Former F1 race director Masi officially leaves FIA

2022 F1 season

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The FIA has confirmed its former Formula 1 race director Michael Masi has officially left, seven months after overseeing the controversial conclusion to last year’s world championship.

The 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was Masi’s last as race director. In February the FIA announced he had been replaced by Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich, who are sharing the role this year.

In March the FIA admitted errors had been made in the last-lap restart which decided the destiny of the 2021 world championship. Lewis Hamilton, who had led much of the race, lost the race and world championship after he was overtaken by rival Max Verstappen at the restart.

The FIA acknowledged “human error lead to the fact that not all cars were allowed to unlap themselves” at the restart. Only the lapped cars separating Verstappen from Hamilton were moved out of the way while others, including those between the Red Bull driver and third-placed Carlos Sainz Jnr, were left in position.

Masi also “called the Safety Car back into the pit lane without it having completed an additional lap as required by the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations,” the FIA noted at the time.

In a statement today the FIA said Masi “has decided to leave the FIA and relocate to Australia to be closer to his family and take on new challenges.”

(L to R), Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022
Feature: The omission in the FIA’s Abu Dhabi report which may store up trouble for the future
“He oversaw a three-year period as FIA Formula 1 race director and safety delegate following the sudden passing of Charlie Whiting in 2019, carrying out the numerous functions he was tasked with in a professional and dedicated manner,” it added. “The FIA thanks him for his commitment and wishes him the best for the future.”

Mercedes held Masi responsible for Hamilton’s title defeat. In the aftermath of the race, team principal Toto Wolff said “the decisions that have been taken in the last four minutes of this race have robbed Lewis Hamilton of a deserved world championship.”

Verstappen’s Red Bull team principal Christian Horner initially defended his actions, saying the decision to replace him was “harsh”. However last month he acknowledged for the first time Masi had made a mistake by failing to allow all the lapped cars to un-lap themselves.

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Keith Collantine
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125 comments on “Former F1 race director Masi officially leaves FIA”

  1. Oh, Ok. I guess that was to be expected. They kept him for his “gardening leave” for 6 months and now he’s headed of back home.

    Still, this statement clearly reflects a lot of things between the lines that are not said out loud. Will be interesting to get his book out in a year or two!

    1. Unless he got a benefit out of the WC result, then no, he will shut his lips

    2. @bascb

      He’s single handedly responsible for the biggest officiating goof up in the history of F1. If his head doesn’t roll, I don’t know who else’s will. Throughly deserved if you ask me.. there was no way he should officiate another race after that conversation with red Bull’s sporting director and the rule bending that followed it.

      1. What! But it’s called racing Todfod!

        Oh sorry I thought that said Toto.

        1. Oh yeah.. it’s called a motor race.

      2. I completely agree.

      3. “Its called Motor racing” — Masi

      4. @todfod If you add Hamilton flooring it off the track to regain the lead he lost after being overtaken at turn 6 then yes.

        Otherwise, Hamilton’s Canada 2019 plastic win without leading a single lap is the biggest one.

        1. Otherwise, Hamilton’s Canada 2019 plastic win without leading a single lap is the biggest one

          The race where Seb went off track and gained a lasting advantage (penalty), then returned to the track in an unsafe manner (penalty), forcing another driver off the track (penalty – there’s a good photo at ) and followed up by weaving under braking several times (penalty)
          The Seb was doing fine until he pushed a little too hard trying to get out of DRS range. That was just one of Seb’s many mistake – I initially wrote “that year” but he seemed to aim to screw up all his time at Ferrari. He had the faster car for “non-disclosed reasons” but he failed to make the best use of it.

          1. He didn’t gain a lasting advantage and the penalty wasn’t for that. The penalty was “returned to the track in an unsafe manner and forcing another driver off the track”.

            His rear wheels twitched 3 times due to the lack of grip before going out, while in the grass, and after coming back to the track.

            You can’t return to the track in any safe manner when you are off the track for 1 meter. Not enough time and space for deceleration.

            It’s not called “forcing a driver off the track” when he lifts and doesn’t even change direction and it wouldn’t be intentional anyway. Hamilton had to lift it off but there is no space to be had.

            Again keywords. Plastic win. Masi race director. Mercedes benefitted (again).

        2. @cobray

          That decision was completely fair and as per the rules. He rejoined the track in an unsafe manner and if Hamilton didn’t lift he would have put him in the wall. We’ve seen penalties given out for far less this year..

      5. @todfod It’s nowhere close to the “biggest officiating goof-up in F1 history.” That’s just recency bias and Mercedes troll factory-fuelled hysteria. It wasn’t even the worst blunder of the 2021 season – the failure to go racing at all in Belgium was worse.

        For my money, the biggest officiating failure in my 25 or so years watching F1 was the failure to deploy a safety car at Japan 2014. But I can think of many other examples of poor race direction and dubious stewarding that are worse than a relatively modest mistake in the safety car unlapping procedure at Abu Dhabi.

