Masi was a “liability” for F1 and “disrespectful” towards drivers – Wolff

2022 F1 season

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has revealed he urged former FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi to take criticism of his approach on board ahead of last year’s controversial title-decider in Abu Dhabi.

Masi was replaced as race director due to his mishandling of the finale. An FIA inquiry found he failed to adhere to its regulations in arranging a final-lap restart of the race, following which Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton to win the world championship.

Wolff revealed he spoke to Masi before the event about the feedback he’d been given over several controversial decisions earlier in the year.

“I had lunch with him on the Wednesday before the race,” Wolff told the Press Association, “and I said to him that ‘I really want to tell you, without patronising you, that you need to take criticism on board and develop from there. Lewis does it every day, but you are a guy who always seems to know better’.

“It wasn’t about influencing him but really giving my honest feedback that he shouldn’t block outside opinion as simply being wrong.”

Masi, who has not spoken publicly since the controversial conclusion to last season almost four months ago, had been criticised for his handling of several flashpoints in the rivalry between Hamilton and Verstappen at preceding races in Saudi Arabia and Brazil. Wolff said drivers were not impressed by his reaction to their feedback.

“You hear from the drivers and how the drivers’ briefings were conducted [by Masi] and some of the guys said it was almost disrespectful how he treated some of them.

“There is a promoter of one of the races in the Middle East who said he was so relieved he had gone because he got so much abuse from him.”

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The FIA’s inquiry found two errors were made in Masi’s management of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Safety Car was brought in a lap too early and only some of the lapped cars – those which lay between Hamilton and Verstappen – were allowed to rejoin the lead lap.

(L to R), Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022
Analysis: The omission in the FIA’s Abu Dhabi report which may store up trouble for the future
However, Wolff said Masi hasn’t accepted he was at fault. “He was just immune to any feedback and even today he has not properly reflected that he did something wrong.

“He was a liability for the sport because everybody kept talking about Abu Dhabi and the race director, and the race director should not be somebody that people talk about, but someone who does the job and makes sure the race is run according to the regulations.”

Wolff said Niels Wittich, one of Masi’s two replacements in the role, “hasn’t put a single foot wrong” since taking over. However he questioned the need for his clampdown on drivers wearing jewellery while on-track.

Hamilton said yesterday he cannot comply with the restriction because some of his piercings are fixed in place.

“Is that a battle he needs to have at this stage?” said Wolff. “However, if it turns out to be the biggest unfortunate misstep of a race director, I would take it a thousand times over.”

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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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  • 129 comments on “Masi was a “liability” for F1 and “disrespectful” towards drivers – Wolff”

    1. Is he gonna cry about this whole year?

      1. He’s just bringing it up to upset some sensitive fans, reminding them about the * :)

        But it’s true Masi himself has not said a word about it. For me that speaks volumes about who persuaded him to change his decision. Hint: it’s someone who could make him keep quiet now.

      2. Pointing out the truth, that the officiating and changing the rules determined the race winner and awarded a championship, is not crying.
        Only those emotional invested in Max’s championship keep diminishing this.

        1. That is actually the half-truth. He didn’t change rules per se since some of the rules are written unfairly anyway (The race director’s authority to overwrite safety cars is an unfair rule but it’s still a written rule).

          However, that happened in many other cases this season and it was not the only confounding variable in the championship result.

          Masi was not only a scapegoat for FIA’s officiating but also for Mercedes’s problems and Hamilton’s extremely poor performance in Baku, Monaco, and Turkey to name a few races (he had more but luck helped him out). The headline “We got robbed!” exonerates them quite nicely right?

      3. First of all who is this idiot who sees the right and power to talk on behalf of other F1 teams. Masi was this, Masi was that.
        Other teams and other ppl may rightly think differently more wisely and comprehensively about what we have witnessed past season in this sport, from this biased clown.
        Before the Rbr and Mercedes were involved, F1 was a much more refined place. The relatively wealthy but bulky Ferrari and the less budget but more technological and systematic British garage teams were a way better combination for this sport imo.

        1. F1 was a much more refined place

          Lot’s of ignorant subjectivity there.

          1. Since this is a subject about F1, I don’t understand why a redneck like you circulate around.

      4. And kick dead horses, whilst totally incriminating himself. Sounds like a mobster boasting, except Wolff is not being sarcastic. By the way I hated Masi first, from day one. I want a medal.

        1. How exactly is Toto “incriminating himself”? Of doing what?

      5. There are pejoratives I’d like to use to describe Toto on this matter, but I’m afraid I’d be banned for using them. Suffice it to say, that Masi didn’t become a liability, Mercedes and Toto did try incredibly hard to make it appear as such. It became a vendetta to see the man punished.

