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Mercedes strongly deny FIA deal over Masi removal

Mercedes strongly deny FIA deal over Masi removal

Mercedes strongly deny FIA deal over Masi removal

Mercedes strongly deny FIA deal over Masi removal
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Toto Wolff has vehemently denied the rumour Mercedes only dropped its appeal following the controversial finish to last season's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on the basis Michael Masi would be removed as race director.

Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the year to clinch his first F1 title to scupper the Briton's attempts to win a record-breaking eighth championship.

Masi's decision-making during a late safety car at the Yas Marina Circuit was pivotal to the outcome of the race, with Mercedes making two protests in the immediate aftermath.

With both rejected, Mercedes declared its intent to appeal, only to withdraw hours ahead of the deadline, leading to a rumour the Silver Arrows had done so only after a deal was struck to remove Masi from his post.

With Masi ousted to an as-yet-undetermined role within the FIA, the suggestion Mercedes played a role in the move appeared to be underlined.

Wolff, though, is adamant no such agreement was made.

"Us dropping the appeal linked to anyone leaving the FIA is not true," insisted Wolff. "I don't know where that came from.

"The restructuring with how decisions are being made in Formula 1, sporting decisions and also technical decisions, was necessary.

"Last year was a great season but it created a lot of polarisation with decisions that were not easy to understand."

The FIA has appointed two new race directors in Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich, who will alternate between races, with the duo to be supported by a permanent advisor in Herbie Blash.

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