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Michael Masi was ‘turned’ by Red Bull in F1 season finale, says Toto Wolff

Toto Wolff has suggested that former FIA race director Michael Masi was “turned” by Red Bull in last year’s Formula 1 Season finale, which saw Max Verstappen win the drivers’ championship after overtaking Lewis Hamilton on a controversial final lap.

Mercedes’ Hamilton had led for much of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and was on course for a record eighth title, but a decision made in part by Masi ensured the race did not finish behind a safety car, allowing Red Bull driver Verstappen to get past his rival, win the race and secure a maiden championship trophy.

Masi has since been relieved of his duties as FIA race director ahead of the 2022 season, and Mercedes chief Wolff makes clear his opinion of the Australian in Duel: Hamilton vs Verstappen a new Sky Sports documentary, the first episode of which will air on Sunday.

In the documentary, Wolff says: “[Red Bull sporting director] Jonathan Wheatley has done his job; he’s turned Michael Masi, the race director.

“Not only in Abu Dhabi but before, and probably Max owes him a lot.”

Wolff also accuses Masi of having a “bromance”-like relationship with Wheatley.

“I haven’t spoken to [Masi] and I don’t want to speak to him ever again,” Wolff goes on to say.

“His decisions were wrong and I’m sure that he regrets them. The FIA should have seen much earlier that there was a problem. There was a problem with the structure. There was a problem of personalities.”

Hamilton entered the Abu Dhabi GP as defending champion, tied with Michael Schumacher on seven world titles. The Briton was on the verge of going clear of the German icon, but instead saw rival Verstappen claim the drivers’ championship in the most dramatic ending to an F1 season in the history of the sport.

Wolff continues: “It’s like a football game that is 1-0 for one team and suddenly the referee says: ‘Now it’s golden goal, 0-0, whoever scores the next goal wins’.

“‘And, by the way, we have to play without boots.’”

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