Massa suspects Alonso knew about Crashgate plan

2014 F1 season

Fernando Alonso, Renault, Singapore, 2008Felipe Massa believes his former team mate Fernando Alonso knew of Renault’s plan to help him win the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix by causing a deliberate crash.

Massa lost the race to Alonso after Nelson Piquet Jnr, driving the second Renault, deliberately crashed his car on lap 14. This caused a Safety Car period which propelled Alonso to the front of the field.

Massa, who parted ways with Ferrari at the end of last year, said Alonso “knew everything” about the plan when asked about it in a recent interview for Autosport. “But he would never tell me,” Massa added.

The details of Renault’s plan to cause the crash came to light almost 12 months after the race. The FIA banned Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds from the sport for their involvement, but accepted Alonso’s denial he had prior knowledge of the plan.

Symonds has since returned to F1 and is now chief technical officer at Williams, who Massa has joined this year. “For sure, I will discuss it with him,” said Massa of Symonds, “but I am sure he is not the most important guy in what happened”.

“Sometimes people pay more than they need to,” Massa added. “I know how it works, these situations, in F1 but I will definitely talk to him.”

Massa, who has previously likened the race to a fixed football match, failed to score after a pit lane mishap during the Safety Car period triggered by Piquet Jnr’s crash. The points he lost to championship rival Lewis Hamilton that day ultimately cost him the 2008 title.

Massa added the FIA should have “cancelled” the result of the after once the truth came to light in September 2009.

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208 comments on Massa suspects Alonso knew about Crashgate plan

  1. MarkM (@mpmark) said on 9th January 2014, 14:41

    Massa is a joke, firstly when he is fighting for his seat to stay on for 2014 he says “alonso is better then michael schumacher”, totally kissing butt, now that he was kicked to the curb he comes out and says this, last I remember crash gate happened 6 years ago, did it take you that long massa to come up with this pointless comment now?
    guess we’ll have to hear what he thinks of williams only AFTER he leaves the team.

  2. MarkM (@mpmark) said on 9th January 2014, 14:51

    well its official, I like Massa now as much as I like Maldonado…

  3. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 9th January 2014, 14:56

    While I think Massa’s right, there’s something that rings a bit false when he states that Alonso knew of the plan, but then seems to shrug off the fact that one of the main individuals involved in the scandal – Pat Symonds – is part of his new team.

    If he’s bringing up old grudges then that’s fine. He has every right to still feel aggrieved, on the balance of probability that race cost him a World Championship. But to point the finger at an individual that has never been officially implicated in the controversy, then turn around and seemingly excuse one of the men who orchestrated it, leaves me with a bad taste.

  4. RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 9th January 2014, 15:01

    As an Alonso fan I have reviewed this race many times. I am still not convinced Alonso had reason to question his qualifying fuel load given that the car showed pace on Friday and had a mechanical problem in qualifying. Also, given the pace of the car in the race (pit stop was lap 12 iirc) and the genuine win in Fuji in the next round confirm Alonso still had a lot of work to do. In the post-race podium room Alonso sincerely says to Briatore, ‘lucky with the safety car’. That to me is irrefutable evidence that he knew nothing about it because if he was guilty he wouldn’t openly say something like that directly after the race.

    In terms of Massa’s 2008 campaign, one result is meaningless. After very poor performances at the start of the season there were calls for Alonso to replace him immediately. At Monaco Hamilton hit the wall and won the race due to being on the right tyres after the safety car. That was a stroke of luck against Massa. In Britain he was poor and in Hungary he retired from the lead with 3 to go. He was gifted the Belgian GP, although I stand by that decision. In Signapore he had the fuel nozzle problem meaning that in a normal race he would have scored no points and in Japan he had his chief rival smash into him on the first lap.

    Overall, I feel Massa uses Signapore as a way to say that he would have won the title without race fixing, which obviously every sport fan agrees with in principle. However, viewing the season as a whole and given how many catastrophic driving errors from Hamilton there were leads me to believe the result we saw in 2008 was more than justified. Bringing it up 5 years later just seems bitter to me.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 9th January 2014, 16:14

      @rbalonso

      I am still not convinced Alonso had reason to question his qualifying fuel load given that the car showed pace on Friday and had a mechanical problem in qualifying.

