Marko partly blames Hamilton for Masi departure

Mark Scott
Lewis Hamilton waves on the podium. Abu Dhabi December 2021.

Lewis Hamilton waves to the crowd on the podium at the season finale. Abu Dhabi December 2021.

Dr Helmut Marko feels Lewis Hamilton needs to take partial responsibility for the decision which led to Michael Masi being removed as F1’s race director.

As part of an FIA restructure following the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December 2021, Masi was ultimately axed from his role and has been replaced by WEC race director Eduardo Freitas and ex-DTM race director Niels Wittich on a rotating basis.

They will be supported by the late Charlie Whiting’s right-hand man Herbie Blash and also a control room with assistants, much like we see in football in their adoption of the VAR system.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner revealed that the team have been pretty much a sole voice in their defence and support Masi, while now reigning World Champion Max Verstappen feels Masi was “thrown under the bus” by the FIA.

And now another senior figure in the Red Bull camp has had his say, with Marko claiming that Hamilton’s prolonged silence on the events of Abu Dhabi somehow played a role in Masi being axed.

“By his silence, he only wanted to show his dissatisfaction with the situation and the decisions,” Marko is quoted as having told RTL.

“Part of that behaviour subsequently also led to Masi being removed from his role.

“I don’t think it’s right. You have to look at his performances over the years.

“If Masi had everything they are going to enter now at his disposal, it would have been easier for him to decide, a video referee and an advisor by his side.

“Michael is now being sacrificed for that.”

Hamilton’s silence over the winter months created the perfect conditions of speculation and rumour to be created, with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff also adding further weight to the suggestion that the seven-time World Champion could quit Formula 1.


But Marko has said he never believed Hamilton would leave the sport entirely because there was zero movement in the driver market to replace him ahead of the new 2022 season.

He said: “There were clear indications that Hamilton would not stop because there was no movement in the driver market.

“If Hamilton had informed Mercedes that he would take a step back, they would have started looking for a replacement en masse. However, that was not the case. not noticeable.”

Hamilton’s current contract with Mercedes runs to the end of the 2023 season, but he is now set to be joined by Max Verstappen as the highest-paid Formula 1 driver thanks to a new bumper deal for the Dutchman.


PlanetF1 Verdict


Hamilton partly blamed for Masi exit

Helmut Marko believes that Lewis Hamilton is partly to blame for Michael Masi's exit.