Michael Masi was removed from his position as race director after not applying at least two articles of the sporting regulations in the decisive Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last season 2021.
The result of that was a last-lap head-to-head duel in which Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton to snatch what would have been his eighth world championship from him, sparking controversy and several protests from Mercedes, all of which were withdrawn. shortly after.
The Australian left the FIA at the beginning of July to move to his native country, and has now given the first interview after what happened to News Corp , where he has revealed that he faced “dark days” due to abuse and criticism. that he received
“I felt like the most hated man in the world,” Masi said. “I received death threats, people who said they were going to come for me and my family. The messages were horrible, racist, abusive, vile, they called me everything.”
“And they kept coming, not only on my Facebook, but also on my LinkedIn, which is supposed to be a platform for professional business, it was the same kind of abuse,” he continued.
The international federation carried out a full investigation into the finish of the race in Abu Dhabi, and concluded that Masi had acted in “good faith”, explaining that the decisions made were the result of “human error”. .
Masi admitted in the interview that the outcome of the last Formula 1 course had a physical impact on him, but that it was “more mental” and left him “without the desire” to talk to his family or friends.
“I just wanted to be alone, which was very hard,” said the Australian, although he said the experience made him become a “much stronger” person.
In principle, the FIA had planned to offer Masi a new position within the organization, but the former race director of motorsport’s highest category made the decision to leave at the beginning of July.
The Australian was removed by a novel dual system of race directors, made up of Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, in addition to the introduction of a virtual race control room based in Switzerland. However, that has not prevented concerns and criticism from appearing about the decisions they have made since the beginning of the 2022 season, such as the issue of the wearing of jewelry by drivers while they compete, the track limits or the alleged inconsistency of the stewards. .
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