        1. What made it so big is that it directly changed the outcome of the WDC. So it’s certainly the most consequential goof-up in F1 history in terms of the sporting outcome.

          1. @krommenaas, I would rather agree with @red-andy here.

            A driver lost his life ultimately as the result of the mistake made in 2014, that is a far bigger and consequential “outcome” than any championship that ended in a controversial way (we have many of those really, with greater controversies tied to them)

          2. Suzuka 2014 was a series of events, which may have been avoided with more consequent decisions. But it was not one single rule-breaking decision which cause it. So you should not compare it with a turned over WDC.

        2. @red-andy

          I agree about Japan 2014. They should have had a safety car, at least when the crane was on the circuit. That was a huge one. Nothing can trump that one, but if we keep that one aside, this is definitely the biggest mistake.

          I’ve been watching F1 for a good 28 years myself.. and I can’t think of any blatant rule break by an race director/steward that had such a big impact on the championship result. Not going racing in Spa and many others were still subjective.. an area of the rules that are grey or undefined… opened to interpretation in a way. This was not open to interpretation. The rules were clear as daylight and was still broken by Masi.

  2. It might have been intentional or not, but that was a big mistake, and he knew what he was doing. He had one job to do and that was to follow his own rules.

    Yes, it was entertaining for some fans but not fair to other side.

  3. Expected and left completely low key, chosen to chase other opportunities, closer to family etc. otherwise the FIA might have had a problem if they’d have sacked him. Would have inevitably have led to a slew of things they would rather keep private being aired in the media

    So long MM, and thanks for the all the fish

    1. +1 for the DNA reference :)

    2. username checks out

  4. Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton, combined with a huge amount of aggressive hate on the internet from their fans have put the final touches to the humiliation and destruction of the man.

    I wish Michael all the best. Good luck.

    1. He brought all the humiliation in himself.
      All he had to do was follow the rules. He didn’t and brought disrepute to the WDC.
      Good riddance……..

      1. Agreed

      2. Rather the race, not the WDC which was already rigged before that final race.

    2. Agree, its almost as if he murdered someone reading all the vitrol from the Merc/Lewis fans. Tried to make the right call, with no doubt pressures from Liberty/Netflix in the name of entertainment, and has paid the price from the public witch-hunt.

      1. Joe Pineapples
        12th July 2022, 16:08

        The right call was to follow the rules. It didn’t need to be more complicated than that for him.

      2. The rules were easy to understand. In a moment of high pressure, Masi tried to make the wrong people happy, and screwed Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes out of a title, and left a permanent asterisk in the books next to Verstappen’s name.

        You don’t get to screw up that hard and keep your job, fans or no fans.

        And given how Verstappen’s fans are behaving, I’m not sure you should be throwing stones at anyone right now.

        1. Out of a title is really stretching it. Out of a race victory maybe. We all know the season should have been wrapped up in Max favor before that final race. He finished every race he was enabled to finish either 1st or 2nd. Meanwhile Mercedes: Silverstone bumping a competitor of and being allowed to win after that. Imola red flag, Hungary bumping Max off again, unprecedented in season tyre change after which Mercedes was suddenly completely back in the fight, wing gate then getting caught yourself, pitstop procedure alteration in Mercedes favor, misuse of intention of engine regulation in Brasil. Rigged tot the bone just to get them level on points on that final race. Maybe one day Masi will tell his story which might be that he really got fed up with the Mercedes lobby, pressure and foul play. Wouldnt surprise me at all.

          1. You are a master of one-sided observation and conjuring ridiculous imaginary stuff, aren’t you?

            being allowed to win after that.

            What do you mean by “being allowed”? Did he serve the penalty or not? Are you suggesting that the penalty for any incident that results in a retirement should be disqualification for the other party? Did you want them to apply this to that incident even though it wasn’t on the books then?

            Imola red flag, Hungary bumping Max off again,

            Red flags are a lottery for everyone. I don’t know why you find this difficult to understand. Hungary wasn’t Lewis’ fault and the one at fault was punished. There’s no need for that to feed into your conspiracies.

            unprecedented in season tyre change

            Such a change is hardly unprecedented and you cannot claim that it was the reason Mercedes was competitive again as if the team doesn’t know how to develop a car over a season.

            wing gate then getting caught yourself, pitstop procedure alteration in Mercedes favor

            This is the kind of nonsense that somehow gets repeated over and over. Every team will complain about perceived regulation violations – if the FIA takes action about some things, then that is because they’ve noticed some actual or potential violations that need to be stamped out. Nothing new or particularly unique.

            misuse of intention of engine regulation in Brasil

            This is probably the strangest of them all. Are you seriously suggesting that taking advantage of the rules as they are written amounts to “rigging”? In F1?

