Lewis Hamilton has still not healed from the disappointment he had faced during the final race of the 2021 season in Abu Dhabi. Max Verstappen and Hamilton came to Abu Dhabi with 369.5 points each in the drivers\’ standings. Hamilton was on his way to winning the championship for the eighth time when a safety car procedure allowed Verstappen to get ahead of the Briton during the final lap of the race. The final stages of the race, when the race director Michael Masi made some controversial decisions, led to widespread hate among the Hamilton fans. They wanted to witness Lewis win his record eighth championship in Formula One.
Mercedes openly criticized Masi\’s decision-making, leading to the Australian race director getting sacked from his position in February 2022. Meanwhile, Red Bull and Christian Horner advocated that Verstappen won fair and square. They believed the decision made by Masi gave the Dutchman no undue advantage. However, the Red Bull team principal has finally admitted that Michael made a mistake that may have cost him his position. Horner claimed the only mistake Masi made was not allowing all lapped cars to un-lap themselves. Christian pointed out that three cars were stuck at the back of the field. And they could not un-lap themselves. He added, \”That was the only mistake that he made.\”
Meanwhile, Mercedes were critical about the issue that the safety car should not have been pulled back during that particular lap. As per the rules, the safety car driver, Bernd Maylander, should have continued on for another lap. However, Masi decided to go against the rules, resulting in a major controversy that cost him his job.
Horner Feels Masi Did Not Get Enough Support from The FIA:
The FIA took two months to decide the 2021 championship winner. Meanwhile, Masi faced a lot of hatred and criticism from the fans on social media. Horner felt that it was quite rough on Masi to be hung out dry, especially in public. Christian said Michael was trolled and abused online without any kind of support from FIA behind him. Eventually, the FIA sacked Masi in February when the new regulations were introduced for the 2022 season.
Christian further revealed that he was quite disappointed by the way the FIA dealt with Masi. The Red Bull team principal believes that Michael did the best job he could under immense pressure in race control. He claimed that nobody wanted to see a world championship being won under a Safety Car period. But Masi was accused of being biased. He was openly criticized by the media and fans alike. It was believed that the FIA gifted the championship title to Verstappen.
However, Horner claimed that Masi was not biased. There were a lot of decisions that went against Red Bull in 2021. The 48-year-old mentioned several instances, including the yellow flags during qualifying in Qatar or Verstappen-Hamilton contact during the opening lap in Silverstone. Christian felt sorry for Masi as he did not receive enough support after the championship. Because he was in an \”incredibly difficult position.\”