Merc Boss makes shock admission about Masi’s safety car decision

Mercedes boss says Masi’s Safety Car call was “ingenious and brilliant” – The ear splitting noise of protest from Mercedes AMG F1 to Michael Masi’s interpretation of the sporting rules to prevent the 2021 season deciding race petering out under the safety car is now mostly abated.

Quite are the sycophantic British Press screaming “Lewis was robbed” and diminished are the despicable social media torrents of abuse towards Masi, his family and the FIA.

In all this certainly, damage has been done to Mercedes F1 brand, particularly when Wolff realized the FIA would reject any further appeal and went vocal with the BBC.


What was a great shame was we saw Lewis Hamilton initially being most gracious at the conclusion of the Abu Dhabi race, but then he predictably then followed it up with his predictable ‘sore loser’ behavior. The ex-world champion refused to attend the compulsory end of season FIA gala and collect his trophy.

In response, the incoming FIA president has stated ‘rules are rules’ in respect to Hamilton being punished for his failure to comply with the regulation. This could well see the ex British champion receive a third reprimand of the season.


The result?

We’ll all still be talking about Wolff and Hamilton’s reaction come the first race of 2022 in Bahrain, when Lewis takes a probable 10 place grid penalty.

For now however, more sanguine voices from F1 land can be heard and different perspectives on the season finale and the result are coming to the fore.

Countering the insistence by Wolff that Lewis Hamilton is F1’s GOAT (Greatest of all Time); David Coulthard refuses to agree.

Whilst Wolff may be an F1 ‘Johnny Come Lately’ and not know how to behave, it is worth remembering Mercedes F1 are the most historic of F1 marques, debuting in 1954.


Juan Manuel Fangio won their first race at the French GP that year followed by 3 more to take the 1954 Drivers’ title. The Argentinian great won the WDC again in 1955, but Mercedes withdraw from motorsport following a terrible accident killing at Le Mans that year. Their driver and 84 spectators were killed as the car flew into the crowd.

The man who persuaded Daimler to allow Mercedes to re-enter F1 almost 40 years after their exit is Norbert Haug. In 1993 Haug negotiated a partnership with Peter Sauber to associate with the team and then the following season Ilmor actually built the first modern Mercedes Benz F1 engine.


Following a horrific accident that appeared to be the fault of the Peugeot engine, Team McLaren’s Ron Dennis and Haug agreed Mercedes would be the engine partner for the British F1 team. This relationship continued until 2010 when Mercedes bought the Brackley operation as their own works team.

To suggest Norbert Haug could teach Toto Wolff a thing or two about motorsport would be the understatement of the decade. He was one of F1’s most influential figures for over 20 years and dominated Mercedes motorsport for even longer. Hence his view on the antics of the current team members is interesting indeed.


Whilst having sympathy for Wolff and admitting Haug himself would have been ‘freaked out’ by the last lap, the German notes, “The motorsport fan doesn’t want to see this behavior. You have to be big enough to shut up”, admitting this was also not easy for him.

Haug muses on various race events which Michael Masi managed throughout the season, suggesting he has a pragmatic approach to solving sporting conflicts.


Haug applauds Masi’s decision not to just allow Verstappen to be penalized for using the run off area in Saudi Arabia. His offer to Red Bull the choice of conceding the place or being referred to the stewards, was refreshing.

This new approach has been criticised by the likes of Sky’s expert David Croft and called ‘negotiation’ and ‘horse trading’.


In actuality, the offer diffused the later debate about whether an imposed stewards decision on Verstappen was fair or not. To this end Haug states, “that wasn’t trading, it was an extremely clever move”.

As to Masi’s handling of a number of decisions during the Abu Dhabi finale Haug applauds them all including lap 1. Here Hamilton ran wide, but arguably Max didn’t leave space, so under the Lap 1 ideal that track limit breaches are more forgivable as cars sort themselves out, Masi refused to ask Lewis to hand back the place.

This for some contradicted of his decision against Verstappen in Saudi Arabia. Yet the context was different.

The biggie of course was the scenario all none partisan F1 fans dreaded, the thrilling season finishing under the safety car.


Of course, there wasn’t time to allow the usual full un-lapping of the pack, so Masi called it that only those interfering with the race leaders should be removed.

“I think Masi was ingenious and brilliant in finding that solution”, smiles Haug when speaking to Hello TV.


