Radio communication with Mercedes and Red Bull puts Masi in distress

Amid the FIA ​​investigation into the controversial events at the 2021 Formula 1 season finale in Abu Dhabi, radio communications between race director Michael Masi and rival teams Mercedes and Red Bull are on the agenda. The footage doesn’t put the pressured Masi in a good light – and the FIA ​​is “aware” of that.

The world association FIA has been investigating what happened in the final phase of the Abu Dhabi GP for weeks. Masi is the focus. He had allowed some drivers to overtake the safety car and de-lap just before the end of the race, but not others.

The decision ultimately cost Lewis Hamilton victory and the world championship crown, because without it, Max Verstappen would never have been in a position to overtake. The anger in the Silver Arrow camp was correspondingly great. This anger was and is also fueled by radio messages from Masi, in which the race director uses the words of Red Bull sports director Jonathan Wheatley to scold Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.

Dramatic season finale in Abu Dhabi

Review, Abu Dhabi, December 12, 2021: The last laps of the finale are splashing away, Hamilton is in the lead, driving towards record title number 8. But then Williams driver Nicholas Latifi slams into the gang, making the race exciting again.

The safety car comes out while Williams is rescued, the field moves closer together. Between the leader Hamilton and his pursuer Verstappen there are a few laps. A nice buffer for the Brit – and a nuisance for Red Bull. Because there are only a few laps left. Unlike Hamilton, however, Verstappen used the safety car phase to put on fresh tires. So the Dutchman would be able to launch one last attack.

This is how the radio communication between Masi and the teams went

So Wheatley hits the button that puts him through to Race Director Masi. “You don’t have to let these lapped cars pass, they need the whole lap to rejoin the field. You just have to let them drive and then we have a motor race ahead of us ‘ he demands.

Masi replies, “Understood. Give us a second.”

In fact, a little later the race control waves the lapped drivers who are between Hamilton and Verstappen (but not the other lapped ones!) past the safety car. This one comes back in one lap before the end. Verstappen uses this one lap for the decisive stitch, passes Hamilton and is crowned world champion.

Mercedes boss Wolff rages. “No, no, Michael! That’s not right!” the Austrian yells desperately. Then, a little calmer: “You have to reinstate the result of the previous round.”

Masi counters ice cold. “Toto, it’s a motor race (red.).” When Wolff amazes, “Excuse me?” escapes, repeats the race director. “We went to car racing (ed. Red.).”

File Abu Dhabi remains exciting

It is precisely these radio messages that are now (especially in England) causing a stir again. In the end, Masi chose exactly those words to iron off Wolff, with which Red Bull had demanded that the lapped be waved through. A taste? In any case, the hashtag #F1xed trended on Twitter on Wednesday.

The whole thing happens a few days before the FIA ​​wants to present the results of its Abu Dhabi investigation to the F1 Commission, and thus also to the ten teams, next Monday.

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton are said to insist on replacing Masi. In the past few weeks, rumors have even been circulating that Hamilton’s future depends on the race director’s personnel. It also leaked out from FIA circles that Masi was actually on the brink of extinction, which the world association denied a little later.

It is clear that the FIA ​​has the radio traffic between Masis and the World Cup rivals on the radar. “We are aware of this and it is part of the investigation,” the BBC quoted a spokesman for the association as saying.

The Abu Dhabi file – it remains exciting. Incidentally, the FIA ​​only wants to make its results and conclusions official shortly before the start of the new season. On March 18 in Bahrain.


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