          2. No need to get personal. Being allowed to win yes. How on earth can you bump your direct competitor of get a penalty which is that small that you can still win the race. I mean there is no way you can ever justify getting maximum points while you ruin your competitors race. So the penalty was way to lenient.

            Red flags are a lottery indeed, but overall in terms of season points came thry came in handy twice for Lewis. And I question the need from race control to call the red flag.

            Hungary is again benefitting the Mercedes team hugely points wise in both championships. Sure not intentional but also undeserved to gain in points on your competitor. Not a true reflection of the balance of power in the season.

            The in season tyre change is unprecedented or at least very rare. And Peter Windsor, a Brit I respect a lot clearly indicated in multiple videos that it made all the difference and completely staged the comeback for Mercedes. Actually the same is happening now with the floor discussion. It will again fall Mercedes’ way.

            Pitstops again benefitting Mercedes vs RedBull

            The engine regulations are supposed to penalise teams, not to let them benefit by introducing a rocket that can win from the back of the grid. Clearly the intentions of the regulations were violated here.

            So overall quite some elements and I feel the absence of just a single one of them would already have turned the WDC in Max favor prior to Abu Dabi.

    3. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      12th July 2022, 14:39

      Well said – the FIA should have supported Masi much more and called Mercedes and Toto out on their dirty toxic politics.
      Sometime we continue to see this year from Toto – the guy needs to be kicked out of F1.

      This would never ever happen to a football referee – in fact Toto would have been banned from the sport for a considerable time if you did and said the things he said as a football manager.

      1. Have you heard of Tom Henning Øvrebø????

      2. If a football referee did the equivalent of what Masi did, he/she’d be out of a job in a whole lot less than 7 months.

        1. Emma,
          I don’t think football is your area of competence. You don’t have to bring it as an example when you have actually no clue. I can cite you lots of examples of referees that have blatantly broke the rules and still continued refereeing.

          1. I don’t think football is your area of competence.

            Typical of you – assuming things about someone you’ve never met for no good reason. Go ahead and give me a single example of a football referee that did the equivalent of Masi’s race rigging and stayed on? Anyway, if you’re a typical football fan, that would explain a lot of things. At least it appears you agree that Masi “blatantly broke the rules” which is quite something.

          2. Emma,

            Charles Corver West Germany v France, July 1982 : Schumacher tackle against Battiston in arguably the most outrageous foul in World Cup history.

            Byron Moreno : Italy vs South Korea in the 2002 World Cup : Despite his biased performance towards South Korea letting their players massacring the Italian players on the pitch. Not to mention that he refused a golden goal to Italy and a penalty sending off Totti instead. He wasn’t even investigated for perhaps the most famous world cup scandal. He was suspended later by Ecuadorian football authorities when he mismanaged a local match. In 2010, he was was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport while trying to smuggle in six kilograms of heroin.

            Pierluigi Collina. Deciding final round of the Serie A 1999-2000. Perugia-Juventus : The pitch was a swimming pool not suitable for football and despite clear regulations with regard to the practicality of the football pitch and the delay to resume the match he forced the match to continue in blatant rule breaches for obvious reasons. He was awarded a world cup final 2 years later.

            Tom Henning Øvrebø turning down several penalty appeals during the match between Chelsea and Barcelona in the 2009 CL semi final.

            Janny Sikazwe Tunisia – Mali 2022 Africa Cup of Nations : he blew the final whistle after just 85 minutes before restarting play, but then blew again with just 89 minutes and 43 seconds.

            Mehdi Abid Charef in the African Champions League final between Al-Ahly and Esperance of Tunis when he clearly and premeditatedly steered the game in favour of the Egyptians. He has, in fact, largely “served” the Egyptian club with two free penalties and a forgotten red card against Moroccan striker Walid Azarou. The problem here is not the fact that the referee made mistakes but the issue was that when he was called by the VAR to review his mistakes, he refused. When the referee in charge of the VAR embarrassed him and the communications were obtained later, he went to the monitor just to view the monitor and confirmed his decisions. The forgotten red card was about a punch delivered by Al Ahly player and then in an unsportsmanlike behaviour he ripped his shirt.

            I can cite countless other examples if you like. I didn’t assume anything. You brought the wrong example into the discussion, I have responded. Nothing personal.

        2. Liverpool were awarded a ‘ghost’ goal that never even went into the net, in a champions League semi final. It dumped Chelsea out of the competition. Senna was disqualified from the Japanese GP under controversial circumstances, even after Prost deliberately tried to take him out.
          Mistakes get made in all sports and there will always be human error because we are all human. All we can do is make improvements when these things happen. We now have goal line technology to make sure the ghost goal never happens again.
          Masi saw a crash which looked on course to be cleared up in good time for a restart but for whatever reason was delayed by the track marshall’s. I assume the resulting delay and build up of pressure all contributed to him making the decisions he made and unfortunately for him it was the last race in the calendar.

