Hamilton was “robbed” of championship win by F1 race director Masi – Wolff

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has accused FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi of costing Lewis Hamilton the world championship through his controversial handling of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The team confirmed on Thursday it will not appeal over the outcome of Sunday’s championship-deciding round. However Wolff remains furious over the conclusion of the race, in which Masi ordered a restart at short notice, having only allowed a portion of the lapped drivers to un-lap themselves, presenting Max Verstappen with an opportunity to attack Hamilton for the lead of the race.

Wolff made it clear he blames the race director for Hamilton losing the title to Verstappen, and stated he is “not interested in having a conversation with Michael Masi”.

“The decisions that have been taken in the last four minutes of this race have robbed Lewis Hamilton of a deserved world championship,” said Wolff. “His driving, particularly in the last four races, was faultless.

“He had a commanding lead on Sunday in Abu Dhabi from the get-go. He won the start and he never gave the lead away again. And robbing him in the last lap of the race is unacceptable.

“That’s why from a personal standpoint, from a professional standpoint, my values, my sense of integrity, just isn’t compatible to the decisions that have been made on Sunday. And it is up to the FIA to decide going forward how these decisions, these situations can be avoided.”

The FIA said yesterday it will begin a “detailed analysis and clarification exercise” in response to the controversy. Wolff said Masi’s handling of the restart clearly contradicted how previous races had been run and was the latest in a series of unnecessary rows.

“If you look at most of the controversies that have happened this year it was about sporting decisions on the track, the inconsistency of the execution of the regulations on track,” he said.

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“It’s one thing to drive hard and to have difference of opinion among the drivers and the teams. It is in the nature of the game. But inconsistent decision-making leads to controversies, leads to polarisation and that was the ground for many of the totally unnecessary controversies on the track.”

Masi’s decision to allow the drivers in front of Verstappen to un-lap themselves, but not those behind him, contradicted how he handled a race at the Nurburgring last year, said Wolff.

“How can it be that 14 months ago at the Eifel Grand Prix the explanation that was given was exactly the contrary to what has happened on Sunday?” he said.

“The explanation that was given that the reason why the Safety Car was out there so long is that all cars need to un-lap themselves with the explanation that this is following the sporting regulations. Not only the decision has been taken in a totally opposite way but an explanation is being made 180-degree different to what happened 14 months ago.”

“If you decide to deploy the Safety Car there’s clear regulations in place,” Wolff added. “The regulations are that all cars need to un-lap themselves before the race can be restarted. And only in the following lap, once all cars have un-lapped themselves, the Safety Car may come in.

“None of that happened. None of that happened. Randomly, cars were allowed to overtake and to un-lap themselves.

“Why was Carlos Sainz not given the opportunity to win the race? Why were the cars left in between there. Why was the Safety Car pulled in against what the regulations say? So the ad-hoc decision-making just caused this mayhem.”

Wolff insisted the team’s objections to the handling of the race took nothing away from Verstappen and Red Bull’s triumph.

“I would have been totally okay with Max and Red Bull winning the championship on Sunday,” he said. “And this situation has nothing to do with Max. He is a worthy champion, his driving is exceptional and Red Bull are a fierce competitor and I have the greatest respect for the people working there.

“So this has nothing to do with them. I would have loved to sit here and avoided all these discussions and the damage that has been done to the sport by just unsporting and unfair decision-making on Sunday.

“So the FIA needs to decide how they are going forward. We had a good dialogue with the FIA over the last days. The commission that its set in place I have trust and faith that we will formulate together with all competitors the drivers and the other teams the right decisions and actions to avoid such a scenario in the future.”

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2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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321 comments on “Hamilton was “robbed” of championship win by F1 race director Masi – Wolff”

  1. Constantijn Blondel
    16th December 2021, 12:18

    Toto, I get it … but it’s time to let it go now. Breathe … deeply … and let it go.

    1. He will, and should, only let it go if and when changes are made to stop such a farce from ever being able to happen again.

      1. So he will never let it go…

      2. “Breathe … deeply … and let it go.” Too true. Herr Wolff does not come off as a “Professional”.

        1. Actually, he’s been very professional. His actions have been reasonable, his tone, while angry, has not once referenced Masi’s heritage, his paternity, or suggested that he deliberately threw the race to Verstappen.

          Wolff is acting on behalf of his entire team, and while people want to nitpick and set up straw-man arguments, the truth is, the protest was justified, the appeal would have been justified, but he’s right that it would harm the sport, Mercedes, and Verstappen– because the chances of the appeal not going Mercedes’s way is roughly zero.

          Dropping the appeal once the FIA agrees to review house is probably the best outcome for all.

          At least he hasn’t accused Max of trying to kill Hamilton (in contrast to another team principal a few months ago).

          1. Gregory Feustel
            16th December 2021, 21:58

            I’m not a Hamilton fan nor a Mercedes fan, but I like Toto Wolff and think he’s a class act. I feel he handled this as well as he could have and did so with diplomacy while putting forth just how displeased he was. That said….great finish and congrats Mad Max

          2. Its a nice attempt to avoid responsibility for the bad strategy the team used in this last race.
            They had 6 corners before the pitlane when the SC was called out.
            6 corners to decide what to gamble… they did the wrong gamble.
            Of course in hindsight easy to say. But correct.
            Hamilton knew it the moment a SC was called and asked for pitstop.
            They decided to stay on track, as they did some laps earlier with the VSC.
            They kept a car with 40 laps worn tires on track… the result is known.
            Masi created the circumstances but not the result.. that was pure Mercedes work.

          3. erikje
            Thanks, you saved me a whole bunch of typing.
            The strategy was there for all to see and there was ample time to do-it. They didn’t and that was that.
            Hamilton knew where it was going.

          4. Completely agreed @erikje. Mercedes botched up the strategy and they are making Masi to cover-up their blunder. The lead driver and the team a proving they are sore losers.

          5. Absolutely Erikje. But some chose to conveniently not see. James Allison at least held up some dignity at the awards. Toto needs to go. He totally undermined the 8th title in a row PR/Marketing message. That represents millions of dollars. I would say he can no longer be held in this position and needs to be replaced. Saw Dieter Rencken contemplate about the same in an article. Chances are that Mercedes is a torn team as a result of Toto’s behavior as well.

          6. WRT the strategy, this has been explained over and over: It was the sensible call given the information at the time, both for the VSC and the full SC. I’m not going to go into it again because, at this point, the only conclusion I can see is that you are wilfully ignoring the responses.

      3. A championship is not won in a race. I’ve said it before, if every race in the season ended exactly like it did but Abu Dhabi had been the first race, it would have had the same exact effect on the championship but neither Wolff nor anyone else, would have been demanding Masi’s immediate replacement for the rest of the entire season. And there would be no angst over if Lewis would hang up his helmet all season. Various officials have made bad calls since there were officials. There were other bad calls and stupid rules this season that had a bigger effect on the championship. People rightfully complained and moved on. Whoever decides if Masi stays will make that call. I’m not going to worry about it either way.

        1. But it was the last race. It was the championship deciding race. Pretending it’s just like any other race is fatuous.

        2. Sorry, in this case it was LAST RACE that was determining the win as both came with equal points.

        3. In this case it was.
          When the top two contenders arrive at the final race tied on points, then the Championship IS won at the last race. Ergo, in a race!

          1. I dont think the last race should be given more importance than any of the other races… The championship is one as a result of the points earned in all of the races not just the last one…@Hoosier makes a great point here…

    2. He has let it go, they won’t appeal the championship. But what Masi did and how he has handled this entire championship season has to be investigated and changed. There has been contradictions in the application of rules throughout the season with that final race having rules completely ignored.

      The entire F1 paddock has to sit down and sort this out to minimise the number of controverises because this season it well and truly got completely out if hand largely because of how Masi conducted himself as race director. Things need to change in how the race director conducts himself, the support team he has around him, who is allowed to contact him during the race, and how the stewards apply the rules. We can not have another season of controversies created by the officials themselves.

      1. I have seen a hell of a WDC and Masi played a part in this. Let them race for example. The only one who was constantly whining was TW. Because these two drivers were fighting on the edge you got a lot of controversy. If you had LH or MV in a car 1 sec faster then any other car you don’t get such fisious fight. You need a referee who let them race.
        A lot of LH fans now declare this WDC as stolen because of the last race in which LH lost so dramatically the championship. Which i admit is harsh. But you can’t say over a whole season this WDC is stolen. LH was very lucky he was still in the WDC fight. Without a safety car during the Imola GP, tire failure from MV (Baku), Silverstone and Hungary MV was crowed to WDC after Qatar GP. In the last race round of the last round lady luck swung to MV to win a deserved WDC looking at the whole season

        1. You suddenly suffered from amnesia and forgot about Monza, Spa, Brazil, Saudi Arabia…

          Silverstone, in as much as the penalty went Lewis way, it was Max who turned into a car that clearly

          Imola… lewis had his car repaired during the red flag just like how Max’s car was repaired under the red flag in Hungary

          Baku – Well Redbull did tampered with the tyre pressure

        2. The difference is that what happened in the other situations were generally an application of the written rules in one form or another. Sometimes rulings go your way, sometimes they go against. I could list incidents which went in Max’s favour. That’s the luck of the draw.

          This wasn’t. This was throwing the rulebook out of the window to manufacture an exciting finish to the season. There is little to no chance that such a decision would be made outside a title-deciding finale: We have seen the safety car procedure played out dozens of times, and Masi has even said that he had no choice but to follow that procedure. That is surely a very different matter.

          1. I would agree if not for the very first race of the season, where Masi was totally all right ignoring track limit violations in turn 4 by Lewis for 29 times (the team was Warner a few times but no action was taken at all when Mercedes ignored the warning), only to suddenly change his stance completely when Red Bull told Max it was apparently OK to do so. Maybe not as spectacular as AD and already some time ago, but this too was ignoring the race rules. Impossible to prove, but seeing that race I think it would have been very improbable that Lewis would have beaten Max had Masi not ignored the rules for one driver but enforce them at the end of the race.
            I’m not saying two wrongs make a right, but it really has gone two ways.

          2. @ tielemst You just made his point. Masi should not be allowed to do what he want and ignore the rules, it doesn’t mater who benefits from his decisions. Is not the first time he is inconsistent… This time Hamilton was denied a victory because Masi chose to ignore the regulation, also Sainz, Leclerc and others were denied the chance to fight at the end. Next year who is going to be affected? Maybe Max, maybe somebody else. This is not about which driver won, FIA should just make sure the rules are implemented and one person can not change the championship result by ignoring the regulations.

        3. Horner never stopped moaning all season. Hence Wolff’s light-hearted and thoroughly justified “windbag” comment.

          1. Not only Horner, but also Verstappen. He complains out of reflex. He even complained that they were letting cars unlap themselves…

            He’s quick, so he preemptively whines and accuse others of the borderline tactics he regularly employs.

            Gamesmanship is one thing- you can root for Nadal over Federer if Nadal has to serve within the time shown on a clock (before a few years ago it was umpire discretion- so Nadal abused the soft rule).

            But Verstappen is a dangerous driver. His wheel literally landed within a foot of Hamilton’s face. The one time Lewis refused to back off from Max’s dangerous move Red Bull couldn’s stop whining about it. Every other time Max got almost no penalty. Wolff should have been screaming in Masi’s face after Saudi Arabia, when they won anyway. Now it looks like sour grapes…

      2. Yes, Mercedes have let it go by not proceeding with the appeal. he now needs to moderate his public comments to match Mercedes actions.

        if he keeps commenting like this, he will be accused of trying to achieve through social media what he was unwilling to do via the Court of Appeal

        1. Wolff doesn’t need an anonymous armchair expert on the internet telling him what to do.

    3. They will let him go.
      He already wrote his resignation with his recent statement and his appalin behaviour.
      For a brand like Mercedes someone without normal social behaviour can never be an ambassador of the team.
      Bye bye toto.

      1. someone without normal social behaviour can never be an ambassador of the team

        And you don’t think this applies equally to Horner?

        1. Both are to blame for the conclicts.
          But Toto is by far the worst of the two.
          But next year this will be solved.

          1. It’s hard:)

          2. I think we need to start reporting comments en masse that don’t adhere to the community we used to have in the old old old f1 fanatic days to be honest. Red Bulls pr tampering with the comments section has done real damage to it, attracting other trolls who see it as a playground.

      2. Utter rubbish as are most of your comments. So biased.

        1. And your comments aren’t? All comment have a bias in them. Racefans is very pro Hamilton/ Mercedes in their point of view compared to other racing websites.

