If Massa wins the title will it be tainted by the Spa controversy? (Poll)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Felipe Massa\'s inherited win at Spa has kept him in the title battle
Felipe Massa's inherited win at Spa has kept him in the title battle

In the run-up to the final race of the season several people have left comments here pointing out that Lewis Hamilton would already be champion had he not received that infamous penalty at Spa-Francorchamps.

Without it the drivers? championship would already be over. Is that a good thing or not?

Should the drivers? championship be over already?

Everyone likes a closely-fought championship and a title battle that goes down to the final race.

But because of the controversial penalty Hamilton received at Spa if Massa wins the title now it will be impossible for him to say he would have done it without the six-point swing in his favour the stewards handed him at Spa.

It?s a suggestion that will surely find little support among Massa?s fans – especially givent he problems he’s had this year. But for others it may undermine Massa?s credentials as champion should he win the title.

We?ve been here before

The situation reminds me of the 1982 title-decider. On that occasion John Watson battled Keke Rosberg for the championship at the final round.

Watson?s championship had been boosted by six points gained at Brazil by finishing second. Rosberg had originally been second in that race, but was disqualified for running below the weight limit by using so-called ??water cooled brakes? to get around the rules.

Watson?s car infringed the rules in the same way in that race, yet he was not disqualified. As Rosberg ultimately won the title, it didn?t matter. But, much like this year, one driver faced the possibility of losing the title due to a stewards? decision that many felt was dodgy.

Your verdict

Some might argue the penalty decision is simply bad luck for Hamilton – and Massa has had plenty of misfortune of his own.

Others might simply be glad the penalty means the drivers? title has gone down to the wire ?ǣ however it was achieved.

But many people felt Hamilton’s penalty was excessive, including 70% of F1 Fanatic readers (a figure which can’t entirely be down to nationality, as British readership of this site is around 35%). So might they feel Massa?s claim to be a worthy champion is undermined by the controversial decision in his favour at Spa?

Cast your vote and leave a comment below.

Would the Spa penalty diminish Massa?s status as champion?

  • Yes (60%)
  • No (37%)
  • No opinion (2%)

Total Voters: 416

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29 comments on “If Massa wins the title will it be tainted by the Spa controversy? (Poll)”

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  1. Many former F1 greats have referred to the stewards’ decision as incorrect and bad for the sport. I will be guided by their greater knowledge and therefore I vote that Massa’s championship status would not be credible,especialy if LH is ‘interfered with’ by another driver during the final race and subsequently forced to retire.
    It would be good for the sport,and for the men involved,If Massa and LH are the first two over the finish line.The order doesn’t matter (unless,of course,you are Brazilian). Whatever,I hope for a safe race for all the drivers.

  2. If Massa is WDC Sunday I will wonder how he can look at himself in the mirror.

  3. I voted yes…

    Before all the Massa fans jump on me, I’m not trying to detract from his season to date, or ignore the bad luck he’s run in to, but Hamilton’s penalty (whether you agree with it or not) clearly gifted Massa.

    And then of course there was the *ahem* Bourdais incident…

    I’m not blaming Massa for any of this, it wasn’t his doing. It’s his ‘bad’ luck he drives a prancing horse, that’s all ;)

    But yeah, I think Massa winning the WDC would be tainted… which must be a tiny bit gutting for poor old Massa, surely?

  4. William Wilgus
    1st November 2008, 2:04

    Yes, and if it hadn’t been for a blown engine and a pit stop release error, it would be over now also. Whoever wins the most races—fairly—should be the champion. This points system is ridiculous.

  5. William Wilgus
    1st November 2008, 2:05

    What—if Massa wins he’ll get a smaller trophy than Hamilton would have? I’m sure Massa would like to win the F-1 Driver’s Championship by winning every race in a season; what drivewr wouldn’t? The champion is the champion. What part of that is unclear?

    Further, if it hadn’t been for a blown engine and a pit stop release error, it would be over now also. Whoever wins the most races—fairly—should be the champion. This points system is ridiculous.

  6. No it won’t be tainted because there were another 18 races in the calender and Hamilton has had ample opportunity to have wrapped this championship up by now.

  7. i think it’s disgusting the amount of people that voted yes. take a look at yourselves. massa has done no wrong, the only taint would be on hamilton for throwing another championship away from driving with little respect for his fellow drivers.

  8. I have voted no..

    If Massa is to become a champion ; Lewis needs to drive really abysmally on raceday.
    And if Lewis achieves this “feat”.. By no means will he be a deserving champion. Repeating the same mistake twice is not the hallmark of a WDC.

