While Abu Dhabi may be the final blow for Michael Masi, a report claims “other decisions” made last season had already led to some in the paddock losing faith in the FIA race director.
Last year’s Formula 1 World Championship had it all, topped by two incredible drivers – Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton – racing wheel-to-wheel for the World title.
When all was said and done it was Verstappen who was crowned the World Champion, the Red Bull driver taking it in controversial circumstances although no fault of his own.
The blame for that belongs with FIA race director Masi.
The Australian made the season finale in Abu Dhabi more about himself than the drivers as he made the unprecedented call to allow only the drivers between race leader Hamilton and second placed Verstappen to unlap themselves.
That opened the door for a final lap shoot-out for the race win and the title, Verstappen taking both.
That Yas Marina decision though, was just the last in a long line of controversial calls made throughout the 2021 season.
It started at the very first race in Bahrain where drivers and pundits felt the rules were changed mid-race regarding the track limits.
Then there was Austria where drivers were penalised for forcing one another off the track only for Verstappen not to receive a penalty for a similar incident in Brazil.
The complaints ran almost from start to finish, damaging Masi’s credibility as Formula 1’s race director.
But while Mercedes have denied reports that they reached an agreement with the FIA that would result in Masi’s departures, others in the paddock may be calling for his head.
According to Motorsport-Total.com, decisions late in the season have ’caused some drivers and teams to lose faith’ in the Australian.
‘For example’, the report says, ‘the reaction to the Turn 4 battle between Hamilton and Verstappen in Brazil left some drivers confused as to what is and isn’t allowed in wheel-to-wheel duels on the track.
‘The handling of the incidents in Saudi Arabia also caused a lot of criticism of the race management’.
It remains to be seen whether Masi will continue in Formula 1 this season.
A new organisational structure chart released by the FIA earlier this month had some suspecting that the decision had already been made as Masi’s name did not appear.
However, SoyMotor.com reports that this new chart is solely related to the change of president – Mohammed Ben Sulayem replacing Jean Todt – rather than implying that Masi’s time is over.
The FIA are currently investigating the decisions made at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with the findings set to be released on 18 March.
Wasn’t only Abu Dhabi that had teams/drivers losing faith in Masi
It wasn't only at the Abu Dhabi GP where drivers and teams had lost their faith in Michael Masi.