‘Untenable’ Michael Masi situation a ‘headache’ for F1

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Formula One race director Michael Masi’s position is said to be “untenable” following the controversy of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and is causing a “headache” for the FIA ahead of the 2022 season.

Lewis Hamilton is reportedly awaiting the results of the FIA’s inquest into the season-ending race, which saw Max Verstappen beat him to the title on the final lap of the campaign, amid suggestions that he could walk away from the sport.

Mercedes and Hamilton were left furious after a number of decisions from Masi during the closing stages of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix helped Verstappen win a maiden championship title.

Mercedes appealed the race result, eventually withdrawing their protest after stating that they would work with Formula One to improve how races are officiated moving forwards.

However, with Mercedes and Hamilton still awaiting the results of the FIA’s internal inquest into how the race was allowed to unfold, Sky Sports News have reported that there could be “too much noise” around Masi ahead of the start of the new season in March for him to continue in his position.

“There’s no question about it, Masi is under pressure, and I can reveal that teams other than Mercedes briefed against him over the course of the 2021 season, and were critical of him,” Sky Sports’ Craig Slater said.

Is it the case now that his position is untenable? Would announcing his departure from the role of race director, perhaps, by the FIA at least signal a fresh start in that sense?

“He’s a good man, a very kind man. I enjoyed dealing with him on a personal basis myself, but is there now too much noise around his position, too much controversy for him to take up that high-profile role as the referee of Formula 1?

“This is a headache for F1. They do not want to be talking about the controversies of Abu Dhabi, when they really want to be getting into what they think is a good news story of F1 in 2022, with new cars, hopefully maybe three or four teams involved in the title fight and multiple drivers – but there isn’t much the commercial rights holder can do.”

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