Former Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone believes Lewis Hamilton should be stripped of the 2008 world championship title because he won it unfairly. All because of a fixed race that Formula 1 knew about but did not react.
Bernie Ecclestone was the boss of Formula 1 until the end of January 2017. Now, at the age of 92, Ecclestone has decided to evaluate his work. The Briton admitted that in 2008 he made a mistake that he regrets to this day and that if he could go back in time, he would have done it differently. He would be honest with the drivers. What is it about?
In 2008, Formula 1 tracks were ruled by drivers like Michael Schumacher, Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. The latter was then a year after his debut in Formula 1 and 2008 was the season in which he lived to see his first world title. Later, he added six more titles to the collection, equaling Michael Schumacher. These drivers have seven world championship titles each, making them the record holders in Formula 1. However, some argue that Lewis Hamilton should have one less world championship trophy. Among them is Bernie Ecclestone, who believes that one of the championships was won by the British in an unfair way. Moreover, not the fault of Hamilton himself, but of the Formula 1 authorities, including Ecclestone himself.
Ecclestone believes the 2008 championship should go to Felipe Massa. Massa lost the title at the final race in Brazil after Hamilton overtook one of his rivals on the final lap. A few weeks earlier, however, Renault had tied the results of the Singapore Grand Prix when Nelson Piquet Jr crashed the car just in time to facilitate Fernando Alonso’s victory. However, the matter was not reported anywhere, and the race was not canceled, although it should have been, as Ecclestone admitted that the authorities knew about the incident. Ecclestone decided to do nothing about it and buy Piquet’s silence, not wanting the situation to bring bad press to racing. As a result of the cover-up, the results of the Singapore GP counted towards the score. If, however, the competition had been verified and canceled then Massa would have overtaken Hamilton in the points and won the world championship title. Although the scandal eventually came to light, there was nothing the drivers could do about it now, as there was a rule at the time that the world championship standings were inviolable after the awards ceremony.
Today, Ecclestone admits he made a mistake and should have been loyal to the drivers.
– According to the statute, we should consider that the race in Singapore did not take place. The drivers would get no points and Massa would be world champion. To this day, I feel sorry for Felipe about what happened. Massa won the last race of the 2008 season in front of his home crowd. He did everything right, but he was cheated. He was stripped of the title he deserved, while Hamilton was lucky. Today, I would have acted differently in this situation. That’s why for me Michael Schumacher is still the only record holder in F1 for the number of titles, although the statistics say otherwise. – Ecclestone told F1 Insider.