          1. You must be new to racefans, perhaps not here when it was fanatics.

      3. Another one of your comments that is neither funny nor does it contribute anything to the racefans community, just solely to again attack Mercedes. Some of us on here have congratulated Max on his championship win and it is fully deserved but still see that Mercedes have a case. You on the other hand seem committed to comment on anything Mercedes or Hamilton does in a negative light.
        The only reason I bother writing anything is to call you out for what is now getting completely boring and difficult to read in amongst all the very well considered comments. Then I read this garbage. It’s time to stop.

        1. You on the other hand seem committed to comment on anything Mercedes or Hamilton does in a negative light.

          again one of your completely false observatons.
          I always said Hamilton is a great driver and deserved to win. But that’s not how it happened.
          Toto on the other hand is a very unreliable person and i will keep repeating that narrative.

          And about being biassed… come on really..
          Must be a bad joke in this forum.

          1. No you haven’t. You’ve been slagging Hamilton for years.

          2. “I always said Hamilton is a great driver and deserved to win.”

            Where? Come on let’s have a link to a comment then… You’re an insult to the decent people on this site that tell the truth.

      4. That’s a dream between you and your sock.

      5. Wow. Still delusional as ever, eh?

      6. Toto own 1/3 in the team, so as INEOS and Mercedes-AMG. They can only fire him if they agree together.

    4. Judging by those video, he already has

    5. It’s not over before Masi is either dead or banned from any FIA job for the rest of his life.

      1. Non of this will either happen. Can can recieve some high rank job in FIA instead, very most likely he will stay. Almost entire world supports his decision.

        1. @regs Which world would that be Mars? 🙄

    6. Hamilton was robbed. I’d say to Toto give F1 and FIA the finger and become an engine mfg in IndyCar for their new engine formula coming 2023.

      1. Nofanboysplease (@)
        17th December 2021, 9:12

        Looking at the last race? Yes you are right. The whole season? You could say Max was robbed a lot of points before the last race. It all started at race 1 when Lewis passed 29 times a track limit. Max did it ones and got s penalty. And this list of unluck, FIA penalties goes on and on.

    7. He mean’t to say Mikey robbed Lewis Hamilton of the title.
      How disingenuous, race direction robbed Hamilton because he should have not robbed the other drivers from having a go at the restart…

    8. I’m sure you are able to let go of very important work related inconveniencies in a matter of three days or less. The guy going as long as 4 is so mych subpar, I guess.

    9. It’s too much man pain to let go so quickly. If you play a sport you would understand.

      As toto said, we will not forget December 12, 2021 Abu Dhabi GP. The night Lewis’ 8th WDC was snatched from him on the penultimate lap by the FIA breaking their won rules.

      He is still the rightful 2021 champion in the eyes of anyone who stands for integrity, fairness and justice.

    10. Yes, F1 as a sport has gone !
      Bye Bye !

    11. Actually, I thought his comments were quite well-reasoned and to the point- especially considering he is not a lawyer and English is not his first language.

      He should be raging mad. Masi is incompetent at best- a cheater at worst. Actually I thought Wolff should have spoken up more vehemently earlier in the season.

      Red Bull cry “wolf” even when they are clearly in the wrong- out of habit.

  2. The guy does not know when to stop!

    1. True. Eight and counting.

      1. Constantijn Blondel
        16th December 2021, 13:14

        @ian dearing – you won this thread, as far as I’m concerned :D

        1. Lol, unless Masi is one of the Mods on this site then he’ll reorder the comments and pronounce RJ7 the winner.

  3. Please stop giving credits to either Wolff of Horner. I’m French but was in Amsterdam last Sunday in anticipation, we went car racing, point. I don’t like Masi decisions, but I even more hate Team Principal influencing the decisions.
    England, get over it

    1. @jeff1s
      I don’t get why some people keep claiming that this a British thing only. I’m a Finn and I can tell you that every Finnish media covering Formula One agrees that the ending of Abu Dhabi was a complete s%&# show.

      1. Same in the US. But it suits those who know it was wrong from having to admit it to make it about nationality instead.

      2. That’s strange; i have reading the Italian, Spanish, German, Belgium and Dutch newspapers and they all say; it was harsh for LH to lose in this kind of fashion but lady luck swung MV this time. Safety car and a last round shoot out. Nothing Masi, MV or LH could influence. Why Merc didn’t pitch btw (twice)

        1. That is incorrect. You have not been reading the Italian or Spanish newspapers. Otherwise you would tell a different story.

          My German is very poor, so I can’t speak with authority on that front, but I would be utterly shocked if they were not pointing out that the regulations were broken.

    2. Errr…. Toto is Austrian and Mercedes is German

    3. I’m not English either. Masi was wrong, stop making it a England vs FIA thing. This is teh first time Toto speaks so openly after the race, let the man speak his mind, what’s worng wit it?

    4. I am Swiss and I am still flabbergasted at the disgrace F1 did to itself. Pointing to rational arguments as being motivated by nationality isn’t exactly exempt from myside bias either.

      1. I am Chinese and I am glad Zhou will be in F1 next year!

    5. Let me – as a Dane – chime in and say that this SC issue was handled in the most fu…. way I have ever seen and spoiled it all. Don’t believe it was a consciously biased towards Max, but taken due to being completely stressed out. He did hand the trophy directly to Max on a silver platter. The second the lapped car decision was taken (against the regulation) it was obvious what the end result would be.

      1. The second the lapped car decision was taken (against the regulation) it was obvious what the end result would be.

        I bet someone like Bottas would not have been able to pass Saint Lewis on the last lap, even on softs.

        1. I’m not sure what the delta was, but I’d guess the (essentially) new softs were worth 4-5 seconds a lap. You cannot defend against that.

      2. Exactly.

        People seem to play the ‘English’ card only because it’s an easy way to apply a catch all disingenuous motive behind the view that the FIA manipulated the result in Max’s favour. I don’t think many neutrals would feel race or championship were won fairly.

  4. Masi denied from F1 the expectation that it could all go down to the very last race and be able to have a straight and clean fight

    1. I think the ‘it went down to the wire’ aspect to the championship is also overplayed. It felt throughout the final stretch that strange decisions were being made in order to keep Max and Lewis level, so the probability they’d be level is greatly increased – it’s not the fluke of nature some think it was.

  5. “not interested in having a conversation with Michael Masi”

    Is this the “constructive dialogue” Mercedes referred to in their letter?

    Seriously, the letter Mercedes wrote was very good, why ruin that with all this whining?

    1. I guess it won’t be Wolff taking part in the dialogue for the team

    2. Maybe that means Wolff is walking away from F1?
      Otherwise there’s a disciplinary coming his way!

      1. Or maybe it means Masi is walking away/will be asked to walk away from F1?
        Looks very possible that *that* conversation *has* taken place between Mercedes and the FIA and Wolff feels free to speak as he has about Masi.

    3. Well the dialogue would be with the FIA regarding the rules, not Masi.

    4. I think he is anticipating a constructive dialog with Masi’s successor. Seriously, what credit does the guy have left ?

    5. Is that similar to the whining Horner was doing when all of a sudden he couldn’t work out how MB got their car to go faster?
      Or the time the FIA agreed with MB that flexible areo surfaces were not allowed and designed a test to catch out the transgressors.
      There has been plenty of whining from both sides.

      1. when all of a sudden he couldn’t work out how MB got their car to go faster?

        not sure.. you mean before or after they were DSQ for an illegal wing?

        1. That was the DRS opening size and not the wing as you fully know.

          1. Thats part of the wing.. so whats your problem.
            They used an illegal wing.
            and got penalized for it.. fact!

          2. Get Off My Lawn
            17th December 2021, 17:45

            Red Bull used a wing on both cars which was found to be illegal due to its flexing at speed, which broke the rules around fixed rigidity. They were not only not disqualified, but given a further 4 races to change the wing before facing a penalty. Mercedes on the other hand, didn’t use an illegal wing. The rear wing of Hamilton’s car was found to have been damaged during racing and was found to be 0.1mm too wide on one side when fully opened. This not only isn’t cheating, but provided no meaningful advantage whatsoever, leaving Red Bull rather red faced after their accusations of cheating and excessive speed benefits. Nevertheless, Hamilton was disqualified on the spot. Verstappen fans followed this news with a torrent of comments saying “Rules are rules!”, which they have since decided isn’t a good mantra anymore.

    6. @uzsjgb What good would come of a conversation between Wolff and Masi anyway? Masi has proven repeatedly that he doesn’t take accountability or admit fault when he or the stewards have made an error in judgement or taken too long to react to a dangerous situation. Until Masi shows any kind of humility, Wolff might as well be talking to a brick wall.

      1. Until Masi shows any kind of humility, Wolff might as well be talking to a brick wall.

        This.

        Also, there is a good chance Masi will not be race director next year. What is the point talking to him in that case?

        Toto and Mercedes will take part in whatever “discussions” or “reviews” take place over this (although I expect it to be nothing more than a whitewash), and they will discuss things with whoever is race director next year, but talking to someone who may not have any bearing on the sport next year and who refuses to acknowledge even the smallest part of wrongdoing or unfairness would be pointless at this time.

      2. What good would come of a conversation between Wolff and Masi anyway?

        Looking at the very unprofessinal reaction by toto not much.
        But he will not be the one to do the talking so no real problem there.
        Are there already names from the rumour mill who will replace toto?

      3. Masi has proven repeatedly that he doesn’t take accountability or admit fault when he or the stewards have made an error ….

        Well, at least you can not blame for Hamilton being on 40 laps old hard tyres at the lap 58 shootout.

        1. Well, at least you can not blame Masi for Hamilton being on 40 laps old hard tyres at the lap 58 shootout.

    7. It means Masi is a goner; he will ‘resign’ or he will be sacked, take your pick! I believe it’s a key demand for the Mercs dropping the appeal!

    8. mwahahaaha excellent point dude, love it :p

  6. Oh my god, stop it already!

    The same Toto who said “please Masi, no safety car” ……….

    1. Verstappen was ”robbed” so many times during the season but none of that matters huh? Getting sickening this whining from Toto. If Verstappen weren’t robbed Hamilton wouldn’t have won the title even if he finished under SC.
      Also, WHY DOES NO ONE RECOGNISE THE FACT THAT HAMILTON COULD’VE PITTED FOR NEW TYRES JUST LIKE VERSTAPPEN. Whenever there’s a SC there’s risk/reward decisions. Mercedes got it wrong because they got hung up trying to advocating just like the entire season. And all hybdrig-era for all we know.

      1. This has all been done to death, you’re incorrect.

        1. Except I’m not. Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right, buddy.

      2. This was not just a case of Masi’s dodgy decission “for the show”

        This was not just a case of shoot-themselves-in-the-foot strategy by Merc

        This was mostly a case of p:ss-poor driving by the Knighted One, who couldn’t be bothered to defend the interior line and left the door wide open. Not susrprisingly, Max came in.

        Later at the backstraight the Merc was clearly faster, it came alongside the RBR, even a bit ahead. But Max was defending the interior line and the Knighted One could not pass

        That is the difference between a pretty decent racer (not awesome, simply competent. For awesome, watch Checo’s defense earlier in the race) and a vastly overrated, low-average chauffeur.

  7. Oh man, they were probably forced to write the letter from up the chain of command in Mercedes. Hamilton announced he won’t participate in the gala and Susie Wolff called it a robbery also.

    1. Susie Wolff called it a robbery also.

      susie too?
      Then it must be true.

      1. late insight

      2. I believe you, sister

  8. I think this pretty much confirms that Masi’s replacement is a done deal. I don’t think Toto would personally attack Masi if there was any chance that FIA would take Masi’s side and keep him as a race director for next season.

    1. I’ve defended him all season, but up until that last decision he at least followed the rules in one form or another. However, a race director who throws out the rulebook and makes something up on the spot, completely against his own previous statements on the rules, deserves no place in any sporting competition. Also, a sporting regulator who doesn’t admit that such actions are, putting the very best possible light on it, unsporting doesn’t deserve any respect.

    2. @hotbottoms Masi is almost certainly on his way out. Fortunately a bright future lies ahead of him at either FIFA or the IOC…..

      1. There are a lot more cash movements in FIFA, The Italian judicial system is trying to find out where 100s of millions went from the country’s top teams.

    3. In most organisations Masi’s job would be untenable given the size of the clusterf#@ck he’s created. If he and the FIA decide he can ride this thing out, he’ll have to be completely unambiguous on every decision next season to avoid claims of prejudice.

