Most Formula 1 team has bend or broken the rules at some point although fixing a race is plain cheating, this is a sport that moves large amount of money during the entire year, I would assume is one if not the most expensive sport in the world now days with a growing number of viewers world wide so greed sometimes take over team principals either because they are pressure by upper management to win races or purely because they will try to win at all costs and this is exactly the story of what happen on 2008 at the Singapore Grand Prix, one of the biggest scandals in Formula 1 that once again has come up to day light after Felipe Massa is considering to take legal actions but its not clear if its just to revert the race results or the entire championship, it has been fifth teen years since this incident and from what I have investigated the FIA took actions on the matter back then ending with the result of severe sanctions to Renault F1 Team back in the day and their team principals but the championship results end the same.
Singapore 2008 Highlights
At the top of the grid there was Masa and Hamilton, both fighting for the championship very close, for 2008 Fernando Alonso came back to Renault after a savage experience at MacLaren with Lewis Hamilton, during this time the two main drivers for Renault where Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet Jr. son of an F1 Legend Nelson Piquet with Alonso as the main driver.
During the warm up lap something odd happen, all of the sudden Nelson Piquet spins out right before the entrance to the pits, the entire theory of this conspiracy was that Pique intentionally crash the car in front of the pit lane to generate a safety car after Fernando Also pit stop, may be Pique got nervous but its just too much coincidence, in my opinion.
On lap 12 Alonso make his pit stop, he was the first one to pit as he started 15 on the grid his race strategy was different, but its here where the story of the race change in his favor, Alonso change tires and refuel, goes out without any delays, a clean pit stop. Alonso have not won a race in a very long time and was seven on the driver championship during that year.
On lap fourth teen an event happen that change the entire course of the race and the driver championship since Hamilton and Massa were at one point of difference with Hamilton leading. Nelson Piquet Jr, intentionally or not, crash at turn seventh teen and race control was force to send out the safety car, most of the cars were past the pit lane after the incident, only Alonso and two other drivers were able to pit before the safety car, before the pit lane was close.
After the incident was clear, the pit lane was open and all drivers rush in to make their stop, refuel and change tires, this cause a lot of traffic, during this situations the tension is very high and often the pit crew or the drivers make mistakes. On 2008 the pit crew use a stop light control by one of the mechanics, Massa pits and he is focus on this stop light, green light goes on and he takes off to shortly notice the fuel hose was still connected to the car making him stop again at the end of the pit lane, Ferrari mechanics run after him, they get to Massa the fuel hose was stuck and took them a few minutes to take it off making things worst for him. Alonso at this point was in front of the race mainly due to his early pit stop and also he is an excellent driver who manage to seal the deal and stay at the front.
This race gave Hamilton an advantage over Massa an eventually won the drivers championship.
A year latter Piquet was still driving for Renault but his results were poor compare to Alonso although his was not the best neither, its this year 2009 that he decides to come clean and tell the truth, his version, of the Singapore crash declaring he was force by Renault management to fix the race. This year Piquet was also replace as a driver by Roman Greyant, his allegations were expose by Renault a way to force the team to keep him driving for them.
On September 21, 2009 Renault F1 Team was giving a warning that if they once again were involve on another situation breaking the rules in the next two years, would be banned from Formula 1 for life, Flavio Briatore was banned for life form Formula 1 and any FIA event or relationship to the sport, Pat Symonds got a five year ban after he confess and help with the case.
Fifth teen years latter Felipe Massa has make recent declarations that he might proceed with legal actions, but in my opinion at this point its pure cloud chasing, from my understanding during that time once the title has been given to a driver it can not be taken back. This has brought back for some people the situation from 2021 where Lewis Hamilton loose the title because of how race control interpret the rules ending the race in favor of Red Bull.
Besides the declarations from Piquet Jr another set of proof that has got Massa to consider take legal actions is a recent, non publish interview that was part of MOSLEY: IT'S COMPLICATED (2021) Documentary, Charlie Whiting declares Piquet father told him it was truth that his son was force to crash and the race was fixed, during 2009 whiting starts an investigation to back this up but Massa lost the tittle eventually on the last race, he was champion for 38 seconds and then lost the race, the outcome of this second investigation would not change the results of Brazil GP 2008 the last race of the championship, Massa ends first and Hamilton seal the deal with a fifth position on the last lap after passing Timo Glock on the Toyota.
I think right now after this long with how Formula 1 is growing no body will take the shot at this case, there is too much money involve on this sport and such investigation would be Formula 1 shooting themselves on the foot.