F1 fans have been reacting to the news that controversial former race director Michael Masi has officially left the sport’s governing body, the FIA, and returned to his native Australia.
Masi was sacked as Formula 1 race director in February following his mishandling of last season’s contentious season-decider in Abu Dhabi, which provided Max Verstappen with the chance to beat Lewis Hamilton in a final-lap shootout. In February, FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem said Masi had been offered a new role within the organisation. But his departure from the governing body – exactly seven months after the title decider which cost him his job – was announced today (Tuesday).
A statement read: “The FIA confirms that Michael Masi has decided to leave the FIA and relocate to Australia to be closer to his family and take on new challenges.
READ MORE: Bungling F1 race director Michael Masi who cost Lewis Hamilton title quits
“He oversaw a three-year period as FIA Formula One race director and safety delegate following the sudden passing of Charlie Whiting in 2019, carrying out the numerous functions he was tasked with in a professional and dedicated manner. The FIA thanks him for his commitment and wishes him the best for the future.”
Lewis Hamilton fans, convinced their man would be an eight-time world champion without Masi’s decisions, have welcomed the news.
“Now that he's left FIA, he can officially join Redbull Racing,” tweeted one fan while another added: “About damn time.” A third posted: “That's wonderful news, can he take the entire Red Bull team with him?”
Meanwhile, a Max Verstappen fan tweeted: “On behalf of The Kingdom of the Netherlands and Red Bull shareholders, thank you for your service, Michael.”
Was Michael Masi harshly treated following the Abu Dhadi controversy? Have your say in the comments section below.
Some fans have expressed sympathy for Masi following the intense criticism he has received since the Abu Dhabi controversy. Others have pointed out what a tough job he had had, given that his role has been taken over by two race directors who take it in turns to oversee grand prix. That in itself has led to controversy, with drivers complaining about a lack of consistency in decision-making.
“Very unfortunate. I think people are realising he was a good race director,” said one fan while another added: “Still better than the current race directors.”
One social media user commented: “I feel bad for him. No one deserves to get the amount of hate he did. It’s probably best he left and all the best to him and his family.”
Another tweeted: “Feel sorry for Masi, as a Hamilton supporter I was angry at the time but after the investigation, it's clear to see he was a scapegoat. FIA/F1 owners & Netflix made that call that night. He just took the blame. He was good at his job.”
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