the champion of the Formula One Max Verstappen defended on Thursday the management of Michael Massi and stated that the criticized former race director was unfairly fired after the controversial end of last season.
“They really threw him under the bus,” he said. Verstappen.
Last week, the FIA dismissed Masi after what happened in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prixwhich decided the title in December.
Verstappen conquered his first world title after beating the defending champion Lewis Hamilton on the last lap after Massi ordered the race to restart.
“I found it unacceptable that he was fired in this way,” Verstappen said during pre-season testing at Barcelona.
“I also sent him a message. Firing him immediately was not the right decision. I wish him the best in whatever comes next and I hope it is better than being race director of the F1”he added.
Masi’s decision turned the race for the title of the F1, just when hamilton he was close to his eighth world title and to set a new record. What followed generated confusion and anger on several fronts.
Hamilton was leading comfortably until Nicholas Latifi’s crash brought in the safety car with five laps to go. With the yellow flag, Verstappen took the opportunity to change his tires. Masi intervened by authorizing Verstappen to overtake cars lagging behind Hamilton. It was thus that the Dutchman fell behind and, with his new soft tires, overtook the Briton on the last lap.
“That the people who fired him allowed (the rule) in the first instance is unacceptable,” Verstappen said. “I thought it was unbelievable, so I feel bad for Michael. That he got fired is really unbelievable.”
Verstappen believes that Masi was in a difficult position, with the main director of the Hamilton MercedesToto Wolff, and Red Bull, Christian Hornerarguing heatedly in an atmosphere of enormous pressure.
“Could you imagine a referee in any sport who has the coach yelling in his ear all the time? It’s a yellow card, a red card, no decision, it wasn’t a foul,” he said. Verstappen comparing the situation with a football referee.
The organism sport director motor set up a new structure for race day, including a virtual race control room.
“What we talked about last year was the issue of inconsistencies,” Wolff recalled Wednesday. “You don’t have to have a room to interpret the regulations.”
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