        Toto’s transformation has been shocking to me. From being the stoic, brilliant operator, to an emotional, petty, and vindictive pillock. I guess he got used to winning easy and as soon as pressure was applied he started to crack

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          12th April 2022, 15:21

          @ajpennypacker sorry but it’s absurd to blame Toto here. You’d have equal luck convincing us that the Ukrainian people are the aggressors and Putin the victim here.

      6. Hamilton 8 x FIA Rules F1 Champion. Braketester 1 Lap Masi Rules Champion.

    2. Interesting revelation on what he’d said to Masi pre-event, also the note on allegedly being disrespectful towards drivers in briefings, but I wonder how?
      How could a Middle Eastern race promoter/organizer have gotten abuse from him, though?

      1. The event organiser will normally have a few meetings with the RD leading up to and during the event.

        The event organiser is responsible for providing the facilities and the personnel needed for an F1 weekend, including marshals. They normally delegate this to the venue owner but ultimately it is their responsibility.

      2. @jerejj Yes, now I can’t help but hear Toto Wolff’s pre-Abu Dhabi ‘pep talk’ with Masi thrown back at him in the infamous ‘it’s called a motor race Toto!!’

      3. @jerejj I think it’s very interesting he had a chat with Masi on Wednesday and on Thursday Masi put out the race event notes including the reminder the stewards have the power to confiscate championship points.

        1. Indeed! Sounds he was influenced by Toto thise kind of dinners should be forbidden during the season.

        2. Very good point there @keithcollantine. It points to more and more issues with actually listening quite well to some advice given on the part of Masi!

          Overall, it is hard to judge from the outside, but we did get many an instance where we saw far to many issues arising with the race direction (crash at restart for example) where his reaction was quite dismissive without even haven taken time to look at the merits of the issues raised, so I can see there might be a point to what Wolff brings up.

          1. @bascb I’m with you. In many cases during the year he just sounded like a know-it-all instead of listening to drivers and their questioning. A lot of the times he just went “this was agreed with the teams”. And never said “we’ll certainly look at it again to see where we can improve”.

            I remember a loooot of articles with explanations from Masi and general outrage in the comments because he was dismissive, as you say.

        3. @keithcollantine what’s more, is that this puts Toto’s accusations against Wheatley having a “bromance” and therefor implying influence with Masi into new light. How can he even make such comments that while having casual lunches with the guy himself.

          1. @sjaakfoo I’m not sure having lunch is synonymous with a bromance. I remarked last year that the tone between the teams and Masi was very different and Red Bull did seem to get a warmer, more amenable tone. However, reading Keith’s report on the Wolff-Masi meeting, I wouldn’t take kindly to the comments Wolff made either, whether they were valid or not. It’s not his position to be giving personal advice on how Masi does his job, specifically something like ‘you are a guy who always seems to know better’. I totally agree with Wolff, Masi was always far toio quick to ignore criticism (or critical advice) but it seems both unprofessional and counterproductive for him to make his criticism in such a way. If you make it personal, you could end up generating a personal, over-emotional response leading to mistakes, which was how it seemed to manifest in the final laps of the season under extreme pressure.

      4. I recall seeing a piece on Sky about Masi’s roll in ensuring Jeddah was ready on time, I imagine that might be the nameless Middle East promoter. Though if he won’t name the drivers or the promoter I reckon he’s making it up. I know a guy who knows Toto and he says Toto always makes things up.

    3. Masi shouldn’t have been having lunch with Toto, that was his biggest mistake.

    4. Toto is once again proving why I find him so completely insufferable. There was absolutely no reason for him to go to lunch with Masi to tell him all the things he considered wrong about him, he wasn’t his boss, he wasn’t his anything, giving someone unsolicited “advice” in an effort to influence them is beyond obnoxious. And the fact he somehow thinks this is something to boast about tells you just about everything you need to know about Toto Wolff the business man. Steer clear.

      What’s more is that there was absolutely no reason to then trash Masi in public after he was already fired from his job. This man is out of a job and probably needs to find a new one in motorsport, does he really need you to do an interview talking about how unlikable he is and how bad he is at his job? Thanks Toto, for burying him some more and for speaking for others about him.

      1. Toto is surely not the only F1 team principal/CEO to dine with Masi. Also if there was any issue with it obviously Masi could have declined to meet with him. I also want to remind folks just how political F1 is, just because we don’t see/know about the discussions happening off track does not mean they are not happening: between officials, teams, even individuals within teams (there are a lot of relationships where two partners work for opposing teams) — the human element cannot be removed from the sport.

      2. So if you believe someone is not behaving as expected, not doing their job correctly, upsetting those they are working with, you shouldn’t tell them about it?

        I’ve talked to several people over lunch in the past to sensitively discuss their job performance, including those from other departments and even other companies I was dealing with. The vast majority have been glad of the feedback, glad that I discussed it directly with them in private rather than involving the management structure, and went on to make serious improvements. Having spoken to managers, too, many of these were heading for a disciplinary, but were turned around through a small, helpful intervention. The few who responded negatively towards my initial chat often ended up leaving the company in a relatively short space of time, one way or another.

