FIA told they ‘must’ admit to mistakes in Michael Masi warning ahead of crunch meeting

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Lewis Hamilton was denied a record eighth F1 championship last year following a controversial end to the season at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. F1 race director Michael Masi came under fire for his decisions during the desert decider – and the FIA have now been told they must admit to mistakes ahead of today’s crunch meeting of the F1 Commission.

Hamilton appeared to be cruising to title victory last term after building a substantial lead at the final race in Abu Dhabi.

But the Grand Prix took an unexpected turn late on after Williams driver Nicholas Latifi careered into a wall, which resulted in a safety car being deployed.

Hamilton stayed out during the pause to ensure he didn’t lose track position, while his title rival Max Verstappen pitted for fresh tyres.

Ahead of the restart, Masi allowed five cars which had come between the two protagonists to overtake and move out of the way, before giving Verstappen the go-ahead of pull level with Hamilton.

The duo ultimately went head-to-head in a one-lap shootout, with Verstappen making the most of his fresh rubber to storm to victory and title glory.

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Masi had already been slammed for his decisions at August’s Belgian Grand Prix, which had been marred by poor weather.

Masi allowed qualifying to go ahead, despite calls for a red flag, and Lando Norris went on to have a heavy shunt.

Sebastian Vettel was critical of the decision to run that session, before the controversy in Abu Dhabi once again shone the spotlight onto Masi months later.

The FIA agreed to launch an investigation in the aftermath of the season decider to get to the bottom of why Masi made the decisions he did in the desert.

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And now McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has told the FIA they must hold their hands up when it comes to mistakes.

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“It is clear that what happened in Abu Dhabi was very controversial and not good for the sport,” said Seidl.

“If you look at the entire season, a lot of controversial things happened that were overall not good for the sport.

“We need to invest time and energy to understand what happened in the season and see how we can help by making the regulations less complex [and] by giving more support to the race director and to the stewards to avoid the mistakes happening.

“It is still a human sport and that we shouldn’t forget. And we need to accept mistakes can happen on the team side and on the FIA side.

“And it’s important we create an environment where if mistakes happen, you raise your hand and admit them. That is as important as trying to avoid similar controversies in the first place.”

According to Planet F1, the findings of the Abu Dhabi investigation are set to be presented at today’s meeting. But the results may not be published until the eve of the start of the 2022 F1 season.

So the furore around the circumstances which led to Hamilton missing out on title victory could continue for some time.  

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