      3. the FIA should have supported Masi much more and called Mercedes and Toto out on their dirty toxic politics.

        Lmao.. you want the FIA to call Mercedes out on the fact that an official broke the rules that cost them the championship!?

        Maybe try and remove that dutch bias before commenting.

        1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
          12th July 2022, 16:50

          Says the guy drowning in British biased.
          Masi made a mistake of not letting lapped cars unlap themselves earlier for the rest no mistakes were made.

          The problem that you are ignoring was the extremely toxic atmosphere and anti Max and anti Masi PR campaign Toto and Mercedes created attacking Masi publicly. For some reason you are perfectly fine with that well I am not and the FIA should have severely punish Mercedes and Toto for that behavior.

          Disagreeing with a referee decision is fine – the way Mercedes and Toto did absolutely not.
          Oh with that – also the more than a few British fans that went far over board including death threats to Latifi – so guess you are really proud to be British fan as the British fans are responsible for that as well.

          1. Masi made a mistake of not letting lapped cars unlap themselves earlier for the rest no mistakes were made.

            Incredible that even after the ridiculous errors Masi made are repeated in this very article, you’re still insisting that he made no mistakes. It’s hard to take you seriously after this. And if I were you, I’d be a bit slow to smear British fans after a weekend where Dutch fans were actually undressing and groping innocent fans from other camps.

          2. Its pretty common knowledge the rules weren’t followed and Mercedes would have won their appeal but there was no mechanism by which the title could have been awarded to Hamilton. It is not negative PR holding people to account for their mistakes.

          3. And what do you say to “Lewis Hamilton fans don’t deserve respect” as a woman was assaulted by Max’s fans this past weekend?

            The amount of stonkin’ hypocrisy from Max’s fanbase is just sickening.

      4. masi got off easy.

      5. Dirty politics?

        You mean, such as:

        “We just need one more lap, Michael.”

      6. If a football referee made a call that handed the world cup to a team that didn’t earn it, he’d need armed security to make it home, let alone keep his job.

    4. I doubt many people not already in the Mercedes echo chamber take that stuff seriously, but Masi did make it impossible for himself to continue by the absolutely nonsensical and anti-competitive call to let only some cars unlap themselves. That was just not on, and it was simply based on having a Hamilton vs. Verstappen mini-sprint.

      Like the teams claim they do, I too fully support his idea to restart the race as soon as possible, but since he, as race director, had full authority over the safety car he should have ordered the safety car to slow down so that all lapped cars could have overtaken it. No exceptions. By failing to do that, he made it impossible to continue.

      1. Why is it so hard for people like @jelle-van-der-meer (comment above) to acknowledge this?

        1. He’s dutch. Max fans are the only ones supporting this illogical argument.

          1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
            12th July 2022, 16:42

            Yeah logic is something most British fans are really good at – like it was Max’s fault Hamilton put Max into the barrier at Silverstone.

            British biased in general and particularly in the press is by far the worst of any nation when it comes to F1. For some reason the British still believe F1 is theirs and that only British fans really understand the sport.

            Yes I am Dutch, Yes I support Max but have been watching F1 ever since Verstappen senior started in F1. In all those years there has been 1 constant and that is extreme British biased. Which has gotten far worse in reason years and exploded in 2021 additionally fueled by an anti Max PR campaign driven and pushed by Mercedes, Toto and your “never can do anything wrong” Sir I am entitled Hamilton.

          2. @jelle-van-der-meer not everyone disagreeing with last years cheated WDC, and with Max overaggressive driving is british. Its not british fans vs VER, its orange fans vs fans of F1 sports.

          3. @jelle-van-der-meer

            First of all.. I’m not British. Nor am I a Lewis fan. I was supporting Max all of last season. Heck, I was even glad when he won because I thought he deserved the WDC more than any other driver. I was not happy about how Lewis had the title snatched away from him. It was a farce and a complete break of the rules.

            If there wasn’t a rule break.. then Masi’s head wouldn’t be rolling right now. The difference between you and me is that I can look at it objectively instead of having my orange glasses on.

          4. Yet conveniently forgetting all that unfolded before that last race. Really objective, right?

        2. Jelle van der Meer (@)
          12th July 2022, 16:38

          Sad as it seemingly impossible for people like you to accept Hamilton lost on the race track.

          The only error Masi made was the first message saying “lapped cars may not overtake”, if that message said what it should have said “lapped cars may overtake” all would have been well and the outcome would have been the same.

          Sadly it didn’t and has given the British fan something to cry about – so enjoy the crying.

          1. I am a) not british and b) not a Hamilton fan.

            Masi needed to go. He made massive mistakes throughout his tenure, but the biggest one was undoubtedly when there could be no mistakes made by the FIA in the season-ending, winner-takes-all race. Yes, there was pressure put on him by both Mercedes and Red Bull. As had been happening throughout the season. But if he was unable to withstand that pressure or take proactive measures on his own authority as Race Director to mitigate the pressure, he was not fit to hold the position.

