Masi exonerated as “teams applied the pressure to avoid finishing under Safety Car at all costs”

Masi exonerated as “teams applied the pressure to avoid finishing under the Safety Car at all costs” – The wailing and gnashing of teeth from certain quarters of the Formula 1 paddock over decisions made during the final F1 race of the season has been relentless and filed thousands of column inches.

Lawyered up and ready for action, Wolff and Mercedes Benz stormed into the Formula One stewards office at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix post race to demand a reversal of the race result and to see their man Lewis crowned as champion.


The British media and certain pundits alike have cried, ‘Hamilton was robbed’ and called into question the integrity and competence of Michael Masi, the FIA F1 race director.

Yet as is always the case in Formula 1, you need to look behind the tabloid-esque headlines and the second class punters who merely want to frame themselves to the fore.


Today Zak Brown published his thoughts on the year ahead and how F1 should continue the process of change.

In a wide ranging post, the McLaren chief looks to the future and how the past and present has influenced the decision making in Formula 1.

Zak addresses the issue of F1 governance and regulation creation and provides an interesting view on how things used to be done, why they changed and calls for the new FIA president to shift back towards a more “directive” form of leadership


“Previous [FIA] administrations pursued a mainly autocratic style of governance, so to point the sport in the right direction it was necessary to take a more consultative approach with teams and stakeholders. But now the sport has been successfully reset, moving forward there is a need to shift back to stronger, more directive leadership and governance at the top of the sport.”

As TJ13 has asserted time and again, the teams have too much power and the more powerful teams exert the most influence on the direction of F1. Mercedes Benz AMG F1 given it’s engine supply has by default had the most influence.

Zak Brown observes it is the teams exploitation of the sporting regulations that has led to ever shifting sands of policing and places a great deal of responsibility for inconsistency in this area at their door.

“I have said before that the teams have too much power and it needs to be reduced. We have a significant role in the drafting of the regulations,” says the Mclaren boss, “and governance of Formula 1 and that influence is not always driven by what is best overall for the sport.”

Clearly Ferrari have utilised their history in F1 to at times muscle in on the FIA delegates proposals; particularly the ones that don’t suit them.

When Red Bull were top dogs, they refused to countenance any kind of budget cap, though since Mercedes financial and performance dominance have unsurprisingly changed their tune.


Then their Mercedes F1 and Toto Wolff who have sought to retain their competitive advantage year on year by either threatening to withdraw from the sport along with their engines or coerced their power unit customers to vote along the lines the Stuttgart owned team desired.

“But at times it has seemed the sport is governed by certain teams. Let us not forget that we, the teams, have contributed to the inconsistencies in the policing of the regulations as much as anyone,” adds Brown.

One of the most telling comments from Brown demonstrates the who-ha from F1 pundits and particularly Toto Wolff over the manner of the removal of the safety car in Abu Dhabi is farcical and hypocritical at best.

Down right disingenuous and dishonest could be an alternative view.

Zak reveals, “It is the teams who applied the pressure to avoid finishing races under a Safety Car at all costs.”


Which is something the fans generally hate.

Whether the new protocol used by Race Director in the season finale is the way to go in the future, is still up for debate. However, the ridiculous nonsense blaming Masi for fixing the result or applying an ‘illegal’ decision in light of Browns revelations is clearly now put to bed.

As TJ13 has asserted throughout the winter, it is most likely Masi will be there again in his current role for the 2022 season. The caveat to this would be unless he has had enough of the “pantomime” acting from certain team principals.

The McLaren supremo is scathing in his conclusion. “It is the teams who voted for many of the regulations they have complained about. It is the teams who have been using the broadcasting of radio messages to the race director to try to influence penalties and race outcomes.”

He singles out the relative new kid on the F1 block – Toto Wolff – for particular attention next. In a clear reference to the radio broadcasts made at the conclusion of the Abu Dhabi GP Brown describes the Mercedes boss as “an over-excited team principal plays to the gallery and pressurises race officials. This has not been edifying for F1. At times it’s felt like a pantomime audition rather than the pinnacle of a global sport.”


It is time the teams and their senior management stopped playing games with our sport and accept that the referees decision is final – whether it be technical or sporting – and do so without whining, casting aspersions on the officials integrity and spinning their hard luck stories to the gullible F1 circus media.

And it’s time the F1 media stopped treating these actors as though they were royalty and behaving in an unedifying obsequious manner, fawning over their every word, just so they are not spurned from a post raced interview by the likes of Toto Wolff and Mattia Binotto who have previous form in this kind of petulant behaviour.

Finally, kudos to Zak Brown, who has not been universally liked by McLaren fans, for speaking out, setting the record straight and calling for a better future for F1.



58 responses to “Masi exonerated as “teams applied the pressure to avoid finishing under Safety Car at all costs”

  1. Thank god for ZAK Brown – he has hit the nail on the head. Well done. Has nobody shown Sir Loo the words from the Ultimate Mercedes CEO, which are “Masi’s Safety Car Call was “ingenious and brilliant”” – I rest my case – we do not need Toto or Sir Loo. QED

        • And I suppose its also the team bosses that influenced Masi to allow ONLY 5 cars to unlap themselves leaving no gap between Lewis and Max.
          Wow. You guys would grab at any straw to justify that Max deserves the championship.
          I wonder if you would be doing this if Lewis were white. Just saying.