      Plus pitting before everyone else was a viable tactic back then anyway, considering that it also cycled Rosberg through the field, and considering what happened in Germany with Piquet. Also the chances of a safety car are always high in Singapore.

      • David not Coulthard (@) said on 10th January 2014, 15:06

        Also the chances of a safety car are always high in Singapore.

        Which probably doesn';t count as it was the first race there:)

        I can’t argue with your other points, though.

  5. Shrieker (@shrieker) said on 9th January 2014, 15:35

    Of course he knew.

  6. Maciek (@maciek) said on 9th January 2014, 15:41

    Massa was once a very talented driver whose career was very unfortunately impaired by a freak accident. And that is deserving of sympathy. But in his relationship with Ferrari and Alonso he’s only grown a pair when it doesn’t matter anymore and piping up now feels only pathetic.

    • the accident didnt change a thing. he was beating or matching alonzo in the 1st half of 2010 and ultimatly the team destroyed him mentally at hockenhime. then the 2 year lull enebilty happned until he hit the bottom and got 2 podiums at end of 2012. in 2013 massas pace has matched alonzo all season but no conistancey and alonsos amazing race craft has made him look worse than he is, due do tyre failures and driver errors etc.

      • Maciek (@maciek) said on 9th January 2014, 17:55

        then the 2 year lull enebilty happned until he hit the bottom and got 2 podiums at end of 2012

        I’m glad you cleared that up – I would have been confused otherwise.

  7. Shrieker (@shrieker) said on 9th January 2014, 15:43

    “and in Japan he had his chief rival smash into him on the first lap.”

    Wow, way to go with rewriting history. Massa got his ar $e handed to him and he proceeded to mow Hamilton right away. It was even worse than what schumi did in Jerez 97.

    • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 9th January 2014, 17:20

      I was initially referring to the first corner with Hamilton running wide pushing raikkonen and massa off. Contact on lap 2 was entirely massa’s fault true. But either way the point is that it was not only Singapore that cost massa points that year and it is unfair to pick one race over the year.

      • Shrieker (@shrieker) said on 10th January 2014, 12:43

        Yes, you are right. But saying Hamilton smashed into him isn’t fair at all since it didn’t happen. Maybe I’m being too nitpicky. But he DID force kimi and felipe wide, that’s the truth. Anyway, I think felipe lost the title when he failed to score in aus, malaysia and silverstone, all from poor driving which is his fault and his alone.

  8. Ron Mon (@henslayer) said on 9th January 2014, 17:49

    Sour grapes for sure. Come on Felipe, after 5 years isn’t it time to move on? Yes it sucked, but living in the past won’t get you anywhere.

  9. obviously said on 9th January 2014, 18:01

    I think Massa has done a complete transfer of the blame. In a long struggle with himself, it seems he found it too hard to accept that the blame lies on himself and his team (for letting him out with the fuel hose still attached), that he had to find an alternative that would be make it seem as if someone took the title away from him by the means of some evil, unfair scheme.
    In his mind now, it’s as if Alonso came and switched his pit-stop lights prematurely in order to screw him. He is now well into the thinking that Flavio and Pat didn’t come up with the scheme to try and save their jobs and most likely Renault’s F1 program, but that it was Alonso who came up with it, with one, and one only goal of ruining Massa’s race.
    He, and unfortunately many “journalists” and “fans” have come to think of the whole thing as the only reason why Massa lost the title. Not that he spun from 4th at the first corner in Australia, or that Ferrari engine blew up later in the race, not that he spun out of sure 2nd and possible 1st place in Malaysia. His mistake in Monaco cost him few points more. His race in Silverstone was horrible. His race in Canada was lucky in a way, since Hamilton retired, but Ferrari still made a mess of it. In Hungary it was an engine again. In Italy he was nowhere, in Japan he was again hitting things and getting unnecessary penalties and spins.

