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Wolff doesn't forgive Masi for his mistake in '21: 'He's an idiot'

Wolff doesn't forgive Masi for his mistake in '21: 'He's an idiot'

05-12-2023 11:00

Ludo van Denderen

It has been over two years since Lewis Hamilton won his last Grand Prix in Jeddah. The Briton was on course to win the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix a week later until a mistake by race director Michael Masi allowed Max Verstappen to take the lead in the race as well as the world title. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff still hasn't forgiven Masi for that.

The final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has gone down in the books as one of the most controversial in Formula 1 history. In the closing stages of the race, the safety car entered the track due to a crash by Nicholas Latifi. After the debris from the Williams was cleared, the F1 cars that were on a lap were not given the chance to clear that lap but did allow Max Verstappen to pass them from Masi. This put the Dutchman directly behind Hamilton. On fresher tyres, the Briton was an easy prey for Verstappen during the final lap.

FIA admitted Masi's mistake

The FIA later admitted in a report that Masi had misapplied the rules. "The race director called the safety car back into the pit lane without it having completed an additional lap as required by the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations. The process of identifying lapped cars has up until now been a manual one and human error led to the fact that not all cars were allowed to unlap themselves," the FIA stated at the time. The error could not be reversed by the association.

Masi's decision helped prevent Hamilton from capturing an eighth world title, something Wolff still finds hard to stomach two years later. Speaking to the Brazilian version of Motorsport.com, the Austrian spoke of "huge scars": "But I don't want to waste a minute [thinking] about the reasons [why it happened], because that would give the man (Masi) too much credit. He is just an idiot who made the wrong decision," Wolff said.