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F1 chief ‘set for axe’ following Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chaos

Formula 1 race director Michael Masi is reportedly set to lose his job following his role in the controversial conclusion to Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which saw Max Verstappen triumph over Lewis Hamilton.

The Australian, who has served as F1 chief since 2019, has faced intense criticism since the race amid claims that he ignored the sport’s regulations in order to generate the sensational final lap which saw Belgian-Dutchman Verstappen pass Hamilton to claim his first ever world title. 

Masi’s critics maintain that he gave an incorrect go-ahead for the safety car to be removed from the track following an earlier accident involving Williams driver Nicholas Latifi, affording Verstappen – who was on fresher tires – an opportunity to eat into Hamilton’s lead before passing him on Turn Five and fighting off two desperate overtake attempts from the Englishman before he crossed the finish line.

The furore stems from Masi’s initial decision to inform drivers that they would not be allowed to un-lap themselves – before apparently changing his mind and allowing some, not all, of the field to do so.


The five cars that did un-lap themselves were the same five whose track positions were between first place Hamilton and second place Verstappen. Cars placed elsewhere were not allowed the same opportunity.

Masi also appeared to ignore guidelines which state that the safety car is to be withdrawn on the lap after cars un-lap themselves, instead ordering its removal to allow one final lap of racing between the two world title rivals. 

Had the correct regulations been followed, argued Hamilton’s Mercedes team afterwards, their driver would have crossed the line while the yellow flag was being displayed, winning both the race and the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship.

Masi’s job could be under threat after his apparent manipulation of the rules which led to the Hollywood-style ending, according to Fox Sports.



Masi’s role in the chaotic finish to the race came under further scrutiny when an incident involving driver Lando Norris at Germany’s iconic Nurburgring track was again dragged up following the Verstappen-Hamilton drama.

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On that occasion, Masi allowed for the entire field of lapped cars – which number 10 drivers – to un-lap themselves while the safety car was deployed. It was a move which led to extreme criticism of Masi, with the move taking a full six laps to complete.


He said at the time: “There’s a requirement in the sporting regulations to wave all the lapped cars past. From that point, it was position six onwards that were still running [on the lead lap], so between 10 or 11 cars had to un-lap themselves.”

That statement, which he made in October 2020, appears to be in direct contrast to his decision-making last Sunday. 

Masi has long been considered a thorn in the side of some of F1’s top teams for what they see as his selective application of the rules. If the speculation is accurate, it seems that he might not be around much longer to court controversy. 

https://ift.tt/3e0twSx 15, 2021 at 10:16PM
from RT – Daily news


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