To many Lewis Hamilton fans, Former FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi could be considered the British driver’s biggest enemy’, particularly those who are most fanatical in their devotion to the 7 time F1 champion. But Masi has recently revealed that he received death threats after the controversial 2021 Formula One World Championship final in Abu Dhabi last December.
Michael Masi oversaw the controversial 2021 Abu Dhabi Formula 1 race in which Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to win the world championship. After a lengthy investigation, the Australian was sacked in February 2022 and offered another position within the FIA, but he decided to leave the FIA for good a few weeks ago.
Speaking to News Corp, Michael Masi revealed that he had received numerous death threats after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, particularly on social networks:
“They [the messages on social networks] were shocking. Racist, abusive, vile, they called me every name under the sun,” Masi explained.
“They kept coming, not only on my Facebook, but also on my LinkedIn, which is supposed to be a professional platform for businesses. It was the same kind of abuse.”
Michael Masi – who returned to his family in Australia after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – explained that he wanted to stay in a “bubble” after the whole controversy and did not seek professional help: “I didn’t want to talk to anyone, not even family and friends.” said Masi.
“I only spoke to my close family, but only very briefly. It had a physical impact, but it was more mental. I just wanted to be in a bubble. I had no desire to talk to them, I just wanted to be alone, which was very difficult. The whole experience made me a stronger person,” he added.
After the difficulties encountered during the 2021 season, the FIA decided to implement a rotation system this year with Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas now sharing the role of race director. They also have the remote support of other FIA members during the races, including former F1 Deputy Race Director Herbie Blash.