F1 2022 | Red Bull boss Christian Horner called Michael Masi ‘tough’

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has denounced the FIA’s decision to sack Formula 1 race director Australian Michael Masi.

Masi was dropped last week, two months after the controversial 2021 world championship finish in Abu Dhabi, which saw Horner driver Max Verstappen claim the title from Lewis Hamilton with a final lap.

The Aussie had not followed normal safety car restart procedures, had he done so the Abu Dhabi race would have ended on bail and Hamilton would have been world champion.

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In what can only be taken as an admission that the role of race director had become an impossible task, Masi will be replaced by two men in 2022, who will share the job. A separate Virtual Race Control Center will also be created, to provide off-site support to the Race Director. Direct radio communications between the teams and the race director will also be removed.

Herbie Blash, involved in F1 since the 1960s, and who was assistant race director for more than 20 years, is also back after retiring in 2016. He will take up a position as senior adviser to the race director .

According to Horner, Masi was roughed up.

“I think it’s difficult, it’s the FIA’s business,” he told TalkSport. “I think it’s tough.

“He was in a very difficult position last year. You feel a lot of decisions went against us last year and I think when you look at what he has at his disposal in terms of resources compared to what that teams have, there’s such a huge, huge difference.

“Good to hear they’re bringing things like the VAR equivalent and bringing back one of the more experienced guys, Herbie Blash.

“I just think there was so much pressure on Michael’s withdrawal, it’s not fair. That was my personal feeling.”

Mercedes protested the results of the Abu Dhabi race, arguing that sporting regulations were breached during the deployment of the safety car.

But Horner says the fault lies with Mercedes for not calling Hamilton for tyres, not Masi.

“It’s a bit of a smokescreen because when you think back to that race, Mercedes had two chances to oppose each other,” he said.

“There was a virtual safety car and there was a safety car and the driver was asking to enter the pits both times and they let him out. And that’s what exposed him at the end of the race. Tactically we did it well on the day and it’s those small margins.

“When the accident happened five laps from the end with Nicholas Latifi, we reacted immediately. We brought Max in, pitted him for a new set of tyres. Mercedes left Lewis on what would become some 44 lap old tires at the end of their life And obviously Max had to make that pass on the last lap, which he did.

“I think there was a bit of hiding around some of the controversy because the main thing is that tactically we got it right. Max got it and became the world champion, so it was a phenomenal result.”

In a controversial season that will long be remembered, Horner pointed out that Red Bull felt aggrieved by decisions against them during the year, suggesting Mercedes should have suffered the Abu Dhabi result on the chin.

“You could say about 100 different decisions were made over the course of the year,” he said.

“Was the penalty at Silverstone big enough? Were the penalties we got in Jeddah fair? There are so many things. I think it’s time to move on, to move on. It There’s a new president at the FIA, he’s looking to put a new structure in place and embrace more technology to help support those officials.”

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