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‘Masi owes Lewis Hamilton’ says Damon Hill as former F1 racers discuss Abu Dhabi controversy

The Michael Masi – Abu Dhabi season finale controversy took centre stage yet again as Red Bull prepared to launch their 2022 challenger, the RB18. The FIA race director’s interactions with Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley were shared numerous times to highlight his actions that allowed Max Verstappen to snatch the 2021 F1 world title from Lewis Hamilton’s grasp.

Former F1 racers Martin Brundle and Damon Hill feel that sacking Masi will not solve the problem, as the role of FIA race director is not suitable for just one person to handle. Moreover, Hill believes it is better to retain Masi as he now owes Hamilton for taking away a record-breaking eighth world title from the Mercedes driver.

The conversation between Wheatley and Masi was released by the FIA on Dec. 16, and the FIA stated that they are aware of it as they investigate the events that led to the controversial ending in Abu Dhabi. Hill feels that an apology is owed to Hamilton and F1 fans with the FIA to blame for changing the outcome of the race.

“It’s not new or emerging news. It does however make for uncomfortable listening, as it did at the time. No-one (except Red Bull) is happy about this. The question is, what does one do about it?” Hill wrote in response to a fan on Twitter.

“I think an apology is due to Hamilton and to all F1 fans. But it won’t change the result of the 2021 F1 Championship. That is the whole point of my argument. Sacking Masi will not change the result. It may even be better for Hamilton if he stays! He owes him!”

Brundle, who is a commentator with Sky Sports, also agrees with Hill and feels sacking Masi will not solve the problem. He has no doubt that the FIA race director made an error and handed Verstappen an opportunity to win the title, but feels the governing body have themselves to blame as Red Bull did not do any thing wrong on the day.

However, he feels that Masi’s position is “untenable” as he will be under the spotlight if he remains in his position as the race director. Every decision he makes during the 2022 season will be under scrutiny, especially if it involves Hamilton.

“I made a comment that changing Michael Masi won’t fix the problem, meaning that it’s way too big a job for one person,” Brundle said, as quoted on Sky Sports. “That doesn’t mean to say I’m in full support for Michael Masi. I think he’ll struggle to keep that position.”

“The trouble is that the spotlight will be on him, and every single decision will be analysed,” he added. “What happens if Lewis is up for a penalty? Will he be lenient on that? I think he’s in an untenable situation.”


Back in business: Lewis Hamilton will race in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Giuseppe CACACE/POOL


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