FIA investigating fresh radio messages casting doubt on Abu Dhabi F1 title decider

New footage has emerged from a conversation involving Michael Masi and Jonathan Wheatley during last season’s title-deciding Abu Dhabi GP.

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The FIA is due to investigate fresh radio messages from the controversial title decider at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year.

The sport’s governing body claim they are aware of the conversation that seems to point further to race director Michael Masi reacting to the wishes of Red Bull towards the race’s conclusion.

A spokesman for Formula 1’s governing body confirmed: “We are aware of this and it is part of the investigation.”

In the clip which has been circulated on social media, Masi delivers exactly what Red Bull were asking for in the closing stages of the controversial title-deciding race at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.






Michael Masi’s controversial handling of the Abu Dhabi GP is still a major talking point

“Obviously those lapped cars, you don’t need to let them go right the way around and catch up the back of the pack,” Red Bull’s sporting director Jonathan Wheatley could be heard saying.

Masi simply replied with: “Understood.”

Wheatley then added: “You need to let them go.”

To which Masi responded: “Understood, just give me a second.”

Before Wheatley ended: “And then we’ve got a motor race on our hands.”

After the race, the irate Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff told Masi over the radio that what he has done is “not right”.

Masi replies: “Toto, it’s called a motor race, OK?”

Hamilton was cruising to victory when five laps before the conclusion, a Nicholas Latifi crash dramatically changed the landscape of the race and the title battle.

The safety car was brought onto the track and Verstappen opted for a change in tyres.

FIA race director Michael Masi initially instructed that lapped cars could not overtake the safety vehicle until it left the track, meaning there would not have been time for Verstappen to get behind his rival.

However, after his chat with Wheatley, Masi later controversially changed his mind, allowing the cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to unlap themselves before ordering the safety car off the track.







Masi’s decisions had a direct hand in the outcome of the title decider
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Image:

Getty Images)

Therefore, the 24-year-old could get on the British driver’s tail before overtaking him in a one-lap shootout, benefiting from driving on far newer tyres.

There were still more cars that should have been able to unlap themselves, according to the rules.

It is widely accepted that Masi did not apply the rules correctly in that particular scenario and had a direct hand in deciding who would win the championship.

As a result, there have been calls for him to lose his job and the enquiry into the events that transpired at the Yas Marina Circuit last December is ongoing.

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