F1 drivers express sympathy for Masi
By Mat Coch
Thursday 3rd March, 2022 - 3:37pm
Former Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas has revealed he has sympathy for ex-Formula 1 race director Michael Masi.
The outcome of last year’s world championship remained a key talking point heading into the 2022 season.
Last month, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem announced a raft of changes to the way the F1 race director will be supported.
That included appointing the immensely experienced Herbie Blash to work as a permanent advisor to the race director and a virtual race control room, while the role itself would be shared by two people going forward.
While the changes have been met with almost universal approval, there are those who feel the Australian should have been afforded the opportunity to work under the revised structure.
To date, Masi has kept a low profile after he was moved aside as part of the changes.
“I have sympathy because it’s not an easy job to do,” Bottas admitted.
“We’re all humans and we make mistakes, and sometimes mistakes, they lead to different consequences.
“This one definitely did last year, but from my side it’s good to see he’s still going to be around.”
Predictably, Masi found support from Red Bull’s Christian Horner and Max Verstappen, but they are not alone.
“Abu Dhabi was not great, and I was also personally affected by it,” said Carlos Sainz.
“I was quote vocal as saying that one cannot do that same mistake again.
“I think Michael has done an outstanding job in Formula 1, and I personally feel like it’s been a pleasure to work with him.
“The FIA has decided to take that route and that direction, we need to trust their process or their analysis to see if the sport is going to be ruled in a better way from now on.
“Personally, sad to see Michael go, because I think he was doing a good job despite obviously everything that happened.”
Alex Albon added: “I do sympathise with Michael, I feel like for Michael it’s a very trick job, especially the consequence of a championship deciding year, he was always going to be under the spotlight.
“But I think the FIA, they know what they’re doing. I think the restructure is going to help.”
“I think he always tried his best,” said Mick Schumacher.
“There’s only so much a single person can do, and I think he did his best on that side.
“But obviously I think we should all trust into the FIA and what route they’re choosing to go.”
Aston Martin’s Vettel, while noting the effort put in by Masi during his tenure, preferred to look forward.
“Michael was working really hard and always had an open ear to us,” the four-time world champion said.
“So, obviously, the decision is taken that he’s not going to be in that role anymore.
“I hope whoever is coming, will be working as hard and as committed as Michael was.”
Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas have taken over the role previously filled by Masi and were at the helm during pre-season testing in Spain last month.
Testing continues next week with three-day in Bahrain commencing on March 10.