    And all of this before we even come to the more important aspect of this statement. How can you go around, publicly accusing someone of something serious, for which you have zero evidence and for which they were already found not guilty? And he keeps doing it. Wouldn’t it be more dignifying to simply decline answering questions on that topic?

    • quads said on 10th January 2014, 12:25

      “And all of this before we even come to the more important aspect of this statement. How can you go around, publicly accusing someone of something serious, for which you have zero evidence…”

      Bitterness on part of a rejected human can be very powerful and make you do stupid/illogical things. The more important question is how come a site, which consider itself being a respectable F1 site, chooses to (once again) actually publish such crap.

      PS. Ever thought of working in the stock market? If not you should – your logical reasoning would make you good cash, among the herds of illogical humans!

  10. obviously said on 9th January 2014, 18:12

    I said it before and I’ll say it again. People are so caught up in Alonso winning that they completely fail to step back and comprehend the whole thing. They are unable to see beyond one meaningless benefit to a driver, because they’re all focused on punishing or rewarding drivers, based on their completely biased and emotional preferences, which is ok for a simple cheering of one driver over another, but not in this case.

    To suggest that Alonso is a main benefactor, implies that this whole thing was made in order to gain him a single race win, in a season where he wasn’t even in a championship fight. So, on a face of it, the only thing Alonso could gain was one sole victory, without any benefit for himself, except the statistics in his total race wins tally. Suggesting that he would do all this for just one win that doesn’t help his championship one bit, is completely illogical.

    You should actually try to see who could benefit from Alonso’s (or Renault’s) win, and/or who would benefit from some extra points.

    Apparently, Alonso really didn’t have much benefit from gaining few extra points, and that one win in itself really doesn’t mean much when you are not fighting for the championship.

    The main beneficiary was undoubtedly Hamilton and McLaren, but that’s a bit too far-fetched and relies on knowing exactly how screwed Massa would be in comparison to Hamilton, since they’ve both lost out in the safety car period. So I think, it’s safe to discard them from any planning, even though they have, due to the long set of circumstances, benefit in the end more than anyone else.

    Next you got Ferrari who has the most to lose by losing a P1, since they are in the championship hunt and have all to lose and nothing to gain with safety car. Again, suggesting that Renault or Alonso would simply want to screw Ferrari and Massa for some reason is a bit too far-fetched too.

    So now that the championship points themselves are out of the question, think about the win itself.
    Who has a motive here?

    A win in a first night race, where you don’t have much to gain from points, is a matter of prestige. That counts more towards sponsors’ commitments, sponsorship packages, budget approvals and similar. That’s why I think it was done with a view of the Renault’s long term future. Of course, in the long run it backfired spectacularly, but still, I don’t see any other possible beneficiary than Renault F1 programme, or perhaps Flavio’s or Junior’s position in a team. Junior was just dreadful as a driver, while Flavio on the other hand needed probably needed to start getting some results in order to secure funding and survival of the F1 programme. Many won’t remember, but there was a constant talk about Renault withdrawing from F1 through all this time, even starting back when they were winning in 2006.

  11. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th January 2014, 18:15

    Felipe, we need to talk. The Singapore scandal happened more than five years ago, and while we all appreciate your desire to have the record set straight, eventually you reach a point of diminishing returns.

  12. Diceman (@diceman) said on 9th January 2014, 18:20

    This makes me wonder what really has been the spirit inside Ferrari during these 4 years.

    • Carlos Furtado das Neves said on 9th January 2014, 21:36

      Ok Felipe. Fernando is faster than you. Can you confirm that you understood that message?
      Ok mate, good lad. Just stay with mim now. Sorry.
      And very, very, very magnanimous. You don’t have any idea what that word means, so I’ll explane it to you later.

      And then they treat the guy as if he was stupid! Good job, mate. Good job!

      • Ronsky said on 11th January 2014, 6:20

        The way you put it sounds like he was forced to drive for Ferrari for so many consecutive years? Fernando, Kimi, Lewis… They would have left the team in one year time, if that would be their case.

