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Mercedes and Red Bull criticised by FIA for "negative impact" radio messages on under-pressure Masi

Mercedes and Red Bull criticised by FIA for "negative impact" radio messages on under-pressure Masi

Mercedes and Red Bull criticised by FIA for "negative impact" radio messages on under-pressure Masi

Mercedes and Red Bull criticised by FIA for "negative impact" radio messages on under-pressure Masi

Mercedes and Red Bull have been criticised by the FIA in a report to the World Motor Sport Council for what it has claimed were "distracting" radio messages that added to the pressure on race director Michael Masi at the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

World motorsport's governing body has released its executive summary, the purpose of which has been designed "to draw any lessons" from what unfolded in last year's contentious season finale and to provide "clarity...to the participants, media, and fans about the current regulations to preserve the competitive nature of our sport while ensuring the safety of the drivers and officials".

Part of its findings has focused on the radio communications between the F1 teams and Masi as it was alleged undue influence was applied by Red Bull, in particular, while Toto Wolff also took to the system to voice his anger.

After detailing the radio exchanges between Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and team manager Jonathan Wheatley to Masi, and those from Wolff, the FIA has felt its now-former race director was unduly pressurised.

The report states that "much of the debate centred around the purpose and appropriateness of those communications and whether in‐race communications between the F1 teams and the race director should be broadcasted or even permitted at all.

"The consensus of those involved in the detailed analysis and clarification exercise was that the respective communications to the race director by the Red Bull Racing and Mercedes team principals during the final laps of the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP had a negative impact on the smooth running of the final laps because they were distracting when the race director needed to focus on making difficult and time‐pressured decisions."

Given Masi was trying to manage the situation on track following Nicholas Latifi's crash and the subsequent deployment of the safety car, the report found the communications "were neither necessary nor helpful to the smooth running of the race".

It added: "The consensus was that they add pressure to the race director at a critical time...and might seek to influence [whether directly or indirectly, or intentionally or unintentionally] the decisions made by the race director".

It concluded that "communications between [on one hand] F1 teams and [on the other hand] the race director during a race ought to be restricted so that the race director would be free to perform his/her crucial role without unnecessary disruption and distractions".

As part of the FIA's decisions, it has since ruled such communications are no longer permissible.

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