      1. His position is untenable! If he stays on, it’d be almost impossible for him to do the job because everything he will do, say or decide will be under intense scrutiny!
        For his own sanity and peace, he must go!

    4. Horner has been personally attacking Masi and the stewards all season, but didn’t do him any harm in the end!

      1. @oweng Yeah, funny how he’s now come out saying that he sympathises with the job that Masi has to do and the situations he’s put in, when just the previous race he takes an enormous dig at Masi by saying he misses Charlie.

        1. And wasn’t it the same Horner that had to apologise for calling into question race governance?

          1. So the simple fact Toto continues with his behaviour shows he is on the way out.
            Vowles, Shovlin or Allison or someone form the outside?
            I go for Shovlin.

          2. You make it sound like Toto wrote this article. Toto Wolff released a press statement and I’ve seen some sites turn out into 7 different articles like he can’t stop talking.

  9. I’ve followed Formula One since the mid eighties, never missed a race on TV and been to the British GP twice.

    I didn’t mind who won the title this year – Lewis getting his eighth would have been a fantastic achievement, but Max getting his first equally impressive.

    However, after this appalling sham of a finish where rules categorically weren’t applied correctly and the chance to rectify it (post-race protests by Merc) were dismissed, I’ve never felt more disappointed in a sporting event and I have no interest in watching F1 ever again. I will not put myself at risk of witnessing a similar experience to this for something that’s supposed to be entertainment.

    Myself doing this makes no difference to the show, but what it should demonstrate is that if lifelong erstwhile fans such as myself are departing, there has been a grave miscarriage that wasn’t corrected as and when it should and could have been. Wouldn’t blame Hamilton at all if he quits.

    1. Wouldn’t blame Hamilton at all if he quits.

      Blame him if he doesn’t

  10. Masi may have robbed the last race win from Lewis, but not the championship. Max won it with more bad luck throughout the season and driving a slower car.

    1. sorry, but your first sentence makes no sense, from a logics point of view, as the race decided the championship.

      1. You need to review your maths. This race decided less than 1% of the championship. The championship was decided by adding up the points of all the races. So no, this race did not decide the championship and Lewis had plenty of chances to come into this race with at least the tie breaker so that he could have defended more aggressively against Max.

        1. yes, championship is decided over the whole season. and yes, in this case it was decided with the last race. this is no either-or. and its a fact that the interference in the last race did change the result of the championship. and as it was done braking the rules abusing his powers it is a robbery. thats just a fact.

          1. Amazing how hard this concept is for some to grasp.

    2. Masi may have robbed the last race win from Lewis, but not the championship.

      As they were tied going into the last race, I agree with @romtrain. Had Lewis won the last race, which you admit was robbed, then he would be WDC.

      1. @drmouse, Bojangles didn’t admit to anything. He said “Masi may have robbed the last race win from Lewis” not Masi robbed the last race from Lewis.

        Small difference but hey, exactly the kind of difference that Mercedes would start a protest over.

        I agree with Bojangles, the championship was not robbed in the last race. The championship gets decided over the whole season. Otherwise, lets just race once a year from now on and call it the championship decider.

        1. @dnny The point being that he cannot have been robbed of the race win without also having been robbed of the championship. It is logically inconsistent. The rest of the year was played out, the points tied in the final race, so whichever driver won took the championship. If LH was robbed of the last race, he was robbed of the championship.

          1. It is a consequence indeed but a championship is decided over the length of the season.

          2. @drmouse If the last piece of bacon blocks my arteries enough to give me a fatal heart attack, I didn’t die because I ate that last piece of bacon.

    3. Contradictory words.
      The race was billed as the decider. Lewis won the legal part of the race. So he would be the rightful champion if it went to court.

      The bit of the race that Max won would be null and void if it went to court.

    4. Max had the faster car throughout the season, according to Red Bull.

  11. The FIA are taking this whole affair very seriously and will act immediately. I wonder what Hamilton’s sanction will be?

    1. Why would Hamilton get sanctioned? I don’t understand.

      1. Apparently missing the gala has suddenly become the crime of the decade among certain “fans” of the sport.

        1. I find it childlish, in my opinion, but that’s all.
          Otherwise, i don’t care.
          He’s a grown man, he does what he wants.
          As long as he stops playing victim, and act responsable.

          Don’t tell me “And Max, blablablah”.

          Being responsable is not a competition with other.
          It’s a matter of self coherence.

          Max has his own things to learn, and Lewis also.
          They are both different.

          1. You find it childish but say he’s a grown man who can do what he wants? Ok.

            Why would I say anything about Max? That’s… that’s a really weird thing to say to me, someone who openly supported him as the first driver I supported since Panis. I only stopped supporting him because of… well it’s your word, but it fits: the childishness of some of his fans. I didn’t count you among the “fans” but given how weirdly aggressive you just got with me, I think I will from now on.

            And before Panis it was Mansell. I don’t often attach to drivers.

      2. You missed the sarcasm…

    2. A reprimand? Which would be his third of the season, meaning a 10-place grid penalty … except there are no more races this season, so no actual consequences.

  12. Verstappen, Masi Assisted Champion. Can FIA really be trusted to investigate itself? Who will be looking into anything else that might be untoward between FIA (or Masi) and Red Bull, or FIA, Masi and Netflix? How far, or how desperate does FIA want another champion other than Hamilton to, so called, enliven the sport? Oh yes, it is a tainted championship. Already, the press has softened towards this sad episode, saying Max deserves the championship. He does not. This is a champion who has a long catalogue of cheating and unsporting behaviours, fully supported by Red Bull and assisted by Masi and sometimes the stewards. It reveals a lot about Max, Jos, Horner and Marko especially when (not if) they flaunt the championship throughout next year. For someone so young to have such low bar on values, it is sickening to read those accolades. But, journalists need to earn a living too and cannot afford to upset Jos or Red Bull.

    1. Well said.

      I don’t care about the whining or about off-track behavior.

      Verstappen drives dangerously. It’s a dangerous sport, but so is boxing. You can win a fight against a better boxer if the referee or judges allow you to get away with enough low blows, elbows, holding, “rabbit” punches, etc.

      The “tell” is Max’s knee-jerk whine accusing the other team of the tactics he is a master of abusing. Horner enables it. Wolff has to direct his anger at the officials, but you’re right: the press should not give Red Bull a pass just because Dutch fans seem to have mastered the false equivalence using an army of trolls…

  13. Real robbery would have been Ham winning only due to bottas bowling and silverstone

    1. It’s quite easy for someone like Toto to forget that something has happen to Max also

    2. Winning a title by crashing your opponent… yeah probably acceptable as long as you’re Hamilton. Funny how everyone was joking about Verstappen might do it though.

      1. It’s not that simple. You have to crash and DNF your opponent, but keep your car (functionally) intact. Pretty hard to do, but the Knighted One is a world-class master at that.

  14. To be honest, I am actually a little disappointed that Mercedes have not appealed. Firstly, I believe they have indeed been robbed of the championship, the safety car rules were not obeyed on that final lap, it should have finished under yellows and Hamilton should be champion. It’s harsh on Verstappen, who deserves it more over the whole season, but he is the best driver on the grid at the moment and will surely win another soon anyway. (And he may not even lose this one if the appeal goes against Mercedes, but I think it’s worth a full investigation). Secondly, it would be quite exciting from a fan’s perspective if the title was decided in court after months of debate. Unsatisfactory, maybe, but no less so than the farcical way that it has been decided. And thirdly, it would look very bad for Formula 1 and the FIA, and would encourage them never to prioritise entertainment over sporting integrity again. This is the most important reason.
    The only thing that would be bad about the appeal is that I would feel extremely sorry for Verstappen if his title gets taken away (or at least put in doubt for months) for something that is a mistake of the FIA and no fault of his own. But Lewis Hamilton has had his title taken away through no fault of his own, so maybe this would be a case of two negatives makes a positive. But I stress again that Verstappen deserves it over the whole season. It seems to me that Verstappen is the deserving champion, but Hamilton is the rightful champion. It sounds like a contradiction, but it is not.

    1. Intersting summation and probably about as unbiased as you can get, pitching both sides of the coin.

      To me, I thought it was an immediate red flag – 6 laps to go, a lap (maybe lap and a half) to get the very slow moving digger out on track safely from where it was parked (was parked a good distance from the access point if you look, not the quickest moving things and would need positioning for the entry point) another two laps to secure the stricken car to the digger and to get it and the bigger wreckage off track, with marshalls on track sweeping up carbon fibre shards and engine fluids all the time basically left no room to have “safety car in at the end of the following lap” as per the rules and get a racing lap in, even discounting any suggestion of any lapped cars being let loose. So straight away I thought there wasn’t time to clear the track adequately in line with the ‘following lap’ element of the safety car rule and that is indeed how it played out.

      Would have been a 4 lap shootout (one lap in, then one out lap?) for the title and likely similar pass/re-pass as Lewis/Perez, really would have been one hell of a spectacle if they really wanted ‘the show’. And that is why I think it was more that Massi got cornered by two assertive Team Priciples and made a questionable call on the rules whilst getting his ear bent by both. Got to feel sorry for all involved in truth, many will consider this a tarnished title after all…

      1. Nope red flag is for when the course is not safe enough to race on and cannot be restarted in a short period of time. For abudahbi 5 laps of safety car is about ten minutes which is nothing in safety car terms. So nope. No red flag necessary.

        Jeddah too should not have been redflagged. The barrier was already repaired before he threw it. Max scooped up six points there for free.

    2. Masi’s first mistake was against Red Bull by not deciding to unlap the lapped cars on turn 56 (since the crash was already cleaned up by then) which would have given all cars ample time to lap, have another lap under the safety car and race on lap 58. It’s odd that everyone seems to think that the only alternative here was to end under the SC when Masi’s first mistake was to not unlap the cars sooner.

      1. 2 wrongs don’t make a right.

        That said, either way, the decision of when (or whether) to allow the lapped runners through is codified in the standard procedure as being the RD’s call. The decision of which to allow through is codified as not being his call, as is when to bring the safety car in if he does (except that he can delay bringing it in if he feels it is unsafe).

        1. @drmouse Right, but you can’t pick one wrong over the other one. Masi made two bad calls, the first one hurt Red Bull (not unlapping in lap 56) and the second one hurt Merc (unlapping some cars). Had he made no bad calls we would have had a final lap and Max would have won. It was also not a forgone conclusion that Max would have definitely passed Hamilton had Hamilton defended harder into turn 6. Max had a tyre advantage but not it wasn’t sure thing (see Checo vs Hamilton). Also Hamilton did not have a gap to pit under the SC and keep the lead because he blundered against Checo.

          Considering all this, I find this veil of tears from Merc a little too much.

          1. Not unlapping on lap 56 is not Masi’s call, it is the clerk of the course. If he doesn’t think it safe he has his reasons.

          2. It is completely Masi’s call.

          3. @andyfromsandy Actually, that’s what regulation 15.3 is about: Although the clerk of the course may be the one issuing comms to the teams, he may only do so with the explicit permission of the race director. So, it was Masi’s decision, but it would be communicated by the clerk.

          4. @drmouse Right, and had Masi made the call at some point in lap 56 like he should have, they would have been able to race in lap 58 completely within the regulations.

          5. @undercut677 which would have been perfectly within the rules and completely acceptable. Nobody could have legitimately argued with that course of events.

            However, the race director cannot (or, at least, should not be able to) say: “Whoops, I messed up there, so I am going to ignore the rules in an attempt to correct it”. Especially when what he earlier in failing to allow lapped cars through is not against the rules.

            If I go for a drive, then realise I’ve been doing 30mph for the past mile in a 60mph zone, I can’t then drive at 90mph for the next mile to make up for it.

          6. 48.3 – The safety car may be brought into operation to neutralise a sprint qualifying session or a race upon the order of the clerk of the course.

            48.12 If the clerk of the course considers it safe to do so…

            48.13 When the clerk of the course decides it is safe to call in the safety car…

          7. Okay. I get 15.3. I will stand by everything else though we have no clue that the track was actually fully safe, ready to race on lap 56.

          8. @drmouse I agree with you and I think we are talking about two different things.

            Yes, Masi messing up by not lapping the cars in lap 56 hurt Red Bull but that does not justify messing up again by not following procedure. I agree with you, two wrongs don’t make a right.