        1. I don’t know where you work, but would you doing so potentially upset others, who would then feel obligated to lunch with the person too just to make sure he wouldn’t forget their side of things? Because that’s of course what was happening here. The reason Toto sat down with Masi was probably not a very balanced evaluation, but ever so slightly tilted towards the interest of a certain team.

          1. He doesn’t work anywhere, it’s fantasy ;) A lot of different accounts in this thread are all him.

            1. It takes one to know one..

          2. The reason Toto sat down with Masi was probably

            You’re assuming that Masi was seated, and Toto decided to sit at the same table.
            Perhaps Toto was already seated and Masi decided to sit at the same table.

            No background, so no means to ascribe any pre-determined agenda.

            Not knowing Masi from direct experience, it’s hard to judge, but I think Toto was wrong to expect that someone who ignored all other feedback would take any positive notice of any comments made at that lunch.

        2. How many of these people you’ve spoken about were the boss, @drmouse?

          Masi was, and the teams were required to do what they were told.

          1. I have spoken to managers, my own direct superiors (and those higher up at times) where I was expected to do what they told me, when I felt their behaviour was not helpful. A manager behaving poorly can badly upset the productivity of a team. I’ve even spoken directly to the MD of a company over drinks before to discuss how to improve things, although that was because most of my team were on the verge of quitting due to their poor leadership decisions at that point…

            1. I see @drmouse. Yes, I’ve worked with people who do what you’ve done.
              I don’t work with any of those businesses anymore. When the boss changes things, it upsets the people who were happy and productive with the way things were.

            2. Most of the bosses who have listened to me have taken the opportunity to discuss with other people and discovered that most of them were also unhappy with the situation. They then took the opportunity to consult with the wider business and find a way forward which didn’t result in half their staff quitting and moving to a competitor who didn’t make their lives a misery.

              My alternative at these times would have been to quit and move elsewhere, and a large number of my colleagues would have done the same. I wouldn’t have done so had it been only myself, I’d have just left and found a company more suited to me. I don’t see how having a chat with the boss to encourage him to make him aware of widescale dissatisfaction in the way things were going and encourage him to consult the wider company was wrong.

            3. I used to be a junior in age director of an international engineering company employing 200 at the head office and over 1500 worldwide.

              I sat in a pub for a couple of hours with my senior managing director pretty much every week I was at the head office where we talked about who how and what as I was closer to the shop floor than they would ever be.

              It worked all the time for years and pretty much the only times we had serious issues was when I was overseas for weeks on end. Or managing other acquisitions.

              There is much to be said for the casual off site no holds barred discussion on a regular basis.

              I can fully understand a lunch with massi after the mess that was Jedda and he really should have listened. I have a feeling his pride was getting in the way of his performance.

              We know that after the big drivers session where all the drivers came away completely confused.

        3. @drmouse – +1

          That’s extremely common in the majority of workplaces. I’ve been on the receiving end and have also provided candid feedback in such situations.

          I don’t think there is anything wrong with this but if Masi did react negatively to such “feedback” then perhaps there was an issue with delivery/ how Toto said it.

          Either way, knowing this now changes nothing, FIA pretty much have “protected” him, he is doing other things, what I don’t know, but we really need to move on.

          2021 will hopefully be the worst F1 season for me, entirely based on how the regulators “regulated” it.

      3. Masi is not out of a job, FIA have said they’re going to find him a new one. As long as he keeps quiet about stuff, obviously

      4. There’s every reason for the head of one of the teams to be lunching with race director.

        1. Agreed, I strongly suspect all team bosses have done this and continue to do so. The higher echelons often use “lunches” as less formal business meetings, whether within an organisation or between organisations.

      5. Indeed. Why is Toto having lunch with the referee? Imagine this in football. I know F1 is political but this is on a sliding skill tilting towards the corruption side. It does play into the hands of Liberty in their desire to circus a sport, though. Maybe we shouldn’t regard it as a sport but rather a political game with some cars, drivers and ever changing rules depending on who is the biggest JR Ewing this month.

        1. Maybe we shouldn’t regard it as a sport but rather a political game with some cars, drivers and ever changing rules depending on who is the biggest JR Ewing this month.

          I haven’t thought of F1 as a sport for a long time. The politics and marketing/media side of it has smothered the sporting element to the extent of being little more than a sideshow.

      6. Exactly, Wolff is such a bitter man.
        Horner understands that the political game is in fact just that: a game.

      7. @sjaakfoo
        After Max Verstappens antics in the Saudi Arabian gp, it seemed perfectly normal for Toto to have a chat with Masi about the last race of the season. I actually agree with Toto here.. Masi was a m0ron.

