With the FIA’s inquiry into the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix intensifying, Formula 1 race director Michael Masi’s continues to be investigated for his role in the dramatic season finale.
Ahead of the 2022 F1 season, the Australian’s future as race director remains in limbo after copping heavy criticism for his handling of safety car procedures during the championship decider, which gave Max Verstappen an advantage over Lewis Hamilton in the final moments.
Mercedes initially appealed against the race result, but later withdrew their case satisfied that the FIA would launch an inquiry and make changes.
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A source told BBC Sport that their appeal was only dropped after reaching a deal that would see Masi sacked.
The report however added that Mercedes denied the existence of any such deal.
As debate rages around whether Masi should be disciplined, F1 icon Martin Brundle shared a more empathetic view.
“If the FIA and F1 want Michael Masi to stay, and if Michael Masi wants to stay, he’s clearly only got one life left. So I don’t know if that’s tenable all around,” he told Sky Sports F1.
“Who would you replace him with? Be careful what you wish for, I would say in this.
“What I absolutely know for sure is that changing Michael Masi will not fix the problem.
“This is way too big a job for one person to handle, in a 23-race season that’s only going to grow.
“So Masi, if he stays, needs a lot of support around him, and I suspect that’s what they’re looking at, at the moment.”
The FIA shared an update on their internal inquiry yesterday, including a timeframe for its release.
Their findings will be revealed on March 18, just two days before the 2022 season starts.
It is understood that a decision surrounding Lewis Hamilton’s continuation in the sport will not be made until the outcome of the investigation is disclosed.
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