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Jenson Button gives verdict on how F1 should react to Abu Dhabi controversy

The fallout of the Abu Dhabi controversy from the end of the 2021 Formula One season could be over soon – along with any new changes, personnel or otherwise, which are implemented as a result of the FIA’s study.

Conclusions from the investigation have been handed to F1 chiefs and they are due to be made public in the coming days, including whether or not race director Michael Masi will continue in his role and any new regulations around in-race contact with the person doing that job.

For Jenson Button, that’s one area which can definitely be improved, with team bosses holding off airing complaints and suggestions which naturally favour their own drivers until after each Grand Prix has finished.

Asked by Sky Sports whether a code of conduct communication with the race director needs to implemented, Button was unequivocal.

“I think so. The teams can go and talk to Masi at the end of the race,” he said.

“But during the race I think it’s wrong because there is so much emotion coming from the teams but also coming from Michael Masi.

“It’s difficult because there is so much adrenalin, a lot of people watching what he does, so I think it’s better that the stewards can discuss it among themselves and come up with a decision, and obviously with the rulebook in front of them too.”

Despite the criticisms aimed at both Masi and the likes of Toto Wolff and Christian Horner, team bosses of Mercedes and Red Bull respectively, Button pointed out that the type of back-and-forth discourse which made headlines toward the end of last year – and particularly at the Yas Marina Circuit – has always been a feature of races. But the magnitude of the occasion with the title going to the wire and the increased attention it garnered made it seem more ominous than was really the case.

“I think when you hear that on its own you think ‘wow that’s bad, it’s like they are manipulating the steward or director’ but it’s very different than that.

“Every team speaks to Masi and puts their point across. They always do and if you listen earlier in the race, Toto Wolff was also saying ‘we don’t want a Safety Car here, we want a virtual one’ and things like that.

“They are always going to get their point across. It’s always been like that in the sport and maybe that needs to be checked and shouldn’t be like that, and that Michael Masi can make the decision on his own.”

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