            Is sacking Masi the answer to all of the issues with Race Direction and Stewarding over the last few years? Of course not. There is still a lot of work to be done, especially with respect to the consistency of the stewarding. But sacking Masi is a critical step that needed to occur so that F1 can regain legitimacy in the eyes of the competitors and the fans.

          2. Was probably a typo because normally it’s “lapped cars may NOW overtake”.

          3. Of course Hamilton lost it on track; he was passed in a pretty clever move that I’m sure he didn’t expect there and then. He fought back, but came up just short and as S3 offers no overtaking possibilities, he settled for second and didn’t resort to any shenanigans. I couldn’t vouch for Senna or Schumacher doing the same. Fair enough.

            Should Masi have made the cars overtake sooner? Yeah, I’d agree with that as well. It would have made it much easier for everyone to unlap themselves at the regular safety car pace, and if Masi had made that decision promptly there might even have been two racing laps left in that race. Would Hamilton have still lost the race? Probably, especially with two laps it was almost a guarantee. Would Sainz have had a chance at 2nd if he’d been right behind Verstappen as the Safety Car came in? Probably not, he didn’t have the pace of the leaders all race, and Verstappen had the best tyres to be on as well.

            Still, all of that is immaterial. The race director simply can’t engineer a 1-vs-1 duel by arbitrarily leaving lapped cars between the 2nd and 3rd placed drivers “just because”. That should never happen again, and the person who thought that was a good idea should never direct an F1 race again.

      2. The result whether with a few or all cars would be the same.

        Understand at last that this is a political issue.

        1. How would it have been the same if unlapping all cars would have meant the safety car had to start the final lap? Maybe Masi would have called it in at the end of the main straight? And even if they had all unlapped themselves before the final corner, why do you keep ignoring the rule in place then about when the SC should come in – at the end of the following lap?

          1. Maybe because the Austrian crying on his headphones won’t let you do what you want and lost time because of it? A lap lost to talk. Justice had to be done for both sides.

            The deal was clear before the race: we don’t finish the race behind SC. Both sides agreed to that. Michael fulfilled that condition.

            For the rest, these discussions about the rules are futile in view of what was happening on the track at the time. Lewis simply surrendered the position he had wrongly held after cutting the corner on the first lap. He did it on the last lap.

          2. @Markus: The agreement is that races should not end under SC. Ofc only applicable within the boundaries of the rules. The result was turned over by the RD braking the rules.

      3. Before the delay in clearing the crash everything was looking good for a normal restart. Maybe if he knew it would take so long he would have called a red flag, who knows?
        It seems like the pressure was on to finish under green and we don’t know what internal pressures he was under to do this. It was bad enough with the teams in his ear trying to influence his decisions. Toto was also demanding no safety car be brought out at one stage, don’t forget.

    5. Moreover it also triggered todays toxicity in the sport. Yet Mercedes feel they need to educate the audience rather than have a close look at their own behavior, starting at Silverstone 2021 and going all the way to Masi. If anyone is to blame for the whole situation it is them and fairly, having Horner on the other side certainly didnt help either. It was the most shameful season I have ever watched in the history of the sport.

  5. This is probably the best for Michael Masi and the FIA. Whatever made him make those decisions in Abu Dhabi, they were definitely wrong and keeping him in this position was almost impossible for the FIA.

    Unfortunately the new race directors aren’t a real improvement over Masi. Niels Wittich is a pencil-pushing lawyer who doesn’t care about racing, just strictly follows every rule there is in the book, regardless of how much sense it actually makes. The drivers already seem fed up with him (Seb Vettel in particular) and his overly precise interpretation of the rulebook. What’s coming next: The championship getting decided over a race ban, because the driver in question was not wearing proper underwear and socks?!
    I will reserve my judgement over Eduardo Freitas once I’ve seen more of him, but I’m not overly optimistic.

    1. Yeah. The rules should be ignored! They’re only there to ruin everyone’s fun anyway…….
      I mean – no other sport has rules that need to be obeyed either….

    2. If Vettel doesn’t like the rules he can always race somewhere else. He was always known as one of the big violators of the track limits, even pre-2015 when it was simply not allowed to cross them but race director Whiting and the stewards didn’t care. The “Vettel line” became a bit of a meme.

      F1’s problem isn’t that there are too many rules, it’s that too many rules have been ‘reinterpreted’ in such a way as to make their enforcement entirely arbitrary and subject to the whims (and personal grievances) of the race director. When Whiting was race director, Alonso not so subtly declared that he never said anything in the briefings because drivers who upset the race director somehow ended up getting penalties.

      If a rule turns out to be superfluous, by all means get rid of it, but it’s literally the job of the race director and stewards to enforce all existing rules – both the FIA code and the series’ sporting and technical regulations.