        Horners lunches with Masi must have been more flirtatious.. And that’s why Masi had the brain faart in Abu Dhabi.. And was fired as a result.

    5. Martin Elliott
      11th April 2022, 12:27

      It’s not just Masi’s fault.

      Although an important official, the way he did the job should have been monitored by FIA management from when he was parachuted into F2/3 as a not obvious post.

      As the full report, or even a summary, of the inquiry has not been published, we don’t know how thorough the investigation was. The fact Masi felt he was able to twist the written rules and guidance, and stewards agreed, was extremely worrying. (and SC is reinterpreted in favour of Mercedes specific protest!).
      It raises the worry that the organic development of ‘the rule book’ over decades has left it inconsistent, badly organised and generally not fit for purpose.

      FIA should set-up a specialist project team to review, reorganise and rewrite the whole lot over the next few years.

      1. Masi felt secure in ignoring rules and bending a race for the benefit of the ‘show’. To do that he must have felt that his bosses supported that attitude and that is why I believe it was fortuitous that the head of the FIA changed shortly after Abu Dhabi.

        A fish really does rot from the head.

      2. I feel like the FIA saw the advocacy and other actions of the F1 teams as some form of oversight – matches how the Concrode agreement was struck. That was a mistake, and Massi was the right guy to take a bad system that was working and break it.

        Fans keep comparing the Race Director to a referee when I think the teams and the FIA saw the Race Director more like the commissioner of a private golf tournament.

    6. This year we will have new race director(s), new mistakes, new funny rulings..

      Most of all last season is so far away.. so is Mercedes form. They are nowhere near as dominant.

      Even Max Verstappen is now a distant memory, right now Ferrari and Leclerc are reigning supreme.

      The only entertainment Wolff is providing now is in form of whining about porpoising – all while Ferrari is porpoising in to well fought victories.

    7. The only words Toto hasn’t said are “…So I had him fired.”

      He and Horner are the worst things to happen to F1, other than the technical regulations.

      1. This is why the best solution for F1 after last year.. is Ferrari championship this year.

      2. Both Wolff and Horner have been in the sport for more than a decade at this point.

        There are, of course, more recent things that have entered the F1 ecosystem that have tanked the general level of discourse…

    8. Bought his way into Williams, then the same again into Mercedes. Stood on the shoulders of giants (Schumacher & Brawn) to take over a team and engine that was crafted to win championships. Come on Toto, its time to move on. What’s done is done, and Masi has already been given the chop (rightly or wrongly). All this is doing now is making yourself look worse. especially as this was the first adversity you have come across since being at Mercedes. Knuckle down and focus on this years car! Especially as George is sat in 2nd spot in the championship!

      1. A good comment indeed.

      2. Well said! Success leaves clues, there’s only two names from the last 32 years of F1 to follow if you want to have success as a driver and that’s Brawn & Newey. Toto didn’t bring success to Williams and he has merely steered the Brawn built Mercedes team from 2013. This article simply highlights by his own admission the first major failure of his leadership at Mercedes – Networking. To criticise the race director’s approach on the eve of the Title showdown probably wasn’t a great idea. When I go to a bad restaurant I always wait till the end to complain about the service, I wouldn’t complain about it before my dinner arrives! I’m sure Toto has had his fair share of phlegm brûlée.

        1. Constantijn Blondel
          12th April 2022, 10:47

          “phlegm brûlée” …

          Good one! :D

      3. That’s just rubbish man. Give credit where it’s due. No team in the history of F1 has won 8 constructor championships in a row. He might have inherited a great team when he became team principal.. but he had a major part to play in making the team reach the heights it did. Heck, even Ross Brawn couldn’t manage more than five in a row.

        Why don’t you rant about how Horner wouldn’t have won a single WDC for Red Bull if it wasn’t for Newey.

    9. It wasn’t about influencing him but really giving my honest feedback

      Toto talking about honesty reminds me of Putin talking about peace. If Hamilton won under the SC would Toto have had enough guts to speak about Masi because the things he said about him are serious accusations regardless of the outcome of the Abu Dhabi GP. So he kept dealing and having lunches with someone disrespectful like Masi and kept lobbying him directly during the races but when things didn’t go his way he decided to expose him publicly.

      The way Masi checked him after the race “It’s called a motor race !” and how he reacted “Sorry !” was the highlight of the season and he looked like the villain seeing his empire collapsing. Fantastic !

      1. Seeing now Toto wanted to influence him this comment makes much more sense now.

      2. Who said Sorry on the radio broadcast? Masi?

        1. Wolff, in the tone of “excuse me?!?!? What did you just say?!?”.

          It’s funny. I wonder if people hate Toto because he’s successful, because he runs Mercedes, or because he’s associated with Hamilton?

          Regardless, most of the hatred seems based on a version of Toto Wolff that doesn’t exist outside the imaginations of the fans.

