Why Max Verstappen Slam ‘Very Unfair’ decision to sack Michael Masi after Abu Dhabi Revealed

Max Verstappen has slammed the decision to remove Michael Masi as FIA race director following the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Masi faced heavy criticism in the aftermath of the 2021 season finale, which saw Verstappen pass Hamilton on the final lap to win his maiden championship. This led to Masi getting sacked by the FIA, with the Australian replaced by World Endurance Championship and DTM race directors Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich.



‘Because I think he was a very capable and good race director. I have nothing against the new race directors – because I think they are also very capable and very good race directors. ‘But, personally, and for Michael, I felt really sad and I sent him a text as well.’ Masi held the position since the start of the 2019 season after the sudden passing of former race director Charlie Whiting.





The events of Abu Dhabi have led to a change of system in 2022 with Freitas and Wittich getting additional assistance in what the FIA has compared to the VAR system in football. Verstappen added that he felt Masi could have improved with more assistance and time to gain experience. The criticism of Masi stemmed from his decisions during the final laps of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix –



When Hamilton was cruising towards an almost certain victory, which would have sealed his record eighth championship. Williams driver Nicholas Latifi crashed late on, which brought out the safety car as debris on the track needed to be cleared up. Red Bull pitted Verstappen for new tyres, while Mercedes kept Hamilton out on his old compound, knowing that by pitting first Red Bull would do the opposite and inherit track position by keeping Verstappen out.



Masi initially gave the instruction that lapped cars would not be able to unlap themselves, only to make a U-turn on the decision and allow the five cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to pass the Mercedes driver. This gave Verstappen a free run at Hamilton on the final lap on much fresher tyres – a situation which the Dutchman took full advantage to pass the Brit and win the championship.

Hamilton said he felt it would take time to rebuild his trust in the FIA after losing ‘a little bit of faith within the system’ following the events at the Yas Marina circuit. Pre-season testing has got underway ahead of the 2022 season, as teams prepare their cars to make sure they’re in the best shape possible ahead of next month’s opener in Bahrain.


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