Former FIA President Jean Todt is concerned about the effect the 2021 F1 championship showdown has had on Michael Masi, revealing that he kept in touch with the beleaguered Race Director over the winter.
Masi came under fire after his handling of a Safety Car at the Abu Dhabi finale had a direct impact on the outcome of the Drivers’ Championship, with Max Verstappen overhauling Lewis Hamilton for the race victory and title on the final lap.
Following criticism from Mercedes and fans in the aftermath of the race, a full investigation was launched by the FIA into Masi’s decisions, with a report set to be released on the eve of the new season on 18 March.
Todt reveals talks with Masi after the Abu Dhabi finale
Recently, the FIA’s Peter Bayer – Single-Seater Manager and Sports Secretary for the governing body – admitted that Masi might be replaced ahead of the 2022 season, with rumours continuing to swirl about his future.
This admission appeared to trigger an update from the FIA, which stressed that no decisions had been taken on the outcome of their analysis.
As the wait goes on for the FIA to publish their report, and to find out if Masi will keep his role, Todt has shown support for his former colleague and hopes the Australian can overcome his recent experiences.
“I’ve been speaking with him, not specifically about what happened in Abu Dhabi, but about him as a human being,” Todt told Sky Sports F1.
The Frenchman, who left office in December, added: “I hope he will be OK.”
F1 can recover, but waiting for a review is “disappointing”
Meanwhile, McLaren boss Zak Brown expressed his optimism that F1 will learn from the situation, though questioned why it will take until the start of the new campaign for the investigation to be completed.
“It [F1] can definitely regain its credibility,” Brown told the UK’s F1 broadcaster.
“It’s not the first time we’ve had a referee make a controversial call. This one happened to be pretty big, but I think the sport will have learned by it.
“The only thing I’m a little bit disappointed about is that we might share those results at the first race of the year.
“It doesn’t take that long to do an investigation. Let’s get it done, let’s go to the first race of the year talking about the first race of the year – not the last race of last year.”
With huge changes being made to the F1 rule book for 2022, our journalists Dieter Rencken, Mike Seymour and Thomas Maher look ahead to the new season.