            My observations have more to do with this dramatic victim mentality that Toto, Lewis and Merc have embraced (Lewis might quit, Merc not attending awards, etc.). Had everything been done correctly by Masi, Max would have won anyway based on his last lap performance. Lewis is also to blame for not defending the inside into turn 6 and not pulling the overtake on Checo which would have allowed him to pit for softs and keep the lead. Both teams were affected by Masi’s mistakes and Merc made many mistakes that contributed to the loss. They have a right to be upset about Masi’s final mistake but their outrage and victim mentality is not proportional to what actually happened.

          9. @undercut677

            I agree with you: Assuming the track was safe to do so, Masi should have let lapped cars through earlier.

            However, that’s completely up to him (on advice of the other officials) to decide. It is well within the rules for him to say he doesn’t consider the track to be safe. The fact he didn’t could easily be justified by him declaring that he didn’t feel it safe to do so yet. Others could, and probably would, argue that point with him but he broke no rules in doing so. Had he declare it was safe to do so, there would likely be others who would argue it wasn’t, but that’s also up to him.

            It’s also likely that he would have documentation to support his decision. He could point to marshals being on the track, and possibly even other race officials advising him one way or another. He really is the final arbiter of when it is safe to do so.

            What is not up to him is binning the rulebook. Whether that was to make up for not letting the lapped cars through earlier or to make for a better show, or any other reason it’s not on. Whether or not he messed up by not bringing the lapped cars in earlier, what he did on the penultimate lap (everything else was done with by then, and was all by the book) was not allowed and handed a massive advantage to one, and only one, driver and thereby decided the championship.

          10. There was no way to release the cars any earlier. He already released them before receiving the track clear message (though after he had got the sector clear message).

        2. @drmouse

          No, it did not decide the championship. The championship was decided by the 783 between the both of them and not by the net 14 points from this last race. Hamilton’s break magic mistake in Baku decided more of the championship than Masi’s mistake. Hamilton was not robbed of the championship. Wolff is wrong and needs to behave like a man instead of a whiny child. This is true even if Masi made a mistake and didn’t follow the regulations.

          1. It did decide the championship.

            The previous 20 races were done. It all came down to this one, which is why it was called a title-decider. Masi’s decision, at the point it was made, decided the championship.

          2. This wrong both from a mathematical and language perspective. The championship is decided by whoever scores the most points and not whoever wins the arbitrarily titled “title-decider” race. It is stated as such in the rules. This is mental masturbation at this point.

          3. You should rest.

            There are too many with skewed ethics and perceptions posting.

            So if LH had won that race & with it the championship it would be apparent he had won it at the last race as up until then he was behind.

            It is also ludicrous to say Verstappen won it over the whole season because as far as i am aware they both arrived at the last circuit on equal points

            Suggesting that Masi red flag the race is also just as questionable if easier to defend.
            A red flag is required when either the drivers or marshalls would be in danger, it is not to enhance the race spectacle.

            For those suggesting it was the safety car condition that caused an unsatisfactory ending. When was the last time a race director permitted some cars to unlap themselves and if not why not?
            Go on tell us ?

            It was done purely to permit Verstappen & Hamilton to ‘race but not in accordance with existing rules.’ with such decisions how can any team devise a pit strategy ?

            Masi’s decision is the problem

            It can’t be defended !

  15. Not attending the prize giving and accepting the constructor’s trophy isn’t just childish and pathetic, it also gifts the FIA with an opportunity of making a public statement to literally everyone else in professional motorsport.

    “Toto couldn’t attend this evening’s prize giving because he needs some time to grow up a bit so instead, accepting the constructor’s trophy for the 2021 F1 World Championship in the absence of Mercedes is…Christian Horner!”

    1. That’s your idea of a public statement? LOL!

    2. Giving Red Bull the constructors championship would atleast be considered a consistent decision to go with this year’s Drivers championship.

  16. This is a gift that keeps on giving. What are odds of Masi staying next season?

    It is a show of sorts.

    We now have a champion who won it by gods of racing intredicting quite a bit.

    And we have Hamilton who yet again took it easy early season and dominated the end.

    Repeat of 2016 if anyone asks me.

    For a championship he will need dominate entire season not just last few races, and some unfortune from RedBull midseason.

    So end result is fair, how it was not, both contenders will have a lot to prove next year.

    Hamilton needs to come out swinging, especially with George in the second car.

    1. I don’t think HAM took it easy. I think that Merc had some catching up to do with the new rules banning their low rake car design. Not Lewis’ fault. He races hard e very race with the machinery he is given.

      1. There is also the handicap system that affected MB the most on the amount of time they can use their fancy computers and wind tunnel.

        1. @andyfromsandy doesn’t that come into play from next season?

          1. It was this year. I had to look it up. Ferrari for instance made the claim the extra wind tunnel time they got gave them a small lap time improvement.
            Current regulations restrict a team’s basic wind tunnel allocation to 40 runs, compared to 65 in pervious years. However, the quota is reduced or boosted according to a team’s classification in the pervious year’s Constructors’ standings.
            Reigning world champions Mercedes’ allocation was reduced to 90% – or 36 runs.

    2. Didn’t Lewis win 3 out of the first 4 races?

  17. Huhuhuhuu those are strong words from Toto, even exposing and contrasting what happened at Nurburgring last year. We can accept bad luck, but not a bending and a disregard of the rules. I am sure Mercedes interpret it identically. Masi, if ever he is retained for 2022, has to realize that you cannot satisfy everyone and the most important thing is that we do the correct decisions in relation to what the regulations state.

  18. “If you look at most of the controversies that have happened this year it was about sporting decisions on the track, the inconsistency of the execution of the regulations on track,”

    Hard to disagree on that.

  19. Max Horner you were gifted fixed championship simple as that

  20. I will not be sorry if Toto Wolf quits F1 as I see him as a big part of what is wrong with the sport. I wouldn’t like to see Lewis quit but maybe it’s the excuse he needs… I’m sure this year was extremely tiring and sometimes stressful. But I do think the rest of the teams/drivers are not strong enough to challenge Max so that would make Lewis the best opponent for 2022.

    1. What are the odds that Toto quits Mercedes and replaces Masi as race director for 2022??

      1. @dot_com
        Not happening. Wolff has financial interests in both Merc and Aston Martin. That would be viewed as conflict of interest. So no.

        1. It was meant as a joke.

          1. my bad!

      2. Bad times for Red Bull i guess.

  21. Frankly, the man has disqualified himself for everything. And there is no correlation between the last race and the overall championship. He thinks only Lewis was done wrong this season. What a pathetic man. You can have your Abu win, but then we’ll strip Lewis of his 18 points at Imola. Or 7 to 15 points of his 25 at Silverstone. Give me a break. The thing he doesnt realise is that by being so openly stupid, he will not get what he want as nobody takes him seriously anymore.

    1. He thinks only Lewis was done wrong this season.

      Funny how you say “thinks” rather than “said”. Are you able to read Toto’s mind?

      he will not get what he want as nobody takes him seriously anymore

      “Nobody”? Speak for yourself and not for me or anyone else. Repeatedly in your posts you believe you are speaking on behalf of everyone when, given the replies to your posts, is clearly not the case. It’s a very immature way to put forward your arguments.

    2. So it shouldn’t have been a red flag at Imola? Luck is something different, but you seem to be equating it with how Masi behaved.

    3. He thinks only Lewis was done wrong this season.

      I’d love to know where he said that. That’s more like the impression given by Verstappen and Horner, although even they haven’t said so directly.

      Also, the big difference (which you must know, because it has been pointed out by myself and others in reply to your posts multiple times) is that all of Max’s losses were down to either on track actions or inconsistent stewards decisions (which he ahs also benefitted from many times). This one, here, was a blatant and total disregard for the rules by the race director. It’s not comparable in the slightest.

      If you can point to an instance where Max lost out because the officials completely ignored the rulebook and made something up, I’m willing to listen.

      1. We don’t differ in opinion about the events of last race. It’s just useless to link it to an overall championship. It was just one of this season’s races of which you can question the outcome as a result of race control. Many have preceded it in which points earned were questionable.

  22. Well that pretty much confirms that either the lawyers said a case was “no go”, Lewis vetoed ay appeal or the other 66% of the ownership was against an appeal. Either way, it’s pretty clear that the statement put out by Mercedes is vastly different to Toto’s position.

    1. I suspect it means that whatever happened, the parent firm, the F1 team, Toto and Lewis couldn’t all agree to publicly dispute the race and championship result.

    2. @petebaldwin
      I think this is the key part: “We had a good dialogue with the FIA over the last days. The commission that its set in place I have trust and faith that we will formulate together with all competitors the drivers and the other teams the right decisions and actions to avoid such a scenario in the future.”

      Why bash Masi and yet express confidence in FIA’s commission? Probably because they settled the issue with FIA in a way that left both parties (reasonably) content. What they agreed on, will be seen. In the end, going to court probably wasn’t in either party’s interest regardless of the outcome.

    3. The interesting part is that Toto with his public resignation of his job puts Hamilton in a precair situation.
      Ham always connected his stay at Mercedes with Toto running things.
      Now toto will leave, what happens with Lewis??
      Not sure if Lewis can build the same relationship with James…

      1. Chalks up another.

        1. Just wait for it..

          1. And another.

      2. @erikje
        You do make up an awful lot of nonsense. Have you ever made a factual post, offered up an opinion that people found useful or contributed to this site in a way that was intended to improve the conversation? I only ask as I am growing tired of seeing these random posts, mostly pouring vitriol on Toto Wolff, on an otherwise excellent site and forum, which I have not only be reading for years, but help to support.

        Let me give you an option to qualify your comment. Can you provide us of the “Toto with his public resignation of his job…” source?

        1. He is one of several atrocious commenters to have emerged on this site. They offer nothing and only detract from the quality of discussion on the site.

  23. He’s really not wrong, is he? Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but the only real winner in this entire story will be Netflix. No F1 fan in their right mind can objectively state that this year’s championship was played by any other rule book than MM’s own poor decision making. There will always be different interpretations of rules, but that shouldn’t allow a race director (or stewards for that matter) to start being creative.

  24. The most satisfying thing ever in this season was Toto’s expression after he was checked by Masi when he told him “We went car racing !”, he couldn’t believe it and he looked like a villain watching his empire collapsing :) Fantastic !

    1. “Sorry?!”

    2. As a toddler send to the corner to cool down ( not succeeded btw;)

    3. The race director should be above such Netflix soundbites @tifoso1989. I thought Toto asking not to deploy the SC was abhorrent, but to be honest both team bosses have been terrible at that.

      The race director should be professional, especially after not following the sporting regulations to manufacture a final lap showdown.

      Anyway, I’m sure Netflix and Liberty media loves it.

      1. I get the sentiment that the race director should be professional @john-h, and not sink to the level of those haranguing him … but Masi was probably at the end of his tether after a tense championship battle and lots of pressure being applied to him by both the leading teams. I thought his reminder to Wolff of why we’re all here was pretty much spot on, to be honest.

        As an aside, I saw during the footage of the Mercedes garage during the last lap that Wolff was repeatedly removing his headset and then putting it back on again to shout at Masi. He didn’t seem to be pressing any buttons or anything, it was just like he had a line open to Masi the whole time. I wonder if that’s normal or Mercedes just happened to leave the line open because of the race and championship situation. Either way it probably strengthens the argument (which most people seem to agree on) that team principals should not be allowed to lobby the race director in this way.

        1. Having just manufactured the cars to be in a very particular and peculiar order @red-andy I found it outrageously patronising to say we just went ‘car racing’. He made himself the centre of attention at a time when he should have been anything but. Anyway, I’ve not liked Masi since Mugello 2020 and how he blamed the drivers so maybe I’m being overly harsh, I don’t think so though.

          Not sure about the shouting thing, he could have been talking to anyone or no one! Of to Masi I’m surprised it wasn’t broadcast. I’m not Toto’s biggest fan either, but I can kind of see why he might have been a little frustrated! Masi on the other hand and his ‘we’ve gone car racing’ stuff, nope that’s not acceptable.

      2. @john-h

        The race director should be professional

        So are the team principles. From the few team radios messages broadcasted from the FIA/Teams channel, it’s clear to see that Toto has been bullying Masi in a remarkable way and interfering with him doing his job properly. He has been speaking to him with an arrogant authoritarian tone. “I’ve sent you an email, I’m coming, do not bring the SC…”

        Wolff apparently since a long time ago, never been in a situation when someone said no to him or checked him properly. Even in a professional environment, it’s fine to remind someone not to display his arrogance so publicly. With regard to Masi, it has to be told that the man was thrown under the bus with the death of Charlie Whiting. It was planned that Charlie will gradually prepare him for the takeover.