          1. People dislike Toto because he is predictably biased, manipulative (with the media) and generally smarmy.
            And a famously sore loser – not that he’s alone in having these traits of course.

            1. I also hate liars and I think wolff is the highest ranked person in f1 in this category.

      3. @tifoso1989

        Toto talking about honesty reminds me of Putin talking about peace

        You’re comparing Toto Wolff to Vladimir Putin? That would have to be the most ridiculous statement of the year.
        And you @macleod shouldn’t encourage him.

        1. @peartree Just because one guy from Austria did some really bad things, doesn’t mean you can tar them all with the same brush. Should all Chinese people be judged by the behaviour of Chairman Mao? All French be judged by the behaviour of Napoleon?

          Toto is not always right, nor even pleasant much of the time, but to compare him to Putin or any other war-hungry despot is going way too far.

          1. @drmouse Napoleon was born “Italian” obscure fact. People criticize communism’s economic system but they did had a chairman.
            There have been a bunch of serial killers and psychos from Austria. Scary.

        2. @johnrkh – It’s hardly the comparison you’re making it out to be. Putin talks about peace whilst his actions bring about the complete opposite. Toto talks about honestly whilst his actions are the complete opposite…

          The similarity is purely about the fact that both of them will brazenly lie and will not have any issue doing so. The comparison starts and ends there.

        3. @johnrkh It was not that i agree with him just this part:

          The way Masi checked him after the race “It’s called a motor race !” and how he reacted “Sorry !” was the highlight of the season and he looked like the villain seeing his empire collapsing. Fantastic !

          But your right i shouldn’t have encouraged him… sorry about that.

        4. @johnrkh
          I’m not comparing him to Putin. The metaphor is about how detached both men are from reality when they are talking about honesty and peace. I’m really sorry if I have offended anyone but that wasn’t the aim of my comment.

        5. RandomMallard
          11th April 2022, 18:36

          @johnrkh I agree. It’s not the first time I’ve seen similar analogies brought up about Abu Dhabi. And while Abu Dhabi was very much wrong (in my opinion), a sporting disagreement is on a miniscule scale compared to what is going on in Ukraine. And then it turning into a completely different “debate” a little bit further up as well. But thank you (although it’s not personally affecting me hugely) to Tifoso and Macleod for apologising and clarifying their statements.

      4. The decision at the end of the Abu Dhabi race was simply wrong as it:-

        1) Was an interpretation of the rules that hadn’t been done before – so then immediately warrants questioning
        2) denied all of the 18 (or so) drivers behind the Top 2 any chance of winning the race. Who’s to say that Max and Lewis hadn’t battled sufficiently aggressively, for 3rd/4th place man to nip and take the win. No chance when they’re stuck behind other drivers
        3) Showed blatant inconsistency when the same race director, in a similar previous situation, had done the opposite.

        It was gross incompetence, he simply should have been fired.

        And by the way I think Max deserved to win the WDC. But not that way.

        1. I thikn the same way.

          I understand the need to have the two championship contenders battling ‘mano a mano’ but what about Sainz who was in 3rd position, what if (and this is a big IF) Sainz would have made a move on Max before he attacked Lewis, maybe would have been unable to go for the win.
          There is a lot of variables that this decision to unlapped only a few cars provoke.

          I think Max deserved to win the WDC. But not that way.

          Same here.

      5. Name three things Toto Wolff has said that can be proven to be false.

        Exaggeration and understating don’t count. I’m looking for actual “liar, liar” moments.

        1. 100% We made the right decision to keep Lewis on intermediates (Hungary)?
          Or what about: “Wolff wants Abu Dhabi chapter closed”
          Can’t get to three yet though…:-)

          1. …. However, the track dried out so quickly that the other drivers were immediately quicker than him, and Hamilton dropped to the rear of the field.

            Nonetheless Wolff said the team stood by its decision. “I think 100 percent [it was] the right decision and I stand by it,” he said.

            “At the end you need to make the call out there and judge whether it’s dry enough or not and I thought that within one lap it couldn’t possibly dry up like it did. And at the end we have to take it on the chin that it was the wrong outcome but the decision was right.”

            So it was a mistake, in hindsight, but to call that a lie is going a bit far don’t you think?
            As to closing Abu Dhabi chapter – he keeps getting asked about AD, so he gives them a response. I think you’ll find the teams are all now concentrating on the future, which they can affect.

        2. We won’t bring any more upgrades to the 2021 cars – ends up being the fastest car on track late in the season.

      6. “Toto talking about honesty reminds me of Putin talking about peace.”

        I really like that, a very good comparison based on political liars.

        1. Unsurprisingly. He and Lewis live rent-free in your head so it’s hardly a shock that you really like a completely absurd comparison.

