Michael Masi’s removal was unfair – Red Bull principal accuses Mercedes of “bullying”


Christian Horner has questioned FIA’s sacking of former F1 race director Michael Masi

The Verstappen-Hamilton-Masi controversy doesn’t seem to end. Just when we thought the episode was brought to an end by the removal of Michael Masi as race director, Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner has sparked a fresh debate. “Was it right to fire him based on the pressure that was placed on him from a rival team? That for me was wrong. That’s tantamount to bullying. It’s passively aggressive” said Horner with fingers pointing towards Red Bull rivals Mercedes.

Michael Masi
Image Credits: MARCA

In an exclusive interview to the BBC, Horner said, “Yes Michael did make mistakes and it was frustrating but you have to look at the role that he was in and the tools that he had at his disposal. You can’t just place the blame on Michael. It’s unfair to do that.” Horner further added, “The trolling, online abuse and death threats to him and his family are unforgivable. It’s just out and out bullying and has nothing to do with the sport. That’s why I spoke up for Michael because I felt that he did not have any support.”

What happened in the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix?

Hamilton went into the final race of last season at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix level on points with Max Verstappen. Hamilton and Verstappen were level on 369.5 points with the Red Bull driver ahead thanks to his nine 2021 GP wins compared to Hamilton’s eight. The Mercedes driver was 11 seconds ahead with six laps to go but then things changed drastically. A controversial decision by race director Michael Masi saw Max Verstappen make the most out of it, darting past Hamilton to win the championship.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstapppen
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton after the Grand Prix of Portugal at Autodromo Internacional do Algarve (Imago)

A certain section of F1 fans feel Hamilton was hard done by Masi last season and was robbed off his title. Hamilton though, has stated he doesn’t feel that way and made it a point that Verstappen deserves all the applause. However, we do sense a rivalry between the two top drivers and the 2022 season is either going to be Hamilton’s redemption or the season where Verstappen establishes himself as the best active driver in Formula One.

Lewis Hamilton will be going into the new season with the added motivation of putting the talks of his retirement to bed for once and for all. The 37-year old driver has shown no signs of age affecting his performance on the track. Mercedes were one of the best teams in the pre season test running at the Circuit de Catalunya with Hamilton clocking the fastest time on the final day. With the new W13 car at his disposal, Hamilton will definitely fancy his chances.


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