        Masi has been controversial and the stewards too not only to Mercedes and Hamilton but also for all the teams. If you like we can bring a controversial situation for every single driver in the last couple of years. The fact that Wolff as always aided by the huge Mercedes PR machine and the biased nationalistic media is trying to create a narrative that implies that Masi for personal reasons has robbed Hamilton is utterly disgusting giving the fact that he has been lecturing people about values and principles.

        Masi messed up the ordinary procedure, that’s correct but if he applied the correct procedure where in lap 55 the incident was cleared. The lapped cars would have been granted permission to unlap themselves in lap 56 for the SC to end in lap 57 and the racing to resume in lap 58. Mercedes wanted the race to end behind the SC which is contrary to an agreement between the teams and the FIA to resume racing ASAP.

        Mercedes and Hamilton can feel robbed and they are entitled to do so. RBR could have been also on the receiving end if Masi ended the race behind the SC and with Horner and Marko onboard it could have been worse in terms of bitterness and whining.

        From my point of view there is something wrong in the procedures and not in the people. If the procedure and the rules were simplified and clear to everybody then Masi would have had only one way to end the race. If the teams and the FIA want really to clarify to improve the sport then they have to sit together and discuss the rules and the procedures and not the people. If we are going to judge people then Wolff and Horner should also be sacrificed alongside Masi for the good of the sport.

        1. You make some good points @tifoso1989 I do see what you mean. I do however disgaree that the rules are not clear in terms of procedure, and indeed Masi’s comments bafter the Eiffel GP show that he (of course) knows what the procedure is.

          My thoughts during the race was that he didn’t allow lapped cars to overtake precisely because it would have taken too much time. Then when Horner came on to point out the cars were in between and that wouldn’t work, he panicked and came up with some sort of hybrid solution.

          The fact he panicked can be forgiven at least in part were it not for the patronising comment to Toto which kind of revealed he was doing everything he could to ‘go car racing’.

          “The fact that Wolff as always aided by the huge Mercedes PR machine and the biased nationalistic media is trying to create a narrative that implies that Masi for personal reasons has robbed Hamilton is utterly disgusting”

          This bit..I don’t agree with that sorry, what has the Mercedes PR machine done? They’ve been pretty much slient since it happened. Is that the problem you mean?? Also why does this always have to be so nationalistic? Many people around the world know what Masi did.

        2. Lawyers must be respectful, conciliatory, and follow strict rules when addressing “the court” (a judge, panel, magistrate or arbitrator).

          But the judge is held to a much higher standard- avoiding even “the appearance of impropriety”. She can interrupt, silence, admonish, or lecture the attorneys from her bench- always looking down from a height. But she must avoid personal attacks even against the most obnoxious lawyers- sarcasm appears prejudiced even when justified.

          Here the team directors are lthe advocates and Masi is the judge. He failed miserably.

          If one side is ever allowed to lobby “ex parte” or is given unilateral accomodation (as when Masi offered Horner a “deal” in Saudi Arabia- to give back the place or deal with the stewards), the opposing side has no choice but to resort to similar tactics, to “even the score”.

          If your boxer gets hit with a series of unpenalized low blows, despite your loud protests, at some point you either jump in to smack the cheater yourself or order your fighter to go low with a vengeance.

          Wolff should have spoken up earlier- especially after Saudi when Lewis won despite unfair dangerous tactics that went under-penalized. Now, unfortunately, it is vulnerable to being seen as “sour grapes.”

          Masi’s dismissive, condescending comment: “It’s motor racing, Toto…”, using a tone that implied Wolff’s protests were frivolous or unreasonable, requires he be dismissed.

          It doesn’t matter whether or not he has been sarcastic to Horner at other times. It doesn’t matter whether Masi’s decisons had been correct (they were incompetent at best). He can’t avoid the appearance of impropriety.

          Life-appointed federal judges in the US serve “Upon Good Behaviour” [spelling in original text]. The bar is set so low because they have so much power and do not face popular election or re-election.

          Masi must go.

  25. Masi’s first mistake was to not unlap the cars on lap 56 when the accident was already cleared. Had he done that, they would have raced on 58 and lapped all the cars. Masi got confused and waited too long but this would have resulted in Max winning at the end.

    Also, Lewis did a terrible job on the last lap by not defending the inside and giving Max space. Checo did it to Lewis also with old tyres and a slower car.

    Lewis got schooled by Checo earlier in the race which prevented him from pitting under the SC without losing track position.

    He was also trying to avoid a crash but this is only because Max deservedly had the tie breaker going into the last race.

    So spare me the outrage. Mistakes were made by Merc, Lewis and Masi and Toto needs to grow up and stop whining.

    1. Just curious, how many F1 cars have you driven? as you seem an expert on driving them.

    2. “Also, Lewis did a terrible job on the last lap by not defending the inside and giving Max space.”

      Obviously you have no idea what you’re talking about, so i’ll help:

      The Redbull had greater straight line speed at this circuit, Verstappen also had fresh Soft tires on, which means greater braking and traction performance, therefore, if Hamilton covers the inside into that apex, Verstappen brakes later and closer up at the apex, then gets better traction out of the corner and gets Hamiltons tow down the straight, combined with the greater top speed of the Redbull, it was going to be indefensible for Hamilton. Hamilton’s only chance of winning on the last lap was to give Verstappen inside into the hairpin, and hope to try and tow him back down the back straight.

      “Checo did it to Lewis also with old tyres and a slower car.”

      The Redbull was not slower, don’t make things up, it doesn’t help anyone. Perez had been full charging his battery in the lap leading up to Hamilton closing him down, he then full deployed down the straight, combined with Redbulls greater top speed, meant it was going to be difficult on that lap, on the following lap Perez had no battery left, and as expected, Hamilton took him on the straight with ease, in the slow sector on the previous lap, Perez just lifted at the apexes, Hamilton has no where to go in that sector, he could risk it around the outside, but that risk is too great given a locked wheel or wobble could put him out the race.

      Ciao.

      1. The Redbull had greater straight line speed at this circuit,

        Interesting that you mentioned this.
        in the last attack by lewis on the straight, It was a lap without DRS.. Max reached about 298Km/h and Lewis without DRS almost 320!!
        Again the almost impossible speed by the Mercedes.. still something to investigate. It smells ….

        1. And another. Chalked up. Funny because I watched Max catch Hamilton on the straight, as did everyone else.

      2. Hamilton should have defended on the inside of the inside of turn 6 and not have given track position so easily. Your point about the straight line speed works against you since by giving up track position it would have made it harder for Hamilton to pass Max on the next 2 straights. Sure, Max could have passed him in the next 2 straights but its nto a guarantee that Max gets a perfect exit out of 5. Many things could have happened but by giving up track position, it was game over on older tyres.

        Your second point is just 100% wrong. At the end of the season the Merc car was faster than the RB. In this race, without Hamilton failing to overtake Checo, he would have been 20+ seconds in front of RB by the end of the race on pure race pace. So yes, Hamilton had the faster car against Checo and against Max and he failed on both counts.

        1. “our point about the straight line speed works against you since by giving up track position it would have made it harder for Hamilton to pass Max on the next 2 straights.”

          Hamilton has 2 bad options available to him in that last lap, his best option out of the 2 was to give max the lead and hope the tow would be enough to come back at him. Also, lets not pretend like the difference between a brand new set of Softs is only a little bit different to set of hards that are almost dead. Lewis was effectively in a 1 bout boxing match with both hands tied behind his back.

          “At the end of the season the Merc car was faster than the RB”

          Merc had a better car for the race, but Perez had the one lap performance to fend off Hamilton on the main straight by full deploying his battery and whacking his engine up to 11 (we saw his lack of speed the following lap as a result of this, and maybe ultimately his retirement?) in the slow speed corners it was ‘easy’ for him to defend, or should i say, harder for Hamilton to make a clean pass given the whole title-fight situation. Hamilton was just biding his time in the last sector to get another shot with DRS on the following lap. I don’t disagree this was crucial for the title, if he got past him sooner he could have had a bigger gap, but that’s using hindsight, which is unfair given Hamilton has no way of knowing what was going to unfold at the end, and how it was going to be handled by the Race Director.

          1. “Hamilton has 2 bad options available to him in that last lap, his best option out of the 2 was to give max the lead and hope the tow would be enough to come back at him. ”

            This is not the best option and its not close. If Hamilton took this option on purpose then he deserves to lose because it is incredibly stupid. Even if Max had passed him in the first straight, Hamilton would have still have the tow in the second straight just like Checo did when he overtook him again.

            “lets not pretend like the difference between a brand new set of Softs is only a little bit different to set of hards that are almost dead. Lewis was effectively in a 1 bout boxing match with both hands tied behind his back.”

            And Checho had 20 lap old softs vs Hamilton’s hard’s still in their prime. I am not saying that Max didn’t have the tyre advantage. I am only saying that Hamilton could have done more than he did on that last lap.

            “Merc had a better car for the race, but Perez had the one lap performance to fend off Hamilton on the main straight by full deploying his battery and whacking his engine up to 11”

            Which Hamilton also did against Max and it wasn’t enough on the last lap. It is weird to claim that Hamilton made no crucial mistakes during the race that contributed significantly to him losing to Max.

          2. And Checho had 20 lap old softs vs Hamilton’s hard’s still in their prime.

            I would like to see data to prove that the tyre deltas were comparable. To me, it seems obvious that new softs are going to be significantly faster than new hards, and old hards are not going to be significantly faster than old softs. The tyre delta would have been significantly different between the 2, with Checo being in a better position from that than Lewis in their respective battles, especially when Lewis was just leaving a SC period which would leave Max’s soft tyres significantly warmer than his.

            That said, I haven’t seen a definitive analysis of tyre performance at different stages of life, so if anyone has relevant data to prove me wrong I’m happy to hear it.

          3. “This is not the best option and its not close. If Hamilton took this option on purpose then he deserves to lose because it is incredibly stupid.”

            No disrespect. I’m going to guess that Lewis Hamilton, 7 times F1 world champion and serial winner of every single category he’s entered since he was a child, has better judgement of his available options at that moment in time than yourself. It’s really not stupid to give the car behind the corner which is preceded by long straights, ask Max about Saudi.

            “Hamilton would have still have the tow in the second straight just like Checo did when he overtook him again.”

            No, not like when Perez did. They are 2 completely difference situations. Again, before Perez battle with Hamilton, he was full charging, then full deploying to defend when Hamilton catches him, Hamilton wouldn’t have been using that same charge/deploy strategy at that time, he’s in a completely difference race mode/strategy. On the final lap, both Hamilton and Verstappen are on the same one-lap ‘quali mode’ deployment strategy.

            “It is weird to claim that Hamilton made no crucial mistakes during the race that contributed significantly to him losing to Max.”

            Hamilton did everything right in that moment in time, he had a massive lead over Verstappen as he was approaching Perez and didn’t need to go into full risk mode, he had no idea how the end of the race was going to play out, all he needed to do was pass Perez cleanly, then rebuild the gap to Verstappen, which he did. Had the Race Director not interfered in the way that he did, Hamilton executed that race exactly how he needed to, its only with hindsight that we can argue that he never built more of a gap to Verstappen, but thats completely unfair to do.

          4. “No disrespect. I’m going to guess that Lewis Hamilton, 7 times F1 world champion and serial winner of every single category he’s entered since he was a child, has better judgement of his available options at that moment in time than yourself. It’s really not stupid to give the car behind the corner which is preceded by long straights, ask Max about Saudi.”

            What a nonsensical argument. So Lewis Hamilton, Tom Brady, Lebron James and Lionel Messi cannot make mistakes because they are some of the best ever at their sport.

            This is so stupid I will not waste any more of my time with you.

          5. “What a nonsensical argument. So Lewis Hamilton, Tom Brady, Lebron James and Lionel Messi cannot make mistakes because they are some of the best ever at their sport.

            This is so stupid I will not waste any more of my time with you.”

            What a childish reply.

            I’ll say it again, you are using hindsight to make your judgement, not only that, but you have no demonstrable evidence to prove that your option was better than the one he chose.

            He is the experienced racer, making a decision in that moment in time, all i’m doing is trying to explain why he chose the option he chose. It made the most sense to him at the time. He was massively disadvantaged with tire performance, and lacked top speed, either of the choices would likely not have worked, as i said, he had 2 bad options available, he chose the one that gave him a chance at coming back at Verstappen, rather than giving Verstappen the lead on the straight and having no defence thereafter because of tire performance on the brakes and cornering.

