Hamilton Verstappen clash: A director slams the door with FIA blessing

Former F1 race director Michael Masi was removed from his position following last season’s controversial Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He has now announced his decision to leave the FIA, slamming shut the door on his career; the Federation blessed his career with praise saying he conducted his duties “in a professional and dedicated manner”.

Masi, 44, was involved in the decision that resulted in Max Verstappen beating Lewis Hamilton to the world championship during the final race of last season. Max Verstappen was crowned world champion but it was a scene of a real controversy. Indeed, the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was strongly contested, particularly within the Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton camp. With the safety car deployed following Nicholas Latifi’s accident, the British driver was leading the race and on his way to an eighth title, which would have made him the only record holder to surpass Michael Schumacher.

But this was without counting on a controversial decision by the race directors including Masi, who opted to restart the race on the last lap as per the agreed preference from all team bosses, that is to always try and finish under green flag conditions. Max Verstappen changed tyres while the safety car was passing and naturally overtook Lewis Hamilton to win and be crowned world champion for the first time in his career.

This incident created a lot of headlines after the end of the season and Michael Masi, the race director, was regularly questioned. A few months later, the 44-year-old has now decided to leave the FIA.

The Federation itself announced the news in a statement on Tuesday saying:

“Michael Masi has decided to leave the FIA and move to Australia to be closer to his family and to take on new challenges,” the statement read. Michael Masi will no longer be working for the FIA in the future.

“Having taken over the role of Race Director following the death of Charlie Whiting in 2019, the Federation believes that the Australian has carried out his duties “in a professional and dedicated manner. The FIA thanks him for his commitment and wishes him the best for the future.”


The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix controversy had been particularly blamed on him. The FIA decided to investigate whether this was the right decision to make. After a detailed analysis, the FIA recognised that there had been human error and decided to remove Michael Masi from his position as race director in February. Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, who had been working in other championships, were appointed to replace him on a rotating basis.

Subsequently, the FIA announced the introduction of a virtual race control room, modelled on the VAR in football, to better determine the decisions to be taken, especially after such incidents. Finally, communications between race directors and team managers are now prohibited, in order to avoid any form of pressure or influence on the decisions to be taken. Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton welcomed these innovations before the start of the new season.




4 responses to “Hamilton Verstappen clash: A director slams the door with FIA blessing

  1. He conducted his duties in a professional way star the FIA. Come on who are they kidding? Max’s team even complained when he did not do his job properly last season, and mercedes had a right to complain after Abu Dhabi. Am sure he has left knowing he made the biggest mistake in his life. And no doubt with a lot of money from someone. Only a matter of years before this story and truths will come out. I would bet he took a backhander of millions in Abu Dhabi. And he has no need to worry about work at 44. In actual fact what job could he do that paid as much? And what employers would take him after last season? Don’t even think he would get a job with Uber eats. He would be messing that up constantly. And this season’s clowns in charge along with the FIA are no better. Can’t believe ven stipulate rules properly.

  2. Good riddance to rubbish, he should not be given any responsibility in the future especially in sport, he lacks basic ethics and integrity

  3. I’m sure all LH lovers are happy with this piece of news. I’m neither a fan of Shamelton or Worst-happen and from my viewpoint, Masi did a good job last year amidst the constant intervention from Hornier and would!
    Shamelton is no doubt a good driver, but has he won all 7 of his WDCs cleanly and fairly! If your answer is Yes, you need to see the various atrocities that denied Massa in 2008 and inability for any car on paddock to even be close to being competitive in 2014, 2015 and 2020.

  4. No need for Masi to work anymore
    Must have got a fat envelope from red bull and Mr horner

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.