      7. o he kept dealing and having lunches with someone disrespectful like Masi and kept lobbying him directly during the races but when things didn’t go his way he decided to expose him publicly.

        @tifoso1989

        Every team principal wines and dines with Masi. That’s nothing more than political and power play that every team principal has to exercise. I don’t even understand what did Toto “publicly expose” Masi for ? For being a spineless clown? I think Masi proved that himself. He openly broke the rules.. you might want to admit it.. but it’s true. That rule break cost Mercedes and Lewis that championship.

        I think Toto was completely justified in throwing him under the bus. Maybe have another hear of the conversation between the Red Bull sporting director and Masi during the last few laps of the Abu Dhabi GP and see how you feel about it.

    10. Who said sorry on the radio broadcast? Masi?

    11. Move on Wolff.

    12. It’s surprising to me how many fans suddenly seem to think Michael Masi was doing a great job & shouldn’t have been removed as race director considering that one of the most common fan complaints even before Abu Dhabi was that Michael Masi was making poor decisions that was allowing for a lot of the inconsistencies & confusions that fans, Media, teams & drivers had been complaining about for a lot of the previous 2-3 years.

      You obviously can’t put the blame on Masi for some of the penalty decisions as that is down to the stewards (I notice that the new graphics this year say ‘race control’ or ‘Stewards’ for investigations/penalty notices) but Masi was in charge of some of the things that had become confusing/inconsistent & was the guy in charge of some elements that seemed to change from week to week.

      If the race director & decisions they are involved with are starting to become as big a talking point and as controversial as some of that stuff was then something isn’t right or working as well as it should be & I think that’s where we got to.

      1. @stefmeister Well put. COTD worthy.

      2. As stated by many people, many times – most of the inconsistencies were in stewarding, not in Race Direction.
        Masi copped the blame because he was the only one who could (and did) front the media to explain how the rules of F1 lead to the stewarding decisions at each event. That he didn’t have any control over, because that wasn’t his role…..

        Even most of the inconsistencies that actually did come from Race Direction came as a direct result of the teams’ wishes and agreements with the FIA prior to the event.

        Somehow, the teams have come out of this looking pretty clean and the Race Director was thrown out.
        Well done, F1 teams.

        1. Incorrect. While there were steward’s decisions that were nuts, consider the unlapping at Germany in 2020: “We have to unlap all the cars, it’s in the rules”. Consider Masi being unable to give the drivers guidance on forcing other drivers off the track after Brazil 2021– “It depends” was the best he had. Consider him being unable to refer incidents to the stewards, because he was out on track supervising repairs, leaving NO race director in the booth. How about the sausage kerb at Monza that nearly killed Alex Peroni?

          And ultimately, as Abu Dhabi proved, the stewards answer to Masi, and are not independent.

          1. I’ve considered all of your examples, and merely come to different conclusions than you do.
            Rules have interpretations, which are agreed with the competitors far more so now than even 1 or 2 years ago. In fact, those interpretations come about due to incidents and occurrences from those 1 or 2 years ago.
            We all know that the application of F1’s rules is very much “it depends” in reality, because that is how they (the FIA, Liberty and the teams) want it to be and due to the basic fact that no two incidents are ever identical.
            The Race Director doesn’t need to refer incidents to the stewards, as they have the power to investigate things themselves. The race was stopped at the time you speak of anyway, obviously. While that may show a lack of manpower and insufficient work allocation, it is hardly Masi’s fault, is it.
            You mean the sausage kerb that was outside of track limits? Yeah, it was the wrong device in the wrong place as it turned out – but let’s face it, Masi didn’t design the thing, and he never did track inspections or certification on his own. He was part of an experienced team, and any one of them could have expressed their concerns at any time. It met the FIA’s rules regarding circuit grading and track furniture safety, so it was used. And when an incident did occur, it was promptly investigated and removed.
            Abu Dhabi proved that the stewards can also make their own decisions, right or wrong. If they agree that a rule can be interpreted a certain way, then it can.
            You don’t have to like it.

          2. RandomMallard
            11th April 2022, 18:40

            Consider him being unable to refer incidents to the stewards, because he was out on track supervising repairs, leaving NO race director in the booth.

            I believe the stewards are able to investigate incidents at their own will as well; it doesn’t have to be forwarded from the race director iirc.

      3. RandomMallard
        11th April 2022, 18:43

        @stefmeister As Jerejj says, well put. And good spot about the Race Control vs Stewards note on the graphics. The next step imo should be making the corresponding decision makers explain their decisions. If there is a question about a stewards’ decision, the stewards should have to explain it. Because at one point last season Masi had to explain a decision made by the stewards for Formula 2, which he isn’t even race director for iirc. The RD doesn’t have to be the only spokesperson for the FIA.

    13. This does bring into question though if Masi’s actions were in part a reaction to being told by Toto that he wasn’t good at his job. I doubt if this consciously influenced Masi’s decision but we know, the voice in the back of your head, in a tense situation.