Of course despite the furore of a new interpretation of a sporting regulation, in effect Michael Masi was enacting the oft repeated words of Niki Lauda, which echo now across time.

“Let them race”, the grizzled Austrian would growl.

Maybe the always friendly though ferociously competitive Norbert Haug has reminded us what Mercedes motorsport is really all about. It’s just that some of its current incumbents may have less of a perspective across time.

In the words of Bono, maybe Toto and Lewis are, ‘Stuck in a moment, and can’t get out of it’.



12 responses to “Merc Boss makes shock admission about Masi’s safety car decision

  1. You know, when you frame the headline (and therefore what is presented in news feeds etc) as “MERC BOSS MAKES SHOCK ADMISSION ABOUT MASI’S SAFETY CAR DECISION”, it quite obviously gets read as referring to the CURRENT Merc Boss and the FORMER, which obviously has vastly different, and far less significant connotations… but then you know this already, didn’t you “judge”

    This is straight out of The Sun and Daily Mail playbook of cheap, clickbait headlines, and makes you cheap and lacking in credibility

  2. This is all very biased in favour of Masi and FIA. The very fact that Masi changed his mind after being pressurised by Christian Horner into allowing a one lap shoot out clearly wasn’t acceptable. Yet, the FIA and the author of this feature are somehow trying to condone Masi’s actions. As for David Coulthard, he has also changed his mind and is now refusing to support the injustice having previously suggested it was wrong. If Masi and the FIA ignore this travesty and are not properly investigated there are many F1 fans around the world who will see the FIA as not fit for purpose. It has already been said by some reporters and pundits that It will damage the sport’s credibility and it’s fan base.

  3. Is this article written by the FIA , F1 or Red Bull because apart from them and the RedBull fan base everyone else thinks it was daylight robbery ….. Or do they think History will change the facts.

  4. Couldn’t agree more . Masi should be fired and a fine imposed on him , I smell corruption. I think Merc should pull out of 22 in protest , The FIA are slinging mud at toto and Hamilton because they know they are wrong , but if they admit it they would have to strip of vertaspens title and the award it to Hamilton , And don’t get me wrong I’m not a Hamilton fan . But that finish was all wrong , let them race that’s a joke . Had masi said he was going to bend the rules at the end Merc could of pitted ham for tyres and then it would of been a race to the end , but masi made it so biast toward red bull it was laughable , sadly it was no joke . I will never watch F1 again after so many years I forget .

  5. This was a very weak article. To attempt to sway public opinion in such a deliberate manner, erodes any perception of unbiased objectivity. Further, to attempt to allude to the wronged being culpable is just plain fool hardy.

    I would suggest the very worst thing the FIA can do, is to conduct a farce of an investigation, and risk permanently eroding its credibility, as an objective arbiter.

    With respect to this writing, it is clearly presented to appease the trail attempting to wag the dog.

  6. “Robbed” is the onky correct and direct word to describe the last lap in Abu Dhabi!
    Either Masi let ALL the tail end cars unlap themselves or NONE at all!!!!!!!
    By letting the 5 cars through, Masi effectively Robbed Hamilton of the win he entiteldly deserved.
    Verstappen was toast had Masi stuck to his decision. That was absolutely not the case of “Let them race” It was rather” “Let Verstappen win”
    “Robbed”. Enough said!!

  7. Masi did the right thing we are still talking about the great finish. If you look at footage Hamilton asked to pit numerous times and was denied by team because he would give track position Mercedes got caught with there pants down and did not cover all the scenarios. They have only there selves to blame for not looking at all possible outcomes. It’s easy to want to blame someone else for your blunder !

  8. This article is written by idiot proper dumb mf that lacks any come sense just like masi and fia proper thieving bustards 👎👎👎👎👎

  9. The only way the F1A is going to get out of this hole is to back Masi so it thinks ! Well that doesn’t wash with me . …….so that’ll be the last time I will ever pay a bean to have anything to do with that dispicable shower !

  10. FIA at fault for all the issues created through this season .
    Charle Whitting wound never have played this disstorted game .
    FIA need to be open on all the issues they deal with including payouts.

    • Charlie W had Herbie Brash to receive incoming from the team principal’s on pit radio. Whatever the complaint, Herbie’s response would be “Charlie is busy at the moment, he’ll get back to you”.

      Lesson: Sometimes being too available and media friendly doesn’t always pay.

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