- FIA fires Michael Masi as the F1 race director
- What happened at F1 World Tittle Championship at Abu Dhabi
- Max Verstappen wins the F1 world tittle championships in a dramatic finish at Abu Dhabi finale
- Toto Wolff’s reaction to the sacking of Masi
- Lewis Hamilton denies claims to quit F1Mercedes will not petition the conclusion of the 2021 world championship due to Masi’s management of the Abu Dhabi finale
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes did not use threats to have Michael Masi fired as the race director of Formula One’
Toto Wolff, the team’s president, insisted on this when Hamilton’s retirement threats faded after his appearance at the introduction of Mercedes’ new vehicle for 2022, the silver W13.
The incident occurred after Wolff announced that Mercedes will not petition the conclusion of the 2021 world championship due to Masi’s management of the Abu Dhabi finale.
After Masi’s decision in Abu Dhabi, which appeared to have swung the title away from Lewis Hamilton and towards Max Verstappen.
Prompted a lengthy and wild public debate, Arocca, CEO of Motorsport Australia and a ‘personal friend’ of Michael Masi, claims that the ousted race director is a man of ‘fantastic resilience.’
What transpired at the Abu Dhabi finale?
When a late safety car was deployed during the title decider between Hamilton and Verstappen, Masi created uncertainty by ordering the lapped drivers between the two to pass through while the rest of the race’s lapped drivers remained in position.
The ruling ultimately allowed Verstappen to pass Hamilton on the last lap, changing the Drivers’ Championship’s outcome for 2021.
Following a thorough internal investigation, the FIA stated this week that Masi will be replaced by Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, who will alternate as race directors.
Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the head of the FIA, has also pledged to evaluate the protocol for lapped drivers behind safety cars.
“There is no link between the withdrawal of our lawsuit and the departure of anyone from the FIA,” Wolff insisted.
“I’m not sure where these accusations are coming from.”
However, incoming FIA president Mohammed bin Sulayem’s restructure, which includes Masi’s dismissal, “seems a bit like a sacrifice,” according to Dutch GP chairman Jan Lammers.
“The Hamilton fan will say ‘see!’,” he told NOS. “But I think the one who made the decisions also had the authority to make those decisions, however controversial they were.
“It’s just much, much better now that five or six people are involved so that the rules are always followed.”
Wolff agrees that the FIA’s changes were “necessary” as the outcome marred an otherwise “excellent season”.
When asked if he was sorry to see Masi go by German station RTL, Wolff said, “No.”
When asked about the scandal, Hamilton played a straight bat, denying that he ever threatened to quit F1 during his post-Abu Dhabi seclusion.
“I never, ever said that I was going to stop. I love doing what I do,” said the 37-year-old, although he admits he has contemplated retirement “so many times”.
“It was obviously a difficult time for me, and it was a time where I really needed to take a step back and focus on being present.
I eventually got to a point where I decided I was going to be attacking coming into another season, and working with Toto and George (Russell),” added Hamilton.
The seven-time world champion welcomed the FIA’s reforms as well.
“We have to use this moment to make sure that this never happens to anybody else in the sport ever again,” said Hamilton.
“Everything that’s been said by the FIA, I welcome that but we have to make sure that we keep a close eye and make sure that we actually are seeing those changes.”
He went on to say that the statement is only the “first step” in regaining all of his previous “confidence and trust” in the FIA.
But that doesn’t necessarily change everything just yet,”. We have to see actual action. And I think it will take a bit of time.” Said Hamilton.
Ralf Schumacher, a former Formula One driver, believes political pressure, including that exerted by Wolff and Hamilton, prompted the FIA to act on Masi’s sacking.
“But I can well imagine that there was a lot of pressure on the FIA to set an example. Maybe they could have changed the structure with Masi, but apparently, the trenches were just too deep “