    The excessive number of votes for YES seem to be of those Hamilton fans who are still not sure about the performance of their driver under pressure and are already looking for excuses if Massa becomes WDC.

    The true Hamilton fans will vote NO and accept the result whatever it is

  9. At first, I think Hamilton’s punishment at Spa was fair, or, at the very least, a very difficult decision, not a stupid mistake, neither a clear attempt to favour Ferrari…

    Even if it is wrong, Massa’s title won’t be as tainted as Hamilton’s or Alonso’s last year would be, driving a McLaren, tainted by a confessed/proven/condemned use of intellectual property stolen from their main rivals…

  10. 100% agree with Daniel.

    And I don’t think long retired legends of F1 opinions bear so much fruit in modern F1. Not to say I don’t respect their opinion, it’s always good to know what they think, but I cannot put much weight on their arguments given they’re not currently active in service, or have been for quite a while.

    Bearing in mind Massa’s faults this year haven’t been entirely his own (Silverstone being an abysmal off), whereas McLaren have barely slipped up and it’s mainly been down to Lewis on his downfalls. Massa will deserve to win the championship should Lewis falter that badly.

    Otherwise, fair play to Hamilton. Whatever people think of the penalties, just or unjust, fair or unfair, he emerges champion at the end of the day.

    Having said all this, I’m pretty much apathetic towards who actually wins the WDC, it’s been a poor 2nd season despite the odd good race in terms of the championship. I only want Massa to win the WDC purely because he drives the red car, but given half the chance I’d still rather Kubica or Alonso win it.

    As already mentioned, it’s all for Hamilton to lose. If he does, then thats twice he’s bottled it in the same situation come the last race. No pressure on the guy, he only needs to come 5th – and given his stats, that’s a relatively poor finish.

  11. I voted yes, not just because of Spa, but the Bourdais penalty too. That was an absolute joke and did nothing to silence the growing feeling of pro-Ferrari bias.

    Mechanical/pit crew errors are part and parcel of the whole package so it’s pointless arguing the ‘what ifs’ of those incidents. But the outside decisions of the stewards have had a direct influence on the points standings which for me would taint the final outcome should Massa win.

  12. as a lewis fan i voted no. I for one will not blame the spa decsion if he loses it – as really there can be only one person who can lose the title from here.

  13. no. title it title. people will say: world champion or… 3 time champion – if he happens to collect 3 during his career.

  14. I know many of you like to throw up misfortune Massa has suffered, say at Singapore, in an attempt to balance things out but I’m afraid it does nothing of the sort. All drivers will lose points as a result of mechanical faults and as a result of driver and team errors. The Spa and Fuji incidents where Massa gained points are none of those things though, they are stewards interfering in a race already run and changing the result.

    So I voted yes but it’s not a strong yes. If Massa is champion then he has the most points at the end of the season and that is the end of it, he is champion. However, the Spa penalty was poor and the Bourdais penalty was outrageous. That’s some major points he has been gifted there and there is no comparable gift of points to Hamilton.

  15. I think that certain fans will think of it as tainted – possibly me included

    As for Massa himself – he had nothing to do with the Spa incident (apart from the driving for ferrari aspect)

    Schumacher certailly had a Word Title that would have been seen as a little dodgey – but they do not say “6 times WDC and 1 time WDC in contentious circumstance”

    If FM wins good on him for having a very consistent year\OH and i did vote yes before i really thought about it

  16. I voted yes, for SPA, Burdais, for not penalizing Massa at Valencia for unsafe release from pit-stop etc.

  17. No way, as last year I did not say anything about Kimmi despite the 5 places penaty in Hungary FA got from the FIA for breaking, what rule?. I also do agree with the penalty Lewis got in Spa.

    And do not forget that despite all what happened this season Lewis has by now 7 points lead on Massa, and has not FA 4 points behind this time. If he is not Champion (something I doubt very much)is because he cannot handle with pressure.

  18. michael counsell
    1st November 2008, 10:41

    No because while in some ways Massa has been lucky he has also been very unlucky with engine failures and botched pitstops.

  19. I say yes, but not just Spa. Every penalty where Ferrari have ‘got away with it’ as much as McLaren have been, shall we say, unlucky, would taint a Massa championship, the same way Lewis’ being champion last year would have been tainted by spygate.

    If Lewis wins, it will be a vindication of McLaren’s mettle – $100m down and still winning a championship. Not that they would be operating on $100m less, but psychologically, it would have been a bit hit.

  20. Anyway, I do not think any of them are deserving champions, only the one who less mistakes made. But that is another point to reach.

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