  13. spoutnik (@spoutnik) said on 9th January 2014, 18:32

    Congrats! Massa’s just been elected Tr*ll Of The Day!

  14. raddie (@raddie) said on 9th January 2014, 19:25

    Who cares now?

  15. Michael Brown (@) said on 9th January 2014, 19:30

    I do find it odd that Alonso didn’t know about Renault’s intentions. Did he even question the team’s choice for their fuel strategy.

    However, there simply is no evidence to support that. And if Alonso were to be found guilty, what would they do? Declassify him from the result? Hamilton would then win the title with slightly more points. Massa would still score zero

  16. prelvu (@prelvu) said on 9th January 2014, 19:57

    Of course he knew. HE IS A CHEAT AND HE WILL ALWAYS BE ONE. He was involved in McLaren Spygate that cost them 100mil after he left them. That’s why I will NEVER support him.

    • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 9th January 2014, 20:31

      @prelvu I don’t think that’s fair. Mike Coughlan and Nigel Stephney were the ones to blame there. Alonso arriving at a new team would have known as much as Hamilton and De La Rosa about it. Blackmailing the team is obviously regrettable but probably due to his status in the team being downgraded. If McLaren had their time again they would probably back Alonso more given what happened. You are entitled to your opinion but to infer he is a cheat is simply not true.

      • Eric (@) said on 9th January 2014, 22:41

        @rbalonso

        The fact Alonso happily used the info he got and talked about in depth with De La Rosa shows he’s not shy of getting any advantage. Even an unfair one because using technical data from a competitor without their knowledge is an unfair advantage.

        • Pink Peril said on 10th January 2014, 0:21

          If it were to be accepted that McLaren used Ferrari’s technical data in the 2007 car – which has not been proven – then surely Hamilton benefitted as much as Alonso? Both of them were in the title hunt right to the end so it seems a bit of a stretch to only cast aspersions against Alonso. Whilst I agree it was not particularly sporting of Alonso to use the data knowing where it came from, there was never any suggestion he was complicit in the data being at McLaren in the first place. And thinking back to the ‘penalty’ levied by the FIA – it was against the team itself and neither driver was penalised, presumably because the driver is at the mercy of his team as to what car is produced that year and has little input into it, bar the individual set up. So it’s a long bow to try & link what happened at McLaren in 2007 to somehow Alonso being a ‘cheat’. Certainly the term ‘attempted blackmailer’, if used in connection with Alonso, would have some legs to it although we don’t know exactly what went on between him & Dennis that year, and I think it would be fair to say there is most likely blame on both sides.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 10th January 2014, 20:36

            Both of them were in the title hunt right to the end so it seems a bit of a stretch to only cast aspersions against Alonso.

            Hamilton did not have any awareness of the Ferrari data, Alonso did.

  17. Sauber (@mumito) said on 9th January 2014, 21:03

    The nickname “Teflonso” is perfect. Nothing sticks…not the crash-gate, nor the spy-gate, not the team orders…I don’t know…I’m fed up of Alonso. He is probably the best driver nowadays (if not in the top 3) but I’m tired of listening he should have more championships. The fault is always in the car, or in the team-mate….He really thinks he is perfect. He should review a couple of 2013 races….Malaysia, Monaco…

  18. Sauber (@mumito) said on 9th January 2014, 21:06

    I really hope to see Kimi outscoring Teflonso in the same car.

  19. caci99 (@caci99) said on 9th January 2014, 21:23

    Well, we have a saying around here: “The stupid throws a stone into the lake, a hundred wise man jump in to get it out”

  20. tvm (@) said on 9th January 2014, 21:41

    One thing for sure, Massa is a lot more likely to know if Alsono was in on it or not than anyone guessing in the comments here.

    • Robbie said on 10th January 2014, 0:07

      And yet, FM is just speculating too, and in fact doesn’t know the truth, is only speculating, and only claims he will try to get an answer out of Symonds, like that will be forthcoming…not!

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