Mercedes chief Toto Wolff says Michael Massi was the ‘responsibility’ of Formula One who disrespected the drivers

“He was immune to any reactions and even today he hasn’t properly thought that he did something wrong,” says Toto Wolff, criticizing former Formula One racing director Michael Massi. Tuesday marks four months since Max Verstappen’s victory over Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi

Last update: 11/22/11 at 10:47 am


Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Michael Massi has disrespected F1 drivers

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has accused former Formula One racing director Michael Masi of “disrespecting” drivers by behaving as if he always knew better.

On Tuesday, it will be four months since Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to take the title in last season’s controversial World Championships in Abu Dhabi. But Massey’s handling of the case remains a sore subject for Wolf.

Massey has been replaced by the FIA ​​for his role in the 2021 final, with new race directors Nils Wittich and Eduardo Freitas replacing the Australian on a joint basis and already sealing their authority at the grid with a series of regulatory crackdowns.

A review of the final stages of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was crucial to how Massey handled the process of allowing just five cars – drivers between Hamilton and Verstappen – to overtake before bringing in the safety car on the last lap, allowing the Red Bull driver to pass the lead and claim his first world championship.

Experience the stunning finale of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from the cars of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton and hear the team radios, including Hamilton say the race is done

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Experience the stunning finale of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from the cars of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton and hear the team’s radios, including Hamilton saying the race has been ‘rigged’.

Experience the stunning finale of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from the cars of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton and hear the team’s radios, including Hamilton saying the race has been ‘rigged’.

Wolff’s mind turns to the days leading up to the most controversial finale in Formula One history.

“It’s so much fun because I had lunch with him [Masi] On the Wednesday before the race, and I told him I really wanted to tell you, without dealing with him, that you need to take the criticism and develop from there. Luis does it every day, but you’re a guy who always seems to know better. “

“It wasn’t about influencing him but in fact giving my honest observation that he shouldn’t mask outside opinion as mere mistake.

“You hear from the drivers and how the drivers have been given directions [by Masi] Some of the men said that the way he treated some of them was almost disrespectful.

Max Verstappen does not believe Michael Massey should have been sacked as race director after his controversial handling of last season's title winner in Abu Dhabi.

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Max Verstappen does not believe Michael Massey should have been sacked as race director after his controversial handling of last season’s title winner in Abu Dhabi.

Max Verstappen does not believe Michael Massey should have been sacked as race director after his controversial handling of last season’s title winner in Abu Dhabi.

“He was immune to any reactions and even today he hasn’t properly thought he made a mistake.

“It was the responsibility of the sport because everyone kept talking about Abu Dhabi and the race director, and the race director should not be someone people talk about, but someone who does the job and makes sure the race goes according to the regulations.”

Hamilton is expected to be at Mercedes’ factory Brackley between now and the next race at Imola on April 24, where he will play the Silver Arrows with rivals Ferrari and Red Bull.

Hamilton is fifth in the standings, 43 points behind overall leader Charles Leclerc and nine points behind his new teammate George Russell.

The 24-year-old has finished well ahead of Hamilton in two of the opening three races and is second in the standings.

George Russell's reaction to his first Mercedes podium.

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George Russell’s reaction to his first Mercedes podium.

George Russell’s reaction to his first Mercedes podium.

Hamilton and Russell seem to bond and go surfing together ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

Asked if he was surprised by how successful the Britons were, Wolff replied: “Yes because they are very competitive while still being able to work together.

“The effort they put in to show respect – from the youngest child to the absolute best and from Lewis in appreciating the future talent that exists in George – is impressive.”

FIA admits human error in Hamilton-Verstappen title controversy

Last month, the FIA ​​released its full report on the Abu Dhabi World Grand Prix and confirmed that “human error” was a factor in the controversy over the 2021 title, but said Massey acted “in good faith” and that the race and championship results were “correct”.

In the report, the FIA ​​acknowledged that Massey had broken F1 regulations with his handling of the delayed safety car and allowing him to conduct a final race lap between Verstappen and Hamilton.

The FIA ​​says the race director “has called the safety car back to the pit lane without completing an extra lap as required by the Formula 1 Sports Regulations (Article 48.12)”.

The report also mentions the fact that only five cars were able to open themselves under the safety car, and not all of the cars that are not covered according to the regulations.

“The identification process for rolled cars has hitherto been a manual process and human error has led to the fact that not all cars have been allowed to disassemble themselves.”

They say they have developed response software that will “automate calling a list of cars that should launch themselves”.

But they also defended Massey, saying: “The report concluded that the race director was acting in good faith and in accordance with his knowledge under the difficult circumstances, in particular acknowledging the significant time constraints for decision-making and the enormous pressure exerted by the teams.

“The results of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the FIA ​​Formula 1 World Championship are valid and final and cannot be changed now.”

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