      It seems they had a difficult relationship anyway. I expect Toto brought this up during the FIA enquiry.

      I don’t quite see why Toto is raising this now though. It might have been more diplomatic to keep quiet now Masi has been removed anyway. He’s not really helping his own reputation.

      1. If a senior in one department meets a senior in another, then if one of them become overtly ‘influenced’ by the other – then it says more about how poor they are in carrying out their job role.

    14. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      11th April 2022, 13:57

      In DTS, Masi himself identified his role as a friend before everything else. I think he just didn’t understand the role at all and it was clear he was in over his head. The last thing the race director should ever be is a friend to any team, especially if he chooses his friends.

      Wolff is spot on. Masi made the sport all about himself and destroyed the most exciting championship in F1.

      1. The last thing the race director should ever be is a friend to any team

        Tell that to Charlie Whiting.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          11th April 2022, 16:50

          Are you talking about Ferrari?

      2. It fits that you use dts as proof :)

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          12th April 2022, 13:28

          Thanks, it’s the only interview we’ve seen of Masi but, hey, let’s listen to you instead.

          1. Can not be worse then dts :)

    15. I thought there was some rationale for that, “…we went car racing.” crack from Masi.

      Lunch with Masi in which the message, ‘…you act like a know-it-all…’ on the Wednesday before the race? That might have been a tactical error. You really don’t want the ref to have any underlying resentment toward your team…Though most professionals can take a bad message and not let it impact their decisions or performance.

      In any case, it’s nice to have some history on incidents that led to that FUBAR’d restart. At some point in the near-future, some motorsport journalist will become a millionaire with a bestseller that lays down the story completely and fairly for F1 fans and history. Folks will scratch their heads on why Formula 1 has a bestseller…but we lucky few will have been there while the whole deal developed.

    16. Whats up with all this hatred, animosity, disrespect, plain jealousy from soo mant fans? Toto has a point. Masi has not said anything which actually speaks volumes. And if other drivers amd people share the same or similar perception about masi then Toto cant be far off from the truth.

    17. Niels Wittich, one of Masi’s two replacements in the role, “hasn’t put a single foot wrong” since taking over.

      Liar. Niels tripped on himself in Jeddah, it was really funny, he was trying to see if the tarmac was slippy. True story, check out on f1tv.
      Now seriously, the Albon v Stroll was not a penalty, the stroll v latifi was not a penalty and if it was it went the opposite way. Perez got away with not slowing under yellows, hard to find consistency with that ruling, the reprimands are most definitely not going to be applied with consistency. Stroll weaving I cannot believe it is going to end up applied to the top runners. And finally lets talk about last minute clarifications, they had the winter to comb through the rules and address grey areas abd they decided to sketch a clarification during the Aus GP.

      1. Yes. Well. Toto’s team wasn’t on the receiving end of those decisions, so obviously in his world nothing went wrong there.

      2. @peartree Albon-Stroll merely went the wrong way around, Stroll-Latifi went both right & right way around, while Perez slowed down sufficiently, as explained in the official document:
        ”The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 11 (Sergio Perez), the team
        representative and have reviewed video, marshalling system and telemetry evidence.
        As PER approached turn 11, a single yellow flag was displayed for a car in the
        escape road. PER was warned by his team on the radio at the same time the signals
        were displayed at the corner. Compared to his previous lap, he lifted 70 meters
        earlier, braked 50 meters earlier, and carried 14kph less speed into the corner. As a
        result of these actions, the Stewards conclude that PER acted appropriately to the
        situation and take no further action.”
        The only misstep under Wittich’s tenure thus far is not giving enough time & distance for lapped drivers to catch the pack after unlapping in Bahrain.
        Otherwise, his time as F1’s RD has gone smoothly & issue-freely & what I especially like is that he’s more reasonable with track limit enforcement than Masi in the last two seasons.

        1. @jerejj no, just no. Latifi was erratic, Stroll and Bottas were going the same way, Latifi let Stroll past and then decided to re pass Stroll by the wrong side. who could be prepared for that.
          Perez was 14 kph slower, if he was running that’d be significany since he was driving he might as well taken an even better line.
          track limits what track limits, everyone was abusing them in bahrain but they could not keep up with it and so did nothing about it, that and bad calls and inconsistency on rules amke their short tenure just shy of Masi’s debacle.

      3. RandomMallard
        11th April 2022, 18:46

        @peartree The penalty decisions you mention are decisions made by the stewards, not by the Race Director. But yes, he did need to make some clarifications for some ambiguous rules.

    18. Michael Quinn
      11th April 2022, 14:31

      Arrogant Toto thinking THEY are bigger than F1 and racing. How long before they pull out of F1 if they continue to suffer the new rules.

