Michael Masi receives Sebastian Vettel support with FIA race director under the cosh

Michael Masi’s future as Formula 1’s race director remains uncertain as his handling of the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year remains under intense scrutiny

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Michael Masi might feel like he doesn’t have many allies in Formula 1 at the moment, as the fallout from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix rages on.

Many fans and pundits have called for him to be replaced as race director, as many feel he unfairly denied Lewis Hamilton an eighth world crown with his actions at the end of last season’s title-decider.

His spur-of-the-moment decisions to allow lapped cars between Max Verstappen and Hamilton to overtake the pack, before calling in the safety car early, have been slammed by many.

The FIA has been investigating what happened and is due to reveal its findings next week, as Masi’s career hangs in the balance.







Sebastian Vettel has spoken up in Michael Masi’s defence
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Image:

James Moy Photography/PA Images)

The Australian has found at least one new ally, however, in the form of someone whose reputation and opinion carry significant weight in the F1 world.

Sebastian Vettel, a four-time world champion and a veteran of the sport, has come out in support of the under-siege race director.

Asked about what he made of the whole situation at Aston Martin’s official 2022 car launch on Thursday, the German said: “For Michael, it has been a pity.

“There are two interests clashing – one is the sport and the other is the show. I don’t care so much about the show because I look at the sport from a competitive point of view.

“Obviously, it is not the easiest to be in the shoes of the referee, or Michael’s shoes, but he has done a great job, particularly after filling in for [former race director] Charlie Whiting who died so suddenly.

“Michael has been very focused and determined to do a good job. I don’t know what is in store for his future but I hope he sticks around because overall he has done a very good job.”







Michael Masi’s job as F1’s race director remains under threat
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Image:

James Moy Photography/PA Images)

Vettel went on to say he feels the good work Masi has done since being thrust into the role in 2019 should not be overshadowed by one high-profile incident – even if the FIA’s investigation finds that he made a significant error.

“There was a lot of controversy surrounding the last race but that shouldn’t be, because if you look at the bigger picture he has done really well,” the German added.

“The main thing moving forward is that there is clarity in these situations so no further questions are asked.”

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