      3. Question: didn’t Perez leave the track to re-pass Hamilton”?

        It was a straight line, but is that an exception to the rule?

    3. How do you know the the course was clear on lap 56? This includes all areas inside the barriers and marshals where they need to be and loads of stuff I suspect none of has any clue on.

      It is the clerk of course who declares the course is safe. It is not Masi.

      1. Masi comunicates it to the cleck. It is 100% Masi’s call.

  26. This commission thing looks a bit of cloud and smoke. Till date there is no public knowledge on what was the FIA’s arrangement with Ferrari and even in this case, there is a possibility that we will never get to know what the finding of the commission.

  27. He’s 100% correct. They got robbed through protocols getting ignored.

  28. Jay (@slightlycrusty)
    16th December 2021, 14:00

    What we learned this season –

    (1) The stewards have a rulebook on racing, but don’t expect them to follow it. And don’t expect them to apply the same rules to all drivers. And don’t expect judgements to set precedents from one race to the next.
    (2) The race director has a rulebook on controlling the race, but don’t expect him to follow it.
    (3) If there’s a crash near the end of the race, the race director gets to choose the winner.

  29. Toto has hit the nail on the head here. Max isn’t to blame, nor is Latifi (who seems to have gone through hell and back from what I’ve heard). This was the fault of the FIA, and in particular Michael Masi, not following their rules.

    1. +1. Lots of TW hate here attacking him for telling it like it is. CH would have done the same or worse.

      Unless Masi goes and other big changes are implemented then we can look forward to more seasons like this one. Yeah, I know some people think this season was “exciting”, sorry I’m not one of them. There were too many controversial calls compared to actual quality racing moments. IMO it would be quite a shame for steward moods and race director incompetence decide the races rather than the drivers and new spec cars. The appeal would have been a mechanism to force a process to get back to following the rulebook.

      A couple specific things that have lessened the entertainment for me this year are the emorpohous track limits and the allowance of dive-bombing/torpedo tactics. If those are still around next year I’ll probably find other things to do with my time.

  30. He’s 100% correct. And I’m a guy that generally doesn’t like Toto, and wanted Max to win. Procedures are written in the rules to be predictable, and consistent, regardless of the championship (or any) situation. I’m all for having green flag racing to the end, instead of a Safety Car finish, but the procedure has to be followed. Otherwise, it’s complete chaos.

    This is not to say that I wish the result is reversed. What happened, happened. But I’m all for Toto, and everyone, not letting this go easily… Pressure on the FIA to finally get their act together is necessary.

    1. The correct procedure would have been to lap unlapped cars on lap 56 and bring in the SC after lap 57 so they can race on lap 58. That would have been the correct procedure since the accident was cleaned up by lap 55. Masi hesitated and didnt lap them until lap 57. Racing on lap 58 would have been the correct procedure which would have resulted in Max winning the championship.

      1. unlapping can start when all hazard is cleared and all stewards confirmed to be ready again. this didnt happen before lap 57 started.

        1. Latifi’s crash was cleaned up by lap 56. Masi should have lapped the cars at the end of lap 56 and race in lap 58. That was his first mistake.

          1. let them begin to unlap end of lap 56 would have probably taken til somewhere in the first sector of lap 57 (as its relevant when the last unlapping car passes the leader/safety car). and unlapping should not start before all marshalls confirmed to be at their post/ready, and they are informed some cars are let loose from the safety car. probably at least one marshall was still busy while the car was still craned. i wont bet, whether it would have been possible like you say, but i think it wasnt.

      2. Were you there? Were you in consultation with the clerk of the course?

      3. You’re making big assumptions here. The regulations don’t state that when the incident looks to observers be cleared up, cars can unlap. The regulations are very specific that when the clerk of the course deems it is safe to do so, cars can unlap if then told to do so.

        The only thing we can state with certainty was not followed from a procedural point of view was that some cars were told to unlap (after initially being told not to) and the rest were not. That’s clearly a big departure from procedure. What you’re arguing is an opinion that they could have started the unlap procedure one lap earlier, without knowing whether it was actually safe to do so.

  31. I am a bit confused by some of the abuse and mockery being directed towards Toto (a lot of which is present on this site’s forums and even on this comment thread). Why the hatred towards him? Is it driven by jealousy towards a man who’s achieved a lot more than his detractors can ever hope to? Is success such a dirty word to so many? If so, why follow a sport where everyone is striving to succeed? I genuinely would like to understand what he’s done to deserve a comment like “he’s a megalomaniac” or “he’s openly stupid”?

    1. Everyone who is employed at a company all believe they can do a better job but no balls to prove it by being their own boss.

      So it is just hot air for not knowing what it takes to run a F1 team.

      1. In My Opinion.

    2. @Emma

      He is an unsporting person, as we saw when he put pressure on Russel to not race as hard against Mercedes drivers as against others. He also has immense conflicts of interests. And he has immense anger issues. Then there’s the way in which he talks to the race director which seems rather extreme and would result in being punished in many sports.

      But your entire post is full of assumptions and accusations of people who dislike him. Your known bias seems to extends to the entire Mercedes team.

  32. That’s a very strong statement from Wolff and I suspect a deal has been done between Mercedes and the FIA. It sounds as if Massi has been made the sacrificial lamb to appease Mercedes and head off any legal action that could damage the FIA and F1.

    1. Masi shouldn’t be leaving because he was artificially “sacrificed”. He should be fired for incompetence and what he has allowed to happen to the “sport’.

      1. He lost control of his job. He was joining in with the back and forth in communications that didn’t sound good to me.

  33. I think Toto is “over the top” because he lost the drivers championship with the fastest car over the season and that can’t be his fault, let’s blame the guy who gave us the most exciting finish to an F1 season in recent memory. I wonder now that the protests are done when does all this complaining become detrimental to the sport and Toto gets fined.

    1. The exciting finish that you were given was fabricated and not the result of the rules of the sport. There are many sports that could benefit from a last minute change of the rules to make them more fun (ok let’s throw a couple more balls
      on the pitch for the last 5 minutes, yay!) but it is not done because in the long run people will start questioning the integrity of the sport.

      I agree that this was an exciting way to end the championship and way more interesting than a finish behind the safety car but just because it’s exciting it doesn’t make it fair and if the competition isn’t fair then what’s the point?

      I mean, even for hardcore Max loving, Lewis hating fans, how is this ok with you? Isn’t it not being a sport as detrimental to the sport as you can get?

      1. +1 #F1PinnacleOfMotorShows

      2. The stewards disagree that the rules were broken. And after Silverstone, Hungary and Monza it was said the stewards could do no wrong.

        Did Masi mess up? Yes, he should have gotten the lapped cars out of the way faster given the lack of laps. That would be the right way to handle it, and it would mean the Verstappen vs. Hamilton showdown ends up exactly as it played out.

        His failure is in being slow, and not leaving the drivers, all drivers, enough time to unlap themselves. His solution to let only some through was bad, and he should at least offer his resignation. His job is stressful, yes, but there is only one race director and he should be able to handle even a title deciding finale.

        1. “ and it would mean the Verstappen vs. Hamilton showdown ends up exactly as it played out.”
          Not necessarily. If *all* the lapped cars were cleared, then Hamilton would have tried to back Verstappen into the third placed Sainz. Most likely Verstappen would still have won, but Hamilton would have had a bit more of a chance. The way Masi handled it, Verstappen was completely protected from being attacked on the restart by Sainz, but having lapped cars kept in place behind him. That asymmetry was a disgrace.

      3. +1 F1 is dead to me, i have no interest in watching fixed WWE racing. The last 3 minutes of the last race brought the sport into disrepute.

        congrats to max on his fixed wdc

  34. I completely agree with Toto. Masi’s arbitrary decision changed the outcome of the race and the WDC.

    I don’t think however, that the team principles should be allowed to talk to the race director at all during the race unless there is some very exceptional circumstance.

    I think Masi should go but I am not sure how easy he would be to replace. This might be the point that keeps him in place. I think having a decent relationship with Mercedes is going to be very difficult though.

  35. “He had a commanding lead on Sunday in Abu Dhabi from the get-go. He won the start and he never gave the lead away…” Except when he re-overtook Verstappen off track and was “penalized” by only having to lose some time. He didn’t even do that, but he kept about a 4 second lead or thereabouts. I know, the end of the final race is a more attractive moment, but God, mistakes were made both ways; and more than once this season. There were probably dozens of them during this season. Just one question. Did Toto ever appeal or complain over a stewards decision that went Hamilton’s way? Then shut up man.

    1. 4 seconds lead… making up your own reality. btw: he was pushed off track.

      team principal should appeal against a decision in favor of his driver – weird

      1. @romtrain

        team principal should appeal against a decision in favor of his driver – weird

        That’s the crux of it since he is lecturing people about values, integrity… You should expect him to be consistent in every situation even the ones that are against his team’s interests. You can’t have it both ways, you can’t pretend to be a gentlemen lecturing people about values and then behave like the most sore loser the sport has ever seen.

        1. i disagree

    2. Lewis was forced of the track. If the defender shoves the attacker into his own goalkeeper, it isn’t a foul on the attacker.

  36. Nothing new
    Unfortunately, just one more unfortunate, but real confirmation of this gentleman’s character.
    Full of values and principles, convinced of being on the right side of the issue, but not appealing…..
    Insightful, the next moment lends itself to these statements, a clear “murder” of Masi’s character.
    Like Groucho Marx “These are my principles, if you don’t like it, I have others”

  37. 13 years later some people still believe that Timo Glock robbed Felipe Massa of the title in 2008.
    I have no doubts 13 years from now some will still believe Michael Masi robbed Lewis of the 2021 title.

    1. After 13, 20, 25, 30 years, everyone will have the memory, whatever they want, but what is left for later, after consulting the results, is that the world champion was Hamilton and now it was Max. Period. ..

    2. I have no doubts 13 years from now some will still believe Michael Masi robbed Lewis of the 2021 title.

      And they would be right.

      1. @drmouse No, Lewis had a race winning car all season, a car which ended the season comfortably superior in race conditions and had the lions share of the calls throughout the season too. That he failed to win the championship was due to his performance at Monaco, Baku and despite overturning a 33 point lead due to taking Verstappen out at Silverstone and getting a penalty that only took him to 4th which allowed him to easily regain the lead and his team mate taking Verstappen out in Hungary, he still failed. He had the FIA decisions, the luck and the car all the way up until the last laps of the season. His loss is on him.

        1. Max and Lewis were both awesome this year @brum55. It’s sad that some can’t see it and pick out highly specific examples to make a point they believe is right, but there you go. That’s just the way it is I guess.

    3. Timo Glock robbed Felipe Massa of the title in 2008.

      No, Timo did not do that. If that had been the case, Timo would have the title now.
      What Timo did was take the title from Felipe and give it to some undeserving passerby.
      It won’t be forgotten and it won’t be forgiven. 13 years or 13 billion years may pass, but penance is eternal.

  38. Am just curious…..who can fire Masi?

    1. No one will do that.

      Alexander Wurz said Masi actually “didn’t do anything wrong” in Abu Dhabi.
      “Not with the sporting regulations, not with any contradictions. But there are situations and paragraphs that can be interpreted one way or another,” the 47-year-old said.
      “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.”

      You see? Michael Masi had to make his decision in fractions of a second and the long final 5 laps actually were just a fraction of a second. F1 fans, you should chek your vision if you think it was not a fraction of second!

      1. Does Alexander Wurz wear glasses or is he again lying trying to defend cheating FIA?

      2. @f1sauber @bulgarian The FIA won’t explicity fire Masi. That would be an admittance that he made incorrect decisions regarding the final laps at Abu Dhabi, and I’m struggling to think of a time in recent years when the FIA has admitted fault for anything (after all, in this instance it is our fault as fans for misunderstanding the rulebook, without even acknowledging that any misunderstanding is a result of poorly written and/or implementations of said rulebook).

        If Masi is to go, I reckon it will be communicated to the world that he’ll be voluntarily “stepping down” as a result of the outcry and unrest from teams and fans, and nothing to do with his decision making. That is how people like Masi and organisations like FIA operate.

        1. I don’t want to be a distraction to the sport I love. Besides, going forward I don’t think they will let me arbitrarily decide who is champion even if they drop the appeal…

      3. It is the race directors job to make quick decisions, but he is obliged to do so in line with the rules. He knew the rules, he even said last year that he had no choice but to follow them.

