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Brundle demands "things must change" for "bullied" Masi to continue with FIA

Brundle demands "things must change" for "bullied" Masi to continue with FIA

Brundle demands "things must change" for "bullied" Masi to continue with FIA

Brundle demands "things must change" for "bullied" Masi to continue with FIA
GPFans Staff

Martin Brundle has called for change over the winter if Michael Masi is to remain in his role as FIA race director.

The former F1 driver and Sky Sports F1 summariser believes Masi has been "bullied" on occasion by the teams this season and found himself caught "between a rock and a hard place" in the closing stages of Sunday's controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Following Nicholas Latifi's crash on lap 53 of the 58-lap race, Masi made two calls that ultimately allowed Red Bull's Max Verstappen to claim the victory and win his first title.

Masi's decisions sparked a protest from Mercedes which was dismissed by the stewards many hours after the race had concluded, but is currently being reviewed to determine whether there are grounds for a formal appeal.

Brundle, writing in his Sky Sports column, feels Masi has come under the kind of pressure this season he will not have experienced before, and that he now needs a 'wingman'.

"The final few laps in Abu Dhabi, when the world's eyes were on us in staggering numbers, were not our finest moment and some things have to change this winter," wrote Brundle. "We certainly confused our fans on Sunday.

"Michael Masi is the race director, taking over from our dear friend Charlie Whiting who sadly died in his Melbourne hotel room literally on the eve of the 2019 F1 season.

"Michael has strong history directing the Australian V8 series, not exactly a sleepy job I'd imagine but nothing like the spotlight and pressure of multi-billion-dollar global F1.

"Now if Michael wants to continue, and F1 and the governing body the FIA want to keep him, then things must change.

"The race director now needs a trusted and experienced wingman, especially in next year's 23-race marathon including a new venue in Miami.

"And teams should be very limited on the number of times they can challenge race control mid-race throughout a season so they are used more strategically when there's a fair and relevant point to be made.

"We simply can't have the referee bullied like that."

Wolff radio call "outrageous"

Brundle has become particularly disenchanted with some of the discussions played out between the teams and Masi.

"Until this year any correspondence from the pit wall to race control was not broadcast," added Brundle.

"It's totally unacceptable to hear team bosses and team managers even pre-empting situations and lobbying. They are only doing their jobs but in earlier days would have been given short shrift by Charlie.

"Toto Wolff's outrageous call to Masi to lobby for no safety car for Antonio Giovinazzi's stricken Alfa Romeo in Abu Dhabi, and Christian Horner telling the world seven days earlier how much F1 missed Charlie Whiting because the restart grid in Saudi Arabia felt like a 'Souk negotiation', which didn't age well for him, simply wouldn't have happened before.

"They are super competitive and under pressure people using all the tools available to them, and the power base and direction of communication has totally changed.

"Those tools need to be more regulated."

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