F1 »

Massa still bothered by Singapore's notorious debut

Felipe Massa recalls the first-ever Singapore Grand Prix with less affection than most after losing a potential victory in a race he claims was 'false'.
Singapore's debut on the F1 schedule will be remembered for many reasons, but the most infamous part of the weekend will forever haunt Felipe Massa even though he was not directly involved.

The 2008 event, the first F1 street race staged under floodlights, took the sport to another new location, but also plumbed new depths as Renault F1 convinced rookie Nelson Piquet Jr to engineer a safety car period in order to help team-mate Fernando Alonso overcome a nightmare qualifying result. The Brazilian duly spun himself out of the race at just the right point for Alonso to benefit from an outrageously early pit-stop, and the double world champion went on to claim a victory much needed by a team needing success to ensure its future.

While the scandal - widely dubbed 'crashgate' in typical tabloid style - cost Piquet, engineering director Pat Symonds and team principal Flavio Briatore their F1 futures, Massa too still feels the indirect effect of the events of 28 September 2008, having been leading the race before a botched pit-stop under the safety car triggered by Piquet's 'accident'.

"What happened hurt me because, when you lose the title by so small a margin, you start looking back and one of the things that was an influence was Singapore," the Ferrari driver told Spain's AS newspaper, "Everyone knows that result was manipulated by what happened. Singapore 2008 was false, but the result was real."

Despite taking an emotional victory on home soil in the season finale at Interlagos, and believing that he had won the title for a few seconds, Massa ultimately had to settle for the runners-up spot after Lewis Hamilton got by Toyota's Timo Glock on a dramatic run to the flag. Alonso, meanwhile, went on to win the Japanese GP just a week after the Singapore race, and subsequently left Renault to partner Massa at Ferrari in 2010.

The pair remain team-mates this year, and Massa admits that he has never broached the subject of 'crashgate' with the Spaniard.

"Have I spoken to Fernando about it? He knows and I know how the world works," he answered enigmatically, "The past is the past - although I have answered 45,000 times what I think about it."

Alonso, meanwhile, pointed to more than just Singapore as reason for Massa's near miss in the championship, comparing it to his own disappointment in 2011, when he was overhauled by Sebastian Vettel at the final round in Abu Dhabi.

"Yes, he lost points here, but he also lost points in Hungary when his engine failed with three laps to go," he insisted, "When you lose a championship by one point, you remember all those things. When I look back at last year, I remember not winning in Belgium...."




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Nelson Piquet (BRA) Renault R28, Singapore F1 Grand Prix, 26th-28th, September 2008
Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2008, Brazilian F1 Grand Prix, Interlagos, 30th October 2008-2nd, November, 2008
Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2008, Singapore F1 Grand Prix, 26th-28th, September 2008
22.09.2011- Felipe Massa (BRA), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
24.08.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW36
24.08.2014- Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
24.08.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
24.08.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
24.08.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
24.08.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
24.08.2014- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
24.08.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
24.08.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T and Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
24.08.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T and Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
24.08.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T and Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
24.08.2014- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
24.08.2014- Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
24.08.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


dave - Unregistered

September 24, 2011 1:04 PM
Last Edited 1071 days ago

The real clue is this phrase "at just the right point for Alonso to benefit from an outrageously early pit-stop" Alonso had messed up Quali, yet knowingly went into the race with very little fuel, because he knew Nelson had been ordered to stick it in the wall at exactly the right moment. One or Two laps more and Alonso would have had to pit, utterly negating any chance of a drive through the field. Utterly impossible Alonso did not know all about it, purely on the evidence of otherwise bizarre strategy. Alonso has cost Massa what would have been an undeserved Championship, but yet, has not won one for the Scuderia, Tifosi. He is not very popular in Italy at all !



© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.