Martin Brundle has condemned the leaked chat between Michael Masi and Red Bull during the controversial Abu Dhabi GP. The Australian did not apply the rules correctly in the title finale and decided who win the championship.
Martin Brundle has blasted the leaked Michael Masi audio from the Abu Dhabi GP as “hugely unacceptable”.
In the clip, which was made available by F1 in December, but only began to circulate on social media this week, Masi appears to deliver exactly what Red Bull were asking for in the closing stages of the controversial title-deciding race at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“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.”
Dan Istitene/Getty Images for Tata Communications)
Before Wheatley ended: “And then we’ve got a motor race on our hands.”
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 F1 championship.
A huge backlash ensued on social media after the conversation began to circulate and Brundle has described what he heard as “hugely unacceptable”.
It proved pivotal as Max Verstappen ultimately stormed to victory in the desert when he had appeared to be out of the contest.
And the Red Bull driver’s triumph meant he won his maiden F1 title as Lewis Hamilton was denied a record eighth championship courtesy of Masi’s controversial decision.
“It’s not new news, and also I think you have to understand that it’s not necessarily telling Michael Masi something he didn’t already know,” Brundle told Sky Sports.
“Let’s not assume it’s giving Masi information he didn’t already know in terms of what he could and couldn’t do in terms of the lapped pack.
“Of course it’s really uncomfortable, and a lot of people are unhappy: Hamilton fans, Mercedes fans.
He added: “And you don’t even have to be a Lewis Hamilton fan to think that forever he should be an eight-time world champion.
“Because, for me, the really crucial regulation that wasn’t carried out was that the safety car should have come in at the end of the following lap.
“Hugely unacceptable. I met so many fans that were new to Formula 1 last year particularly, and fans in general, that were hugely upset by what happened.”
Hamilton was en route to a record eighth championship when Williams driver Nicholas Latifi crashed several laps before the end of the title decider at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last December.
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.
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.