        It may have been a mistake in the heart of the moment, but it is still a failure to follow very clear roles he knows very well.

  39. I haven’t commented in the years (five, I think) I have been reading this website. But I feel somehow I must. I need to get this off my chest.

    I used to read entire comment sections here, impressed with how knowledgeable most of the contributors were. I have seen a gradual decline in quality since, and in the past year it has plunged downhill with the speed of an RBR on fresh softs, with things becoming too partisan for some to even remotely try to come up with some reasonable comment beyond “Lewis is God” and “Max is even more Godder.” I have seen Lewis Hamilton, an all-time great, described almost as an also-ran who just chanced upon the best car in the history of F1. Likewise I have seen Max Verstappen labeled a cretin and a potential murderer. Such a shame.

    The thing about the ‘British’ support for Hamilton is the latest trick to bring even more toxicity to the forum, with some snide remarks about football and other things being thrown in So sad. While Lewis Hamilton may be British, his team isn’t, nor is his team boss. And nor are most of his fan base. Not even all Brits are Hamilton fans. I am quite certain that if we were to check nationalities here, the Hamilton fans would be quite well distributed over many nationalities. I’m sure many of the reactions in the Verstappen camp could equally be qualified as “just because you’re Dutch”. It’s short-sighted at best. F1 is an international affair and it always was. I myself am Belgian. Given that Max Verstappen is half Belgian, I might be expected to be in his camp, but I am not.

    I would call myself a big McLaren fan with tons of respect for Lewis Hamilton. Respect which was established in his years at McLaren and which grew watching him get the most out of (often) the best car on the grid with relentless professionalism and determination, while mostly being a real sportsman. (In that context I do rate him more than even Ayrton Senna, whom I often call The Right Foot Of God.)

    I loved when Max burst onto the scene. His raw talent was and still is utterly brilliant to see. His car control and the way he judges lines and corners are amazing and his ‘never say die’ attitude is what we want from a true racer. However, over the past years I have seen too many times how he crossed the line. His trademark not quite turning into corners isn’t hard racing. It is intimidation and flat-out dangerous driving. And it is frustrating to see, because it diminishes him as a sportsman in my eyes. I feel the same about Senna, to be honest, especially looking back. Watching him when I was much younger, I was all for it, but some of his driving was absolutely reckless. The madness cast a shadow over the genius. And I feel the same about Verstappen, I think, although he seems to make it worse with the way he reacts when he is called out. Never his fault, always the little boy who is being picked on. It gets a bit tired.

    Still I would have been completely happy for him to win the WDC. But not in this way. Some keep pointing out that it is a season, not one race, and that Hamilton has been lucky. Well … Yes. It’s a season. And at the end of that season, they started the final race on equal points. So that point is null and void. As for luck? Max has been just as lucky as Lewis. Spa comes to mind, the non-decision in Brazil, and some over the top defending which wasn’t looked at under the ‘let them race’ dogma. That all evens out. Would Hamilton have been a more deserved winner? No. They both deserved to win it, just as much as each other.

    But it was all about this final race. A race in which Lewis Hamilton outperformed Max Verstappen from start to … I would say finish. But you can only say: from start to Masi. I can understand that Verstappen fans are over the moon, it’s only normal. I am happy for them, I really am. It’s an amazing feeling when your guy wins. But the fact that it took a gross deviation from the rules, performed by a racing director seemingly under pressure from the ‘high-octane entertainment at all cost’ owners, feels wrong. I think even Max knows in his heart that he was handed that last lap on a plate. I have no problem at all with Max winning it, I always feel it’s excitinig to have a new champion after a long period of domination. But the way in which this played out is completely wrong. Had procedures been followed, as Mercedes expected, Hamilton would have won the final race and the championship. Did Mercedes gamble? Not even. Red Bull needed to gamble, as they were being beat to the title. Mercedes didn’t. All they needed to do was sit behind the SC and complete the race behind it. That was the outcome everyone saw when Latifi crashed so late in the race. I am certain Verstappen fans around the world were throwing things at the television, knowing the whole procedure would take too long and Hamilton would just be taken home by the SC. If the procedure, the long-standing procedurs was to be followed. But it wasn’t. And that is why we’re all here. It’s mind-boggling to see how so many fail to even admit that normal procedure wasn’t followed and that the outcome of the race was directly impacted.

    I must add that Hamilton deserves a lot of credit for the way he took this. Having recollected himself first in the car, then with his father and his physio, for him to walk out to congratulate and hug Verstappen was brilliant to see. It didn’t surprise me, but what a moment. It was also very clear that Max enjoyed that little moment, he seemed to really take it in. We can’t possibly know how Verstappen would have reacted had this gone the other way. I’m pretty sure Jos wouldn’t have gone up to Lewis the way Anthony Hamilton did. But I like to think that Max himself would have reacted in quite the same way. The respect between these two as racers is far greater than we are being led to believe, I think. It is certainly greater than that between their respective team bosses. And their respective hard-core fans, for that matter.

    For me, F1 as a sport was the victim last weekend. It felt so wrong to see such an exciting season decided in this manner. What a let-down. I used to be a massive football fan. Another sport I have over the years lost interest in, for many reasons, the disrupting power of big money being the most important. On Sunday I felt F1 was done for me. But after a couple of days … Can’t wait for the next season. New spec cars, some exciting new drivers and pairings, some drivers we will miss (I really feel for Giovinazzi), and some teams I expect to continue their way back to the top. Go McLaren!

    Right, so much for my first (and possibly last) ever comment. Enjoy the holidays. Think back on some amazing moments, whether you’re in the Hamilton or the Verstappen camp. What a ride it was. And on to next year. It’s only three months before it all starts again with a completely new look. Hopefully with some lessons learned by the powers that be. I’ll probably be browsing your comments again, so behave!

    1. Don’t wait 5 years….I wish all fans were as thoughtful….even me. :)

    2. To WIM VW. Thank you for a beautifully written comment. I can resonate with everything you have said.
      There is though an underlying dark energy that I cannot prove but I feel deeply about..
      Jean Todd was ex Ferrari management and a huge fan of Michael Schumacher.
      There are sound=bites that cannot be ignored.
      Some weeks ago Bernie Ecclestone commented that Lewis Hamilton should’ve retired so that Michael Schumacher’s Legacy would not be broken. Senility? Hogwash? All of that.
      Equally a few weeks ago Sebastian Vettel said words to the effect that no matter what Hamilton achieves, Michael Schumacher will always be the greatest. An opinion he is absolutely entitled to.
      I think there is a groundswell of support from a lot of people that pull strings that would do what it takes to keep this state of affairs. Broken one day maybe, but not by a black.
      I can’t get rid of the feeling that something was manipulated to manufacture an outcome.
      I’ve worked in a corporate environment for more than 40 years and I know just how things are done behind-the-scenes.
      Like you, I believe that Max Verstappen is a worthy world champion.
      I would never want to win a championship that way.
      10 years from now, Max Verstappen will realise that it was a hollow victory even if very well deserved.
      I have never been a Michael Schumacher fan nor will I ever be a Max Verstappen fan.
      The concept of aggressive thug like racing is unacceptable to me at many levels. But each to his own.
      Because of his sense of Fair-play, the dignity with which he carried and carries him self, and the fact that he is a downright brilliant driver, I really wish that Lewis Hamilton had garnered his eighth title.
      There are a lot of blacks that will feel this was white manipulation and I can understand that emotion.
      Lewis has had to fight that throughout his career and I firmly believe that Michael Masi stole the championship from Lewis to hand it to Max Verstappen. If not him, then someone whispered in his ear. We will never know.
      Like you, I love Cars and so for one more year I will most probably watch Formula One.
      Seasons greetings to one and all and God bless.

      1. Dark side, indeed.

        The “tell” for me is the “Driver of the Day” nonsense.

        Hamilton can start from the back of the grid, lap everyone twice with a damaged car that can only run in reverse, setting fastest lap on every lap…and still someone else winds up driver of the day…

        The feed I get in the US- with “Crofty” et al- points out Lewis’ rainbow helmet in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, but they never once seem to notice the racism acknowledged before every single Premier League match.

    3. Exceptional comment, very well thought through and considered.

      Unfortunately I’m not sure I can be as excited as you about F1 any more, not unless we have some evidence of sporting integrity being put in place. And guarantees of no influence over results like this in the future.

    4. @Wim MV

      As for luck? Max has been just as lucky as Lewis.

      Sorry, but that is total nonsense. Max had huge point losses that were largely out of his control, due to being punted off and his tyres giving up, while Lewis was saved from some huge point losses after making mistakes. Even if Max would have been punished harder for some overtake attempts and such, the points losses from that would be relatively small.

      Spa comes to mind

      Max wasn’t really lucky in Spa. He did a good quali, while Lewis drove very conservatively, leading to him being beaten by even Russell in a Williams. If Lewis would have driven better, he might have beaten Max and would have gotten more points. So it’s entirely Lewis’ own error that caused the point loss. In itself the half-points didn’t advantage either driver. It benefited whoever qualified better, which could have been either driver. Max simply was the one who qualified better, which was not luck, but better driving.

      Besides, if the Red Bull was actually the better car during the weekend, or Lewis would have been off his game as much in the race as during quali, Red Bull might actually have had bad luck due to the weather not being slightly better, denying them the opportunity to full points (in a rain race, starting from 1st is a huge advantage anyway, due to car spray and being much safer from crashes).

      It’s pretty telling that you have to stretch this far to argue that Max got lucky, pointing to a race where he might actually have gotten unlucky compared to other possible outcomes.

      the non-decision in Brazil

      Are you complaining about the fine that Max got over touching Hamilton’s car, while Vettel has been doing the same for years without repercussions? I would sooner call that bad luck for Max than good luck.

      It’s true that Lewis suffered from bad luck in Brazil due to his team messing up the rear wing, although he was way better off than a couple of bad luck moments for Max where the latter didn’t get the opportunity to get a new engine and to drive a recovery race.

    5. +1

      I even fell somehow ashamed to honour your comment like that. One of the best comments I ever read here… @Wim VM

  40. I am done with F1 unless the clown Masi is no more. He is corrupt and incompetent at the same time.

  41. Time for the Muppet Toto to step away from the limelight now as his antics and attitude are seriously risking everything the Merc F1 team has built over the last decade.

    Put him back in Milton Keynes away from any direct media or F1 personnel, you need a cool character to lead that team, not a hot headed looney.

    1. Masi and the FIA are risking everything they have built in F1 over a much longer time with this BS. Someone has to bring them to task for it, and I’m just sorry that Mercedes have bottled it given Todt’s statement today.

  42. FIA and Liberty must protect Masi at all costs. The major part of fans enjoyed the outcome. This was epic and be remembered forever. You guys just don’t give a damn about rules, sport and cheating. What would you say if it was Max? Oh, don’t even try. Double dealing and hypocrisy.

    1. Can’t wait to watch it all again on Netflx.

    2. Nah, Masi is damaged goods now. He’s gone.
      Masi will NOT be F1 Race Director come next season.

  43. It doesn’t look like it at first glance but when you’re black you have to win ten titles and eight will count. They robbed him back in the season of 2007 they did the same now. I hope he’ll stay just to annihilate the competition and make them sorry they exist.

  44. They have nothing to feel “Raw” about, nothing was robbed, they lost it on strategy, absolutely no need to react to Max Pit Stop, they needed to stay out, they were faster on a slower tire, yes they would have lost track position, but they did not trust themselves to get it back, they choked under pressure, they botched the strategy, what happened is just the perfect scapegoat.

    1. Absolutely right.
      I hear Mercedes are sacking their strategist James Vowles.
      They are employing a top clairvoyant to try and get into the mind of Masi to find out what he may do with the safety car.
      According to the rules he can do what ever he wants with it.
      Maybe send it out for some milk or pick up the kids….. who knows.
      Certainly not stick to the established procedure that is written in the rules.

  45. The only reason Red Bull and Verstappen keeps this title is because everyone knows decrowning MV is not going to clean this mess but create an additional big pile of “mess”. If this wasnt the title-decider GP, FIA would be more likely to announce LH as the winner.

    To those who keeps saying MV and Red Bull did nothing wrong: Oh they did! Horner is to blame in creating this mess as much as Masi. Why would a team boss tell a race director what his team exactly needs? He said they needed only one lap and they got their lap. He knew it wasnt right but he also knew there wouldnt be coming back from that.I wouldnt be surprised if we learn more what happened during that SC period a couple of years later just like we did with Crashgate.