  6. Good riddance.

  7. Perhaps overdue, but unsurprising.
    His infamous last words ”we went to car racing” will probably remain his final public words for some time, although I hope he’d finally come out of his cave & clear his image in the distant future at the latest.
    I still find those words funny, but even more so Toto’s ”No Mikey, no no Mikey, that was so not right!” & ”You need to re-instate the lap before, that’s not right.”

    1. Exactly right “we went car racing”. The SC was bad luck for Lewis and they made the mistake not pitting for new tyres. But sometimes luck balances out over the season.

      1. They made no mistake – if they’d have pitted him they’d have come out behind Max because he’d have done the opposite of Lewis, and Red Bull like everyone else initially assumed that the race would finish under the safety car because of the size of the incident and number of laps remaining.

        1. The incident wasn’t even that big and was on course to be cleared in time.
          Martin Brundle must have had a good view of it because he was fully expecting a green flag if you listen to the commentary again.

        2. If you listen to Lewis radio you can judge for yourself. At that moment it was not completly clear but he knew he was in trouble. I think bad luck for Lewis with the SC but you can’t blame Max for racing under a green flag.

          1. Yes he entirely proves my point on the radio. He knew they were in a catch 22 scenario – pit and they’d end up second, not pit and max would get a free stop in case somehow the incident got cleared and they could restart. He had no ‘good’ option. In other words, it was entirely bad luck and no decision the team could reasonably make at the time would have been better than the one they took.

            Martin did indeed, but expected lapped cars to have to stay in position because there was no time for them to unlap themselves – something Masi even indicated was going to happen before he changed his mind and did what he did.

      2. Any talk of Merc stopping for tyres is gaslighting. @grapmg
        Mercedes acted as if the rules were going to followed.

        They weren’t.

        1. Sure MB knew the race was ending under SC if you think that its fine by me. All I know is there was a green flag and you can’t blame Max for racing.

          1. There was a green flag only cause the RD broke the rules

  8. Bye bye Michael. You will always be remembered for chaos and controversies.

    1. Chaos and controversy are the most memorable and enjoyable parts of F1.

    2. That who fears won’t play

  9. He had a big and very obvious mistake in Abu Dhabi, and he’ll be remembered for that, but he had several big mistakes in other races that seem to be already forgotten. He was not exactly brilliant as race director something.

    1. This, he already did so many stupid mistakes and nonchalant reactions about serious safety matters before abu Dhabi, well enough for loosing his job.

  10. Something to think about, just for a bit of perspective – in just that one season last year, the stewards had more direct influence over the result of the championship than all the F1 race directors combined have done in F1’s entire history.

    While some people have let this one decision in one race ruin their lives, it’s really small potatoes in the grand scheme of things.
    F1 has been involved in far worse things than this – previous race directors have done far worse IMO – but they were never met with such a disproportionate pantomime-esque reaction.
    And to make it as bad a it could be – they placated the noisy reactors by sacking Masi… The worst thing they could possibly do.

    1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      12th July 2022, 14:48

      If 1 bad FIA decision comes to mind it was Senna being disqualified from the Japanse grand prix for failing to follow the chicane at the end of the lap, this despite MANY MANY others drivers also failing to do so unpunishment.

      That was Prost vs Senna whereby Prost actually lobbied to the stewards and FIA boss to get Senna disqualified.

    2. Agreed, but F1 has a longstanding problem with the stewards being in a weak position compared to the race director. When Whiting was the race director he always there, had long standing relations with the teams, and had multiple roles within the FIA sporting branch as well. The stewards on the other hand rotated often, were not infrequently drivers and thus not exactly known for being strict on the rules, and of course F1 also has that national representative at every race who only gets to officiate a world championship race maybe two or three times a year (depending on their country’s involvement in something like the WRC or WEC).

      It will take quite a while to reverse a lot of the last 20 years of F1 officiating. That means reducing the roles of the race director, getting rid of all the ‘jurisprudence’ that isn’t based on written rules, definitely no more secret ‘overtaking guidelines’ or quantifying yellow flag rules to nonsensically minor changes in pace, and as soon as possible F1 should remove the race director from having a say on giving up ‘gained advantages’ in the track limits part of the F1 sporting regulations. Stewards decide penalties, not race directors. And if F1 can adopt a pool of at most twelve or so semi-permanent stewards that’d be great, too.

      1. Agree with pretty much all of that.

        The FIA isn’t there to be on anyone’s side or hold anyone’s hand. They are there to penalise for breaches of the rules, using the existing rules as they are written (and not to privately agree on new ‘interpretations’) in a completely consistent, transparent manner.
        No suggestions. No warnings. No choices.

  11. He didn’t make errors, he stole Hamilton’s championship and handed it to Verstappen*. As long as asterisks exist there will be one next to Verstappen’s* name.