    19. Why would a team principle have lunch with race director before the most crucial race of the year? There are so many people on the F1 paddock to have lunch with.
      More importantly why would Wolff bring up the point on Masi needing to take criticism on board before the championship deciding race?
      It makes no sense at all.

    20. Talk about kicking a guy when he’s down.

      And drawing adverse inferences from Masi’s dignified silence is a particularly foolish thing to do, given that Lewis Hamilton disappeared from public view after Abu Dhabi and didn’t re-emerge until a few weeks before the new season. Neither should have it held against them if they don’t feel like repeatedly answering the same questions over and over again.

    21. Max** will be known hereafter as “Masi” Verstappen**.

      1. Still stuck I see :)

        1. Yes, it’s getting ridiculous with some people, or the “paper champion” thing.

      2. Lewis has lost more than you and has moved on, why can’t you?
        Nothing will change the results, no matter how many snarky side marks you make.

    22. one thing he is right, masi seemed to have a desire to be a character in the mix, something charlie never did.

    23. No, his decision making last year was poor, from start(changing track limits 3 times during the weekend, and then towards the end of the race) to finish

    24. The only question that needs to be answered, and Masi is the only one that can answer it,
      Why did you change your decision from “no cars will unlap”?

    25. This almost sounds like the motive as to why Masi messed it all up to the clear benefit of one driver and detriment to another (which frankly is how I feel about what happened rather than it just being a bunch of bad decisions made under pressure – either way it’s incompetence at least).

      So happy he’s gone. Race Direction should be a consistent background process and they should always be striving to get it right and be prepared for any eventuality. In the last couple of seasons it just seems to get way out of hand and inexplicable calls were made (or not made like Max pushing Hamilton off so wide in Brazil).

    26. So toto likes to kick someone who is already down and can (or may) not defend himself.
      Masi received lots of death threats, no Mercedes reaction or fia for that matter.
      Fitting…

      1. It is better to put this clown in front of a desk with a headset he can smash whenever he feels the pain.

        1. Constantijn Blondel
          12th April 2022, 11:04

          an Emotional Support Headset … made of plush :)

      2. Why cant Masi defend himself? He would have all the attention, if he would explain his ridiculous decisions. He simply decides not to, for some reasons we can only guess.

      3. Perhaps Masi can not defend himself because his actions were indefensible.

        However he could show contrition. It is much easier to forgive someone who owns up to his mistakes.

        By not admitting that they were mistakes he gives the impression that his actions were deliberate.

    27. I’m very impressed by the literally incredible psychological insights and deductions made by many commenters here. Thank goodness we are not all so easily taken in as the MB investors, Mercedes board, INEOS, and all the team members, other teams, etc. etc. Toto Wolff does such an amazingly convincing impersonation of the most competent and successful investor + team leader in F1 history, that he certainly had me fooled!
      And of course, it’s totally unacceptable that anyone involved in F1 should be allowed to eat any kind of food, or indeed drink, with anyone.
      /s

      1. Someone made a comparison with Putin.
        There are millions of Russians that think he does a good job.

    28. Masi deserves to be criticized cause he critically failed his job’s objectives, directly impacting the championship and the fame of the sport. He became a frontman, a persona, and this took a toll on him. Horner and Toto were also to be blamed, but their bad attitude was just another failure of Masi’s handlings. And Abu Dhabi was just the tip of the iceberg, he seriously messed up many times throughout the year.
      So yeah, I won’t sympathize with him, I won’t feel sorry for him, nor will I be glad to see him taking another F1-related role inside FIA. He wasn’t sacrificed, he was rightfully sacked.

      1. You are implying the final result was a bad thing. One of the best things to happen in the sport of F1 for years and years. It will continue to be recognised as so for decades. The majority of the world jumped with absolute joy. Nothing will change that. Wolff one day will be hung out to dry. Wait and see. It’s just a matter of time. Great job Masi. Masi will have his say too in time. It will be worth waiting for.

    29. Lets see how long it takes before Wolffs starts complaining about Niels Wittich ..oh he already did.

    30. Masi is still dearly loved in cerrain quarters though!

    31. Pot / Kettle…take no notice

    32. This week the CWAD21WP comes early

    33. The rule on jewelry dates back to 2005. Response from drivers at the time: (thanks to poster on another forum)

      Michael Schumacher (7 x WDC) wore a lucky amulet given to him by his wife: “If they say we can’t wear it then we can’t wear it,”
      Vitantonio Liuzzi: “I already have an earring and was planning to pierce my eyebrow, but I guess now I’ll have to change my plans,”
      Christian Klien of Austria (earring and a chain): “If that’s their decision then I don’t have a problem”

      And in 2022…..

      LH: “I don’t have any plans on removing them”
      TW: “Is that a battle he (RD) needs to have at this stage?”

      The respect for F1, FIA and its rules has deteriorated.

      1. wrong article

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