealed he now feels the Singapore race should have been cancelled – Todt having only just taken up the presidency at the FIA at the time when the controversy emerged.

“I don’t get into the controversy,” Todt said.

“For him [Massa], psychologically, it was very hard.

“Maybe we [the FIA] could have been tougher when the story came out.

“There is no doubt that the Singapore Grand Prix was rigged and should have been cancelled.” recommends

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Felipe Massa challenging for title ‘for justice’

Speaking in a recent exclusive interview with, Massa explained his thought process behind going after the title through the courts after employing a large legal team to begin his challenge.

“I’m doing it against the justice of the sport,” he said.

“When I am at home, and I see my phone after the Bernie Ecclestone interview, after the Charlie Whiting interview in the Max Mosley documentary that he knew at the last race of the season at Interlagos what happened in the Singapore race and after my son knew about it – he asked me ‘you are not doing anything?’

“So I’m doing that for justice. I really believe what I’m doing is correct because this is not acceptable. We’re not talking about a broken engine, or someone pushing me out of the race. We’re not talking about the sporting situation, we’re talking about the manipulation that changed the result.

“On that podium [in Brazil 2008], I didn’t know that I lost the championship because of a race that was manipulated, you know? So I used my heart completely to try to show other people what I was thinking. But then, a few months after, we discovered what happened in Singapore, and what happened in Singapore was not fair for the sport.”

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