    1. Well there was a green flag.

      1. There was none according to the rules

    2. There is a difference between losing a single race and losing a championship. It is convenient for Hamilton fans to forget a whole season preceded that final race. A rigged and corrupt season. Corruption leading to these two being level on points before that final race. That was the main foul committed here. We all know the season should have been wrapped up in Max favor before that final race. He finished every race he was enabled to finish either 1st or 2nd. Meanwhile Mercedes: Silverstone bumping a competitor of and being allowed to win after that. Imola red flag, Hungary bumping Max off again, unprecedented in season tyre change after which Mercedes was suddenly completely back in the fight, wing gate then getting caught yourself, pitstop procedure alteration in Mercedes favor, misuse of intention of engine regulation in Brasil. Rigged tot the bone just to get them level on points on that final race. So, saying the last race result denied Lewis the championship is not acknowledging this sport has a seasonal winner, not just a single race champion. There was no way Lewis deserved thechampionship that year, even if he had won the last race.

      1. Hence why it was common among fans of neither Hamilton nor Verstappen to say that Hamilton deserved to win in Abu Dhabi, but Verstappen deserved to win the title. The F1 2021 season had become nasty and questionable long before Abu Dhabi, as some of those examples show.

      2. I didn’t comment on this subject until this article. If it would have been the other way around and Max dominated the race until the last lap only to lose it because of the SC I would have been devastated. I can understand the emotions of the Lewis fans.
        But I don’t understand the hate against Masi the talk about biased RD, corruption and other conspiracy’s. There is no evidence on all those things and it’s not very likely the FIA, stewards, RD or anybody involved was biased towards one or the other. The dice rolled the way it did.
        This is also F1 to win the WDC you need a seat at the best team, beat your teammate and have some luck. Last year we had two compatitave teams and a thrilling season.

        1. Max was severely lacking in luck compared to Lewis until that last last lap.
          Unless they can prove it was a conspiracy then I’m afraid it was just a well deserved title for him in the end.

  12. Up to this point, has removing Masi helped us in getting the correct and better decisions? We had a race weekend in which the stewards were taking no prisoners with track limits and penalties, to the best weekend in a while in terms of management from the stewards. But how about prior to Austria…

  13. If I do in my job what he did in his, I would be fired on the spot.
    He made F1 nosedive into massive disrepute.
    Should have been sacked before.
    In any case, the damage is done and his sacking is not going to correct anything.

  14. So much for that new position he was given…

    1. Masi would almost certainly have declined any offer to continue working with the group who sacrificed him to save themselves.

      1. who sacrificed him to save themselves

        I’m curious S – save themselves from what? Why?

        1. How many more people within the FIA could or ‘should’ have suffered career-threatening consequences?
          Shooting the messenger doesn’t punish the people who wrote and endorsed the message.

          Just look at how many comments here are still arguing that Masi’s removal was necessary and are celebrating it.
          It hasn’t changed anything at all. The entire FIA F1 ‘system’ is broken, not just one member of it.

          If you want a comparison, look at the UK government right now.
          Once Boris is gone, everything will be OK, right……? Nope. Of course it won’t.
          All the things that he did wrong, someone else will eventually do wrong too, because that stuff has been going on all along. It is the culture that is the problem.
          You mow the grass, and it’ll just grow back….

  15. I don’t think he made an error, he was working to instructions….

    One day he will come out and confess!!!

  16. Poor guy, thrown under the bus like that by his own people.

    1. Apparently he was given a new position at the fia but noone thought to ask where.

  17. He was not good at the job, let’s be honest.
    He may be a great guy in real life with many redeeming qualities, but he was not good at being an F1 Race Director.

    I am crap at being a General Manager but I gave it a go.
    Move on Michael – move on.

  18. You don’t get better at something without practice, experience and support.
    Masi needed a better system around him.

  19. Masi represents the last man from the Todt era to leave the FIA. Every new CEO, President, Chairman…wants to be surrounded by his own collaborators. The intent from the beginning even if the SC was handled properly in Abu Dhabi was to get rid of Jean Todt’s legacy in the FIA offices.

    The move on Masi was easy because he was behind the controversial handling of the season finale. Ben Sulayem cut a deal with Toto who made it clear that Masi cannot continue in his role as a race director and he also got his personal advisor in charge of the sport to satisfy his relentless pursuit of seeking more political power inside both F1 and the FIA.

    The sad part is not the fact that Masi isn’t the race director anymore. I’ve said it countless times here that he is not suitable to the job. It’s the amount of bullying and threats he got from the hysteric fans fuelled by the disgraceful behaviour of Toto and the entire sour losers Mercedes F1 team.

    The man got literally cancelled by the online cancel culture mob because they didn’t like outcome of the race. Breaking the rule, mishandling the race…. We’ve all seen that before with Whiting, Masi himself and we will surely see plenty of it in the future too. Though no one of these people, complained when Hamilton put Verstappen into the wall with a reckless Maldonado move in Silverstone.