          • Well it was the only way not to finish under the safety car – as the teams wanted. Letting all the other cars through would have seen the SC do the final lap. So YES the teams DID create this very situation

      • The uninformed make childish comments not worthy of a true unbiased F1 Fan. Check your facts before commenting. My first F1 race was the Aintree 200 in April 1963. I have attended or watched on media every F1 race since. 58 years an unbiased fan. I have seen drivers killed. I have watched the FIA develop and we all should be thankful for what they have achieved. The sport is great, it is still dangerous – Jules Bianchi, RIP – Roman Grosjean, miraculous escape!! The FIA are the best. It will continue to develop and give us the best regulated sport for us to enjoy. Please get behind the FIA and stop this continuing denigration in public.

        • He may well have done….. but he wouldn’t have bettered Wolff in the “Pantomime auction” stakes…..

    • I tweeted at 0:35 pm on Mon, Sep 06, 2021:
      @fia Mr President. I seemed to have missed the appointment of “Bernie Woolf” as dictat supremo of Formula One. Interference on driver placing, engine placing and rule book changes, are a few of his duties. However it is not good for Formula One, if you allow this to continue.

    • I totally agree and hope sir loo leaves f1 permanently better off with him we don’t need his negative vibes thank you masi was right great for the sport and I will continue watching because of it

    • Well said Zak Brown has hit it on the head . Teams & Driver’s are there to race within the rules.

    • Do you watch f1 or do you just piggy back of comments look at the facts and his name is Lewis not loo yes he was denied his title people like you want to shut the f up and get a job oh you do yapping away on keyboard

    • I absolutely agree – Zak Brown’s comments are such a REFRESHING read. The most sense I’ve read since the season ended. Let’s have more of it please!

  2. “Wolff a new f1 kid on the block”??? What on earth?? Do you seriously have any clue what your on about?

      • Been following f1 since the 80s not that I think that’s relevant to pointing out your biased nonsense again. My point is your hailing Zak browns views who’s been in f1 less time than wolff and dismissing Wolff as a f1 new kid on the block?? Your articles reek of complete bias.

  3. I generally have little use for Brown, though in this instance I think he is being truthful but avoiding where a lot of the problems emanate from, and that’s Liberty Media. I would bet Liberty Media never wanted Abu Dhabi to finish under a safety car and made that point clear prior to the race. The same holds for Spa where Liberty Media wanted a “race” finish so they and their promoter wouldn’t be liable to refund ticket prices to those who attended.

    But back to Brown. He was brought into McLaren 10 years ago with the sole purpose of getting a title sponsor – which they still don’t have. He bet on Alonso and lost. He lost Honda. All of McLaren’s property assets were sold. Any other team principal with that record would have been fired. But he tells the Bahraini owners what they want to hear.

    • Cav, you have been with us for years and I heartily agree with most of what you say. I’ve had little time for Zak Brown, though it appears he has somehow developed a team capable of being better than utter shit – which is where McLaren have been some years.
      I genuinely think the safety car decisions in AD were spur of the moment rather than pre-planned. Such was the chaotic nature of the instructions from the stewards, originally not for the back markers to overtake.
      I genuinely believe after all the hassle Masi had from the teams over the year – and particularly that THEY told him they didn’t want races finishing under the SC, he decided that it was time to “go racing”. As per his message to Toto.
      And lets not forget, had Lewis pitted for new tyres, from the lead, it is highly likely RB would have stayed out for track position and it would’ve been Lewis hunting down Max rather than vice versa.

    • I wonder if anyone can see a problem with not including full laps completed under safety cars in the race distance with less then 5 laps to go. I realise fuel could become an issue. This way there would be little advantage to any team trying to take any action to reduce the race distance. Therefore the race must finsh with at least the last 5 laps under race conditions.

  4. Why is this garbage being suggested through Google? This child can’t even spell Masi correctly let alone pull together a coherent article. You need to take a class or something fr

      • There was another ingredient you forgot to mention. Horner and RB whinging constantly and asking for Mercedes to be investigated even before the first race of last season and continued non stop throughout. Most of Wolfe”s comments were in retaliation and of course RB’s contact with Masi in Abu Dhabi

        • This article and site are a specious joke. No erm, judgement on its author. I also wonder how this garbage is showing up in my Google feed. Seems it didn’t take much.

          • Horner repeatedly submitted himself to Sky TV interviews on the pit wall during practice, qualifying and the races. Wolff appears too scared.

  5. Stop the whining, let the stewards do their job without interference from the team directors.
    With so much technology they can do their job.

  6. Why has nothing been said about Horner’s phone call to Masi? Everything changed after that pleading call. I personally believe the race was not fair and it ruined it for me.
    I like a good battle to first place but, it was unfair for Verstappen to be allowed to pass the other drivers whilst the safety car was still on the track, it wasn’t fair to all the drivers and in my opinion unfairly won the race, if that’s the only way Verstappen can win then obviously we will be seeing more of this behaviour……
    Whatever happens in the future we all know Hamilton was robbed……

    • Unfortunately Hamilton’s fans will always be unable to accept what happened. It is an international sport, not a British club event. We do really need to move on.

