Ferrari defend Masi, outline post-Abu Dhabi steps

Jamie Woodhouse
Carlos Sainz in action for Ferrari in Abu Dhabi. 2021 December

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow, at Yas Marina Circuit on December 11, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto sympathises with F1 race director Michael Masi, who had the hardest job “on the planet” in Abu Dhabi.

The title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ended in controversial fashion, not due to Max Verstappen or Lewis Hamilton but because of Masi’s intervention.

The FIA have launched an investigation after what transpired during a late Safety Car period, when Masi allowed only the lapped cars between P2 runner Verstappen and leader Hamilton to overtake, before resuming the race with one lap to go.

Having stopped for fresh tyres, Verstappen passed Hamilton on that final lap, thus snatching the title.

Criticism of Masi has been rife since, not least from Mercedes, but Binotto stressed it must be taken into account how difficult a position Masi was in.

The matter was discussed at a pre-Christmas meeting of the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council.

Lewis Hamilton behind the Safety Car during the Abu Dhabi GP. Yas Marina December 2021.
Lewis Hamilton leads the train behind the Safety Car during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Yas Marina December 2021.

“On what happened in Abu Dhabi, I think whatever decision he would have taken, I see someone who will be happy, someone who will be unhappy,” Binotto told GPFans.

“I think his job was the most difficult job on the planet at that time.

“For all, it’s important that lessons are learned if any.

“I see what could be important within the F1 Commission. We discussed all the events and the situations and identified if there is any improvement we could make for the future.

“That’s the mandate from the World Council, which is the most important one.”


Binotto felt it was not his place to give an opinion on what went down in Abu Dhabi, but made it clear Ferrari are happy to sit down with all parties and discuss the situation.

“As Ferrari, again, very happy to sit down with all the other team principles, the FIA, F1, to discuss if something could have been done in a different way,” he said.

“Judging the decisions would be wrong from my side because I believe, again, it was a very difficult call.

“It seems there are proper reasons why they (the FIA) managed it that way, maybe something different could have been done. Again, difficult to judge.

“As I said, someone would be happy and another one not. That’s no doubt.”