Why FIA Race Director Michael Masi didn’t raise red flags for GP Abu Dhabi after Latifi . crash

FIA race director was fired because his decision at GP Abu Dhabi affected title results

Masi revealed to Karun Chandok before the race that there would be no red flags for crashes on turn 14

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Masi revealed to Karun Chandok before the race that there would be no red flags for crashes on turn 14

One of the most controversial decisions that led to Max Verstappen being crowned world champion before Lewis Hamilton was race director Michael Masi’s decision to call a safety car when Nicholas Latifi crashed on turn 14. Leave it alone. The chaotic communication which first indicated that it was over that the cars would not be allowed to self-extract and then the second directive that allowed the cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to disengage themselves sparked a protest. Mercedes’ opponent asked to refuse the final lap of the race.

Now, the situation is quite simple for Masi – as discussed with the teams – he revealed that he has agreed to try to finish a race in racing conditions whenever possible and not behind a safety vehicle. With the title won until the last lap of the race, it would be a strange end to what has been one of the greatest F1 seasons of all time.


Both Hamilton and Verstappen put in the best performances of their careers this season to make for a spectacular finale

But Masi’s call to be admitted as allowed under FIA regulations has created an imbalance in the title battle. Lewis Hamilton didn’t compete and using hard tires was put on lap 14 of lap 58. Safety car debut Red Bull pitted Verstappen on new soft tyres. For Hamilton, pitting was never an option. Verstappen already has relatively new hard tires available so in the event he doesn’t enter the pit Hamilton will find himself behind the Dutchman. A collision with Verstappen will earn him the title as he has won more races throughout the season.

Another problem is that if Masi allowed the entire track to be open, it would most likely end the race behind the safety car and Hamilton would lose his place on the track. Even in this case, he will lose the world title. So there was confusion in the Mercedes garage and no matter what happened with the safety car situation, Hamilton would be at a disadvantage.

But Masi can do one thing to make sure we have a race at the end, a fight with a fair fight. After Latifi’s collision, he may have raised a red flag for the race, meaning all the drivers would be back in the pit, and they would be allowed to change their tyres. Then there will be a reboot stand. Hamilton won’t be a duck sitting on 44 lap old hard tyres compared to Red Bull which is essentially low on fuel and on soft tyres, its trim on Q3 laps and that too is in the hands of Max Verstappen .

But Masi told Karun Chandok before the Abu Dhabi GP that there would be no red flags at 14 for collisions. This is what Sky Sports commentator David Croft revealed. And according to the law, safety cars are usually issued when there is a collision, red flags are only raised when there is a serious problem. Many have asserted that a red flag was raised at Baku as Verstappen headed straight at more than 300 km/h as his tire blew up.

The same thing happened when he collided with Hamilton at Silverstone. The same thing happens in Jeddah when this track is also considered very dangerous by many, including former F1 world champion Nico Rosberg.

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In Masi’s view, a red flag doesn’t match the type of accident Latifi had. He struggled in that corner all weekend and essentially lost control of the car after a couple of crashes. It wasn’t a big accident, but the safety car had to come because there was a lot of debris and the police were busy clearing the mess and the car had to be pulled off the tracks.

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Sarah Ridley

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