Sky analyst thinks Masi was over-worked: 'Mistakes were made'

27-01-2022 13:06 | Updated: 27-01-2022 22:19
by GPblog.com
F1 News
Sky analyst thinks Masi was over-worked: 'Mistakes were made'

Race director Michael Masi is under heavy fire following his performance in the final few laps of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Sky Sports Speculates about the continuation of the Australian's career. Does a possible resignation solve anything? And who can replace him?

Masi made questionable decision

Michael Masi was appointed as replacement race director just before the start of the 2019 F1 season following the sudden death of Charlie Whiting. The Australian fulfilled his role as expected and was allowed to stay on as official race director. Yet it quickly became apparent that his approach in Formula 1 was different from that of his predecessor. Whiting often took the same line and punished drivers harshly, Masi leaves more room for interpretation by the stewards in case of incidents on the track. With a view to freer racing, this is a good development. However, many fans and especially the drivers often do not know anymore what is allowed and what is not.

In Abu Dhabi, Masi made the choice to let some drivers overtake behind the safety car and not others. He then decided to resume the race on the last lap, allowing Max Verstappen to take victory and the title from Lewis Hamilton on fresher tires. Mercedes and Hamilton are still outraged by the decisions. The FIA has now launched an investigation, and at Sky Sports there is speculation about the outcome and the continuation of Masi's career.

Freitas or Nielsen as a replacement?

"Who would you have to replace him with?" wonders Martin Brundle. "What I know for sure is that replacing Masi will not solve the problem. Brundle points out that Masi's job is far too difficult and far too extensive for one person. It used to be "only" sixteen to eighteen races and Whiting had help from Herbie Blash, former deputy race director. "They had it under control, but not it's growing exponentially." Brundle sees the right solution in increasing the team around Masi.

David Croft adds to the argument, "Masi was over-worked and mistakes were made in the heat of the moment." It had been coming for a while, according to the Brit. Croft does know off the top of his head quickly to name some possible replacements for Masi. After all, you need an experienced rock within motorsport: "I've heard that Eduardo Freitas, the Le Mans race director for about twenty years, is being tipped as a replacement." Croft adds that Freitas would not want it. A second possibility would be Steve Nielsen, Liberty Media's sporting director. But Croft knows about him, too, that he's not up for the job.

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