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Calls For Formula One Racing Director To Be Fired Grow After Max Verstappen Final Lap Controversy

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Calls For Formula One Racing Director To Be Fired Grow After Max Verstappen Final Lap ControversyAlamy

Formula One director Michael Masi has sparked outrage after Lewis Hamilton was ‘robbed’ in the final race of the season. 

Yesterday, December 12, the world’s best drivers went head to head in Abu Dhabi for the season finale. For the most part, Hamilton was controlling the race and seemed to be on course to take the title.

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However, a late safety car threw a spanner in the works. The race was restarted with just one lap to go, allowing Red Bull’s Max Verstappen – on fresh tyres, compared to Hamilton’s old ones – to overtake and win the race.

According to F1’s sporting regulations, as per Motor Sport, ‘Any cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety car… once the last lapped car has passed the leader the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap.’

Instead, Masi sped up the safety car procedure to bring forward a final lap between Hamilton and Verstappen. ‘Michael, this isn’t right,’ the Mercedes team complained over the radio. ‘It’s called a motor race, we went car racing,’ Masi responded.

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Mercedes filed two protests, both of which were rejected by Formula 1 stewards. The team can still appeal, and a verdict is still awaited on the classification. For now at least, Verstappen has been confirmed as world champion.

The reaction on social media has been deafening. ‘#MichaelMasi needs to be fired from his role with the FIA immediately. He disgraced #F1 today and raised so many questions about internal rot,’ one user wrote. ‘Michael Masi just robbed Lewis Hamilton of the record breaking eighth and I’m still not over it, what a complete joke to the sport,’ another tweeted.

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‘Michael Masi has put a whole new meaning to his job title of race director… the real 2021 Formula 1 World Champion is Lewis Hamilton!’ a third wrote. ‘FIA the entire season were a complete joke. Get rid of Michael Masi immediately,’ another wrote.

‘Whatever anyone thinks of Lewis and Max, I think we can all agree that Michael Masi has been a dreadful race director all year. The stuff between Max and Lewis, both ways, should have been stopped early on. Inconsistent penalties all season right through the grid. #masiout,’ a fifth tweeted.

‘Michael Masi’s explanation for what happened at the end, ‘It’s called a motor race’. Translation: We don’t care if we didn’t follow our own procedure, or if we changed our minds at the last minute,’ a sixth wrote.

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Topics: Sport, Lewis Hamilton, Now

Credits

Motor Sport
  1. Motor Sport

    The safety car regulations that Michael Masi ignored to 'go racing' at the end of Abu Dhabi GP

Cameron Frew
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