Alex Wurz doesn’t think that Michael Masi did anything wrong or outside the regulations in Abu Dhabi.
With just a few laps left of the season, Lewis Hamilton led the race under the Safety Car with Max Verstappen in P2, but five lapped midfield cars were between the two title contenders.
Given that the only two options were seemingly to either to let all lapped cars overtake and unlap themselves, meaning the race would surely finish behind the SC, or leave them where they were, it looked almost certain that the win and title would be Hamilton’s.
However, Masi then made the very much unconventional decision to allow only the cars between the frontrunners and no others to overtake so that the race could finish in racing conditions and Verstappen would be right behind Hamilton.
The Dutchman ultimately passed him to seal the title, and Masi was heavily criticised by Mercedes and many others for his handling of the situation with many feeling he had broken the rules to set up a grandstand finish.
GPDA chairman Wurz doesn’t feel the race director did anything wrong though.
“Not with the sporting regulations, not with any contradictions,” he told Speedweek.
“But there are situations and paragraphs that can be interpreted one way or another. That is what resulted in these ambiguous situations. But that has always existed in sport, where referees, who are human, make decisions in fractions of a second.
“Overall, it was an extremely difficult situation for a race director with the pressure of social media and mass media, but I see Michael’s performance as extremely solid. He knows the sporting regulations very well.”
Toto Wolff: "You need to reinstate the lap before, that's not right."
Michael Masi: "Toto, it's called a motor race. We went car racing."
The race director coming in hot there 🔥#F1 #AbuDhabiGP 🇦🇪 pic.twitter.com/AkPyWYOTAb
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) December 12, 2021
Over the course of the final lap and finish of the race, Toto Wolff could be heard shouting at Masi over the radio, telling him he was wrong and that he needed to make the finishing order at the end of the penultimate lap the result.
It wasn’t the first time this year that a team member has been heard criticising Masi, and Wurz isn’t a fan of such messages being broadcast to the public as they have been in 2021.
“The way the season came to a head was also so difficult,” he added.
“The FIA is also in this process of openness and transparency, but I see a very fine line there. If I was them, I would backtrack a bit. For these insights into the business between the team bosses and the race management, I would do what Charlie did and not broadcast it.
“It’s not much different than it used to be, but the situation has often been precarious this year.”
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