    Mercedes, Toto and their fan—boys got their personal vendetta, the man has lost his job, career in top motorsport and was cancelled in public life too. The funny thing is that these same people are advocating for more diversity and inclusion. The cancelling of Masi have just exposed the dishonest woke people they are.

  20. You keep on doing it @KeithCollantine, stirring the pot (clicks/comments).

    Yes the FIA reported that “Masi also “called the Safety Car back into the pit lane without it having completed an additional lap as required by the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations,””
    But the FIA also said that he had the authority to do so as also written in the regulations, and that the calling in of the SC was NOT a mistake.

    1. But the FIA also said that he had the authority to do so as also written in the regulations, and that the calling in of the SC was NOT a mistake.

      So the FIA’s word is unquestionable?

      1. That’s not what I wrote, and you know it.

        But if Keith refers to their report/findings, then he should not misrepresent it (over and over again).

        1. Fred Fedurch
          12th July 2022, 23:02

          You have to realize, jff, this site is pretty much (Planet)PlutoF1 with better spelling/grammar.

  21. Masi was bad for F1, let’s pray we never hear of him again. Also, whoever approved his hiring him should be fired too.

  22. *payback for Silverstone

    1. On the end there is only one ranking that counts. Even on racefans

  23. When does he start his new job with Red Bull?

    1. He started that job last year. Now there is no longer a conflict of interest.
      Plus wages paid to snakes don’t count against the salary cap… It’s a win win for RBR.

  24. He brought too much controversy into the sport – unlike now with the new regime where there has not been a whiff of controversy or doubt in any of the decisions. Plus ca change…

  25. Tiaki Porangi
    12th July 2022, 23:25

    Moving back to his role on the V8 Supercars management set, where he was known for favouring the Red Bull Holden racing team (see 2018 season!), is he?
    I hope some journalist digs up around this guy in Australia. What will be unearthed would shake up the cosy world of F1 massively.

  26. I have an opinion
    12th July 2022, 23:43

    There were only two rabid apologists in this thread, and both had easily recognisably Dutch names, so it was simple to skip past everything but their first posts and have a nice sensible read.

    1. The Trump way of living

  27. Good riddance, he should have been sacked at the end of 2020 given he was getting worse over time and not better at his job. He refused to listen to any criticism and ultimately his I know best attitude was his downfall. The FIA were still responsible too for leaving him in the post despite the errors.

  28. Inevitable.

    He tried to be all at once . I just saw the DTS final episode where he says the race director is “friend, to, uh, umpire, to policeman, to safety officer”.
    No, that is wrong. The race director is not the umpire, stewards are the umpires. The race director is certainly not a friend, shouldn’t be one.

    He is only responsible for safety and being a policeman (i.e. finding misdemeanors and reporting it to the stewards).

    He unnecessarily got into stewarding and made questionable decisions – the positions bargaining in Saudi, not referring the Brazil turn 4 incident to stewards and the great Abu Dhabi goof-up.

    1. How would you describe Whiting then?
      He was more ‘friend’ than anything else.

      1. Part of the Masi saga is that he, as so many other successors in business or politics, became the target for a lot of built up disattisfaction that none wanted or dared to state earlier, and his relatively weak position was seen as an opportunity to expand the influence of the teams (Wolff did this much better, as he is politically cleverer than Horner). Whiting had ‘ruled’ F1 for the entirety of most drivers’ and team officials’ involvement in F1. The position of race director had become much more powerful as a result, especially when Mosley was succeeded by Todt. Where Mosley often involved himself in F1, Todt was more of a distant observer. To the latter’s credit, I’d say.

        Most of what Whiting did was fine, but that allowed the lesser aspects to remain unchallenged. Hopefully the FIA can bring things into a more balanced situation by strengthening the stewards, preventing one man rule by keeping multiple race directors involved, and refocus on the written rules rather than vague and undocumented guidelines.

  29. Red Bull should sign him. He knows how to help them ;)

  30. For goodness sake – let the matter rest!

    It is history now!

    1. That’s right, forgive and forget the Nazis, let the matter rest, it is history now.

      1. Wow, that is a bit of a stretch there

  31. Worth remembering that there were 3 races where Masi and the stewards completely lost the plot: Interlagos, where Verstappen was allowed to get away with one of the most absurd defenses in Formula 1’s history, driving way off track to stop Hamilton from passing him. Simply unprecedented. The complete meltdown of the Saudi Arabian GP, including what many people thought was a brake test. And finally the Abu Dhabi finale. It’s not just that Masi threw away the regulation book to decide on the spot that there had to be a race in the final laps – it’s the way that allowing only those lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to unlap made it blatant that we weren’t seeing a race between the full field anymore but just an orchestrated final showdown – but one on absurdly unfair terms with one driver on fresh tyres, the other on well-worn. After a season of close competition and intense rivalry, the race director decided the season outcome. All the umbrage over his role is justified.

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