  7. People have been arguing back and forth about whether Masi’s decision making in Abu Dhabi was ‘legal,’ but nobody seems to be questioning the decision in terms of fair and equal competition.

    Ignoring whether or not Masi had ‘the power’ to do what he did, it is blatantly obvious that the decision made provided a massive, unearned sporting advantage to one specific driver. In terms of Masi’s role to ensure fair and equal competition, this is an enormous problem.

    If the point was to ensure the race finished under green flags, then he had a number of options. A red flag and standing restart, or a SC restart where all lapped cars were released beforehand. Or even no lapped cars released.

    Masi’s decision didn’t ensure a green flag finish. That could have been done fairly by other means. Masi’s decision deliberately benefitted one title rival over another, affording Max a far better chance at attacking Lewis over one lap than the driver himself had earned.

  8. Sadly, without a doubt, this will be flooded again by the LH fan crowd claiming the unsportive decision bla bla bla bla bla. Masi destroyed the sport bla bla bla bla unfair bla bla. Always the same song, not even reading the article. Can’t we send them to some island and burn their boats?

        • I agree it’s a first for Hamilton to keep his mouth shut for several weeks. Maybe he’s shagging Greta???

        • Being dignified? Sign of a true champ? He’s trying to get Masi fired and refusing to play with the other kids until he is.

          That is not dignified. Dignified would have been to say..he doesn’t agree with the decision..congratulations to max..and he’s gonna efighting as hard as he can next year..

          This is the exact opposite of dignified.

          • Agreed,
            this behaviour is so far removed from dignified it can only ever be described as sulking. Another embarrassing performance from a child. Anthony must now step up and do what he should have done many years ago and put the little boy over his knee and teach him a lesson. If he doesn’t want to do it, shift yerself and make room for me.
            It would be a wise decision for Lewis if he could take a real good look at the behaviour of a true gentleman and reacquaint himself with Felipe Massa’s reaction to loosing a title.
            I’m afraid I’ve had zero respect but much disdain for this entitled clown ever since he made his “at least I’m not with the monkeys at the back” comment during his debut F1 season.

          • Sir Loo needs his knighthood cancelling. Despicable behaviour from a knight of the realm. Also not so long ago he upset Stevenage residents by saying he was glad to get away from the slum of Stevenage as he moved to the tax haven of Monaco.

    • Yes we should move on and not spoil fresh start 2022. Nobody has confirmed that Sir Loo has been informed of Mercedes HO CEO concurring with Michael Masi’s end of race brilliance. He pays Sir Loo’s wages, so Sir Loo should shut up.

      • Whenever I hear someone saying we must move on it conjures up images of a trapped politician knowing he’s in the wrong.

    • Justice must be served or at least seems to be served. Without those there’s no point of making rules which in the end will only create dissatisfaction and distrust. Period

  9. I always laugh when I hear the sir Loo fb’s whine. If the stewards had applied the rules correctly (you remember the accident dat put MV in the hospital), the championship would have been over several races before the last race.. But let’s look at the seasons stats, and see who is the real champion if we leave the last race out..

    MV: 9 wins, 9 poles, 17 podiums, 18 top 10

    LH: 8 wins, 5 poles, 16 podiums, 20 top 10

    So looking at all stats MV clearly the better driver.

  10. Wow!!!! thejudge13 I can’t believe this landed on my feed some how, so good on you for making that happen. As for what Masi did using the Safety Car…. He could have easily just restarted the race without allowing unlap cars to unlap themselves and that would have been perfectly legal and expedient. No one could question those actions, since “everyone wanted races to end under green”. Instead of this Masi made a series of directions, that contravenes the rules and create an artificial situation that was beneficial to some and unfair to others. This action goes against the fundamental pillar of sport and is why there is so much outrage. The Race Directors role is not supposed to pick winners and losers and has no power to place cars…. Masi himself has stated this. He has even reiterated that the Safety Car procedures are rules that must be followed. In fact the Race Directors primary duty is to ensure the rules are upheld and races are conducted in a safe manner.

    Let’s be very clear, the outrage about what happened in Abu Dhabi is not limited to Hamilton/Mercedes fans. Many in Motorsports were outraged and voiced their outrage to the FIA. To think this inquiry is just a Mercedes thing, is ridiculous. Red Bull have voiced wanting Masi out themselves. Many of the teams including Mclaren has voiced concerns about his actions. Lando even questioned, what is and what isn’t allowed when it comes to overtaking.

    As for Zack Brown’s comments about the Top Teams having too much power, I remember when Mclaren was one of those teams. But if we take Brown’s comments at full value, he actually agrees with Mercedes, that the FIA and F1 needs to change, how it enforces the rules. If there is an open and consistent enforcement of the rules, the smaller teams will be the bigger winners.

    • I think his point was the FIA need to man up and tell Toto and all the rest of the team mangers trying to influence the race decisions – to Fuck Off

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