    Also English is not my mother language so I cant exactly say if “any” doesnt mean “all”, but I am 100% sure it also doesnt mean “lapped cars only in between LH and MV”

    Long time F1 fan, who thinks LH is just a lucky guy with his career just like Vettel.

  46. Well, now Toto and Lewis are in a posiion they like, bully everybody and play the underdog …

  47. I get the frustration and it feels unfair especially as Lewis had been dominating the race. But Toto speaks as if Mercedes didn’t have the option to change tyres. It was a risk to take, understandably as a restart wasn’t guaranteed but these sorts of decisions make and break races all the time. It just sucks that on this particular occasion it feels like it cost them a championship which it didn’t. The points lost at the preceding rounds did that equally.

    1. What happened in previous rounds in irrelevant. All if ‘s and but’s. Take it into account when giving an opinion as to whether its deserved or not which in Max’s case I agree it was.
      BUT you cannot change the established procedure on which your strategists make decisions.
      It makes a mockery of F1. The FIA agrees the “misunderstanding” is tarnishing the whole season ending.
      I thought the hullabaloo would die down after a few days but it’s actually got louder as people realise how this was manipulated for the show. In fact I’m beginning to change my mind, it pretty much stinks.

      1. Lewis said it in the race “this is going to be manipulated, man” (or something like that).
        Merc also was obviously aware of such intentions beforehand, bringing a lawyer with them to the race.

        I also felt this coming, as it was clear they wanted a new champion. DSQ in brazil qualy for a broken screw, a non-effective penalty for a brake-test on a 300+ straight, no-action for all the blocking/weaving/dive-bombing. In my opinion it was pretty clear for and against which side the officials wanted to or had to decide.

        And I am very sure the race would have ended under SC, if Lewis would have pitted and thereby lost track position.

        When it looks like a fish, tastes like a fish and smells like a fish, then it probably is a fish.

  48. I cheered for Max over Lewis all year long. They had some fantastic battles and some crashes throughout BUT…. Masi had his nose in this battle far too many times. He needs to resign which is likely an option he’ll be given to save face but make no mistake, Max drove his A off in Abu Dhabi as did Lewis. MASI made the difference in this championship with his decisions and it’s not Max’s fault, Christian or Toto’s. I feel for Lewis and Max in all of this as this B S shouldn’t be happening but Masi needs to go, and hopefully we haven’t lost Lewis to retirement because of this. I almost feel sorry for the teams and especially the commentators for having to deal with a million questions on this B S next year. Such a low point when it should have been brilliant.

  49. I wonder what the fallout would have been like if Silverstone or Hungaroring had been the final race?
    In my opinion, a lot of this has been blown up because it was the final race to decide the championship. I feel for Masi, there was a lot of pressure on him to finish under a green flag as preferred by all the teams.

  50. TOTO is spot on. Fixed ending to thew race destroyed the legitimacy of F1 as a real sport

    F1 is dead to me now, i have ZERO interest in watching WWE liberty media gameshow netflix drama alert racing when rules can be broken at will and invented on the fly to produce fake exciting racing.
    There needs to be some form of accountability and closure for fans regarding the farcical end and race control meddled race that robbed lewis of a title, like i said before fans who hate lewis said what happened was bs and he was robed.
    Also Lewis and Mercedes end up looking weak and basically making an admission that its ok to be screw over a competitor changing the rules on the fly to suit the ‘drama’ and hype.
    Lewis always mentions the teams hard work when he wins but this spits in the face of the 800 staff back in Brackley who spend thousands hours working on the car to win, whats the point spending 80 hour weeks building a super concept racing vehicle just to have your hard work undone by a random FIA appointed bureaucrat who can invent new rules and move the goal posts at the last minute.

    Liberty media might get more new ‘supermax’ newbies and drive to survive zoomer casuals but this result will drive away the loyal neutral fans who have been watching for decades, who are not lewis or max fanboys and just watch the so called sport where ten different teams try to build the best car and drivers race over a season to decide WDC in a fair manner.
    This title will forever leave a sour taste and go down in history as the title the FIA deliberately meddled in the race to give the title to max, this farce makes 94, 90 title deciders trivial in compassion.

    Congratulations max your fixed wdc that will always be remembered as fraudulent asterisk one handed on a plate to you by the FIA and liberty media(!)

  51. For true closure, what we need is for Massi to put his hands up and say yes i got it wrong.

    We need Massi to admit he made a mistake and that if he had to make the same decision he would do things differently, that he has learned from this howler. Otherwise no one can have any faith in that man.

    Either all the cars unlap and the race ends under the yellow flag, or the cars remains as they were, and the race restart with that lap to go,, but with Verstappen making his way past those back markers.

    Looked at objectively, Max chose to pit and put himself behind those back markers, so why should he have that extra advantage of them being cleared ouf his way.

  52. There WAS a way for LH to win the championship even with Masi’s decisions. But Mercedes didn’t think dirty. Or they didn’t have enough time to do so…

    Bottas was in the mix. If I am not wrong, the rule says lapped cars to overtake SC but what if with 4…5 corners before penultimate lap (where the SC overtake took place) there was a ” Valtery this is Toto or.. James. Keep your position, do not overtake leader, stay behind Lewis until we figure out what is going on”.

    Either they would gain one lap (Bottas would overtake a bit late so SC couldn’t come in on that lap) or Bottas would stay there to slow Max (” Valtery this is Toto DEFEND Lewis! “) for 1-2 corners on the famous last lap (even with blue flags). That would be 1 or 2 seconds. Hamilton would be champ…

  53. He is right, it is on Masi. But will he articulate or at least be vocal towards an Masi’s due eventual dismissal?

    We’ll know by Rd. 1 next season.

    1. wow, so many typos x/
      #need #edit #button

  54. Eight years of winning has made Toto a really sore loser.

    1. Dane

      Eight years of winning has made Toto a really sore loser.

      There’s no better description than that. And Toto has been also extremely contradictory, through a lot of stances this season in particular, and the lastest is dropping the intention of an appeal to avoid looking like a sore loser but he (and Hamilton) at the same time giving every indication that they are contesting the results with all their strengths and dealing with the question in a hysterical way, including not going to the FIA gala ceremony and overtly saying it was “robbed”, so acting like a sore loser in every way possible.
      Verstappen and Horner have many flaws, but you can see they’re authentic, one that they don’t have is deceit and contradiction trying to paint themselves as saints. Hamilton and Wolff, in stark contrast, have built their reputation on endless platitudes and appeals to emotion all the way, and the contradiction often shows itself clearly in the end.

  55. People seem to have forgotten that earlier that afternoon, Sergio Perez, on old and worn softs, succeeded in keeping Hamilton at bay for two laps, even when Hamilton had the use of DRS. So, imho, it wasn’t as if Saint Lewis didn’t have zero chance when he had to defend his position on the last lap. I even seriously doubt if any driver other than Verstappen would have overtaken him. Just bad luck it was Max behind him.

    1. And he (PEREZ) was pulled fast into retirement 5 laps before the checkered flag because he had no fuel or engine left.

  56. This is beginning to sound like Trump after losing the election to Biden.

    Move on. You lost. Lapped cars are permitted to pass and the ones relevant to the championship contenders were moved aside. Don’t pretend to give a damn that Sainz didn’t get his opportunity to win (And I’m a Ferrari fan).

  57. Max won the Drivers Championship.
    Mercedes won the Manufacturers championship (So best Car/Team). Done and dusted.
    The fact that Max was even in contention in the 2nd best car speaks volumes.
    The rest is history, FIA and friends will sort out something and create new opportunities for contentious decisions.
    Personally I am looking forward to how all the changes next season pan out:
    Will Merc still dominate (I suspect they will)?
    How will George go next to Lewis?
    Will RB be good enough for Max to stay competitive?
    Will Lando and/or Daniel drag McLaren into the fight?
    Will Ferrari continue its impressive recovery?
    So much to look forward too!

  58. I feel like everyone is speaking for Hamilton but Hamilton. All he has said is congrats to Max and he’s gone jet skiing or to his recording studio or whatever. Which seems normal? None of the light and heat in this controversy is coming from him.

  59. Time to let it go now Toto.

    Yes there was an inconsistency with the two lapped cars left between Verstappen and Sainz. Yes, they clarification is needed on the wording of ‘any’ and ‘all’, and what the Race Directors overriding control of the safety car means. But the bottom line is that the argument that rules were ‘broken’ is false and disingenuous and a cover for the simple fact that Merc lost that race because they got their strategy wrong.

    They were horribly, horribly unlucky but both drivers had equal opportunity to pit for fresh rubber. They were both allowed to race fairly on the last lap. Lewis was only fighting with one arm tied behind his back in the sense that Merc passed up two opportunities to get him onto fresh tyres before the end of the race. They gambled that the race would end behind the safety car, and they were wrong. It happens in sport.

    1. Mostly agree, Mercedes had to make a decision, but it was an assessment made with the rules and their application at every other race.
      Give how every other safety car had gone, the alternative was to pit HAM, VER would have stayed out, and Merc knew that normally there would be just one lap to pass VER with back markers in between, or the race would finish under the safety car. In my opinion it was a no-brainer to stay out.

  60. Max was robbed in UK and Hungary by Mercedes Toto, please shut up and swallow the hard pill. I agree FIA needs to get its act together but for god sake dont be such a baby.

    1. Max robbed himself in the UK by not avoiding the crash. RB could shut up blaming Hamilton for it.

  61. I hope the FIA start to punish Toto Wolff by banning him from F1 for the 2022 season.

    Toto’s behavior is absolutely unacceptable, he has a personal vendetta against Masi that goes far beyond any normal reaction to disagreeing with a referee decision.
    The PR machine is in overdrive again same as multiple times during the season against Max now it is against Masi with public attacks and calling for his resignation.

    If most other sports Toto would have been disciplined days ago, yet weirdly the FIA allows this relentless blunt and unacceptable attack on an employee of theirs to continue.

    The coach of Lyon football club spoke negatively (still very polite compared to Toto) about the referee and got suspended for 10 games. Team owners/coaches in the NFL and NBA have been suspended, fined or made to public apologize for behavior that is not even close to Toto’s behavior now.

    1. I think you will find the FIA have already put Masi in the bus lane, and are driving full speed towards him. They have surely struck a deal to say how Masi went rogue, and will welcome in a new direction team next year and allow them to grow into their job without any strong criticism for 6 months, while Toto also congratulates VER and RB on their title, as he has done.

    2. HUGE +1
      Toto and Merc brought the sport into disrespect, fanatizing a minority of fans who now think they are the majority of millions watching the series

      1. Based on which facts do you judge whether its a minority or the opposite? Did a poll on the streets in Amsterdam, asking everyone with an orange jacket?

    3. Better ban Mercedes as a team, cause they are too quick. Just find a new rule saying there pits gets blocked by the safety car, which is for sure within the authority of the RD.

      One should expect a strong reaction from a honest racing team when the result is being manipulated like this.

  62. Inconsistency has been there all year long, but you don’t hear Mercedes about that when it was in their favour…

  63. Can we all just agree to disagree please

      1. so you agree to agree?

  64. As more of a LH fan than a MV fan (but really a McLaren fan) I think they should void the result of the last race (MV still wins, fair enough, he’s a great driver). Masi clearly didn’t follow procedure and practice.

    Masi clearly needs support, at least, to run the race. A support team needs to be put in place to help run the race, a permanent stewarding panel should also be instituted. This should never happen again. Rules is rules. They should be followed.

    As for Merc, LH and TW, I can understand the pain and disappointment. It must be deep and I can sympathize.

  65. I read an interesting article. What if Merc would have told Bottas to cause safety car to go that one lap longer?

  66. Having done a bit of reading over the past few days, I now understand the insistence that the race was finished under green flag conditions. It was imperative – after all, we all remember the riots, protests and media firestorm after the deciding, final race of the season that ended under a safety car in 2012.

  67. Michael Masi needs to go now. He cannot be trusted. Drivers and teams have lost faith in him. He has no more integrity. I am sure the FIA can compose some weasel words like “it was always planned” or “he wants to focus on his family” or “he always wanted to pursue other opportunities” or some other wink wink nudge nudge time to go words.

  68. Toto is not going anywhere.
    He is worth $600 million and owns 1/3 of the team, same as MB.
    He could destroy F1 by pulling the team and the engine supply.

    The review will find masi responsible and determine that his decisions unfairly influenced the outcome by benefitting one driver and penalizing the other by the rules not being followed.

    Masi determines WHEN the SC is deployed and recalled, not HOW..
    The refs do that.

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