Red Bull team principal Christian Horner wanted the other team bosses to show some support for Michael Masi, something which they didn’t.
The long and infamous controversy surrounding former Race Director Michael Masi was finally put to rest last week after his sacking. Since his controversial decision making in Abu Dhabi last December, fans and several notable figures in F1 had been calling for his dismissal.
Mercedes drier Lewis Hamilton was inches away from winning his eight World Title at the 2021 season finale. That was before a safety car, followed by Masi’s decision to have lapped cars pass it with just a lap remaining, took everything away from him.
It presented Red Bull’s Max Verstappen with undue advantage, before the race resumed on the final lap. Verstappen passed a helpless Hamilton to win his first Title, leaving the Mercedes team infuriated.
Masi is out as Race Director! But will get new position in FIA. Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas will alternate the race director role
— The F1 Word (@f1word) February 17, 2022
F1 acknowledged that they needed to change some rules going into the 2022 campaign. They even launched a commission that would look into the events of Abu Dhabi. And to make sure that the same mistakes aren’t repeated.
Other than altering some rules, F1 also made the widely anticipated call of firing Masi. The Aussie won’t be race director 2022 onwards, and has been replaced by Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas.
Disappointed to see that no other team voiced support for Masi, says the Red Bull boss
All F1 team principals were present during the FIA’s meeting in London earlier this month. According to Horner, no one voiced their support for Masi in the gathering.
“At the meeting in London, I made it clear that Masi needs more support,” said Horner. “I am disappointed that no one shared this opinion. Red Bull was the only team to support Masi.”
Some F1 figures including Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso were adamant that Masi wasn’t to blame. The rules in the sport had been inconsistently implemented for a long time, and the problem was much larger than the 44-year old race official.
Christian Horner has spoken on Michael Masi’s dismissal as race director 👀 pic.twitter.com/Xsj9dBmD4M
— ESPN F1 (@ESPNF1) February 22, 2022
Verstappen himself publicly spoke in favor of Masi. The Dutch driver feels that F1, along with the team bosses used him as a scapegoat for the wrong rules they themselves had made.
In particular, the fact that team principals were allowed to talk to Masi mid-race, influenced a lot of decisions he made according to Verstappen.