Formula 1 news: Christian Horner has questioned the FIA’s decision to remove Michael Masi following the drama surrounding last year’s title finale. He asked if it was fair to fire him because he was under pressure from a rival team. And, in his opinion, it was “passively aggressive.”
Horner’s comments, spoken in an exclusive interview with BBC Sport, are a reference to Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who refused to commit to returning to Formula 1 this season until the results of the FIA’s investigation into the Abu Dhabi race were released. Mercedes has been silent about the matter.
Now, however, Masi has been offered a new position at the FIA, the Formula 1 governing body, and will be replaced as race director by two people who will alternate in the position, with a new support structure in place to ease the pressure on the official.
Formula 1 News: Christian Horner, the Red Bull team chief, has accused Mercedes of “bullying” behavior that led to the departure of race director Michael Masi
In an interview, Horner spoke on the matter. He said “Yes, Michael did make mistakes. And, it was frustrating,” But, one has to look at the role he was playing. The blame cannot be put on Michael for everything. It is “unjust” if it is done so.
Horner thinks Masi had been treated wrong, both by fans who threatened him on social media. And, by the FIA, which Horner believes did not provide enough support to its race director.
Horner added that Masi was in a high-pressure role. And, that too in a high-pressure sport.
And the trolling, online abuse, and death threats are “unforgivable.” And, that’s why he spoke for Michael.
The FIA has acknowledged that mistakes were made. But, Horner said he doesn’t believe the Formula 1 rules were violated. Rather, they were used differently.
Following Mercedes’ post-race appeal, he said if the stewards felt the rules were not enforced properly, they wouldn’t have declared the result.
Red Bull was criticized for putting pressure on Masi in Abu Dhabi. “You only need one racing lap,” Horner advised Masi as he pondered his options.
However, Horner believes Red Bull put less pressure on Masi throughout the race than Mercedes did.
He also claimed that Masi’s decision to let only a few lapped vehicles through had no impact on the outcome.
Formula 1 News: Max Verstappen is an “aggressive” driver but gives his 110℅, says Christian Horner
Horner is one of the numerous F1 figures to admit that Masi was following instructions to do everything he could to avoid races ending in a safety-car period.
This, combined with the success of the Netflix series Drive To Survive, has led to claims that the sport has prioritized entertainment over sporting integrity.
When questioned about the same, Horner responded “F1 is still a sport, but sport is an entertainment. “
Regarding Verstappen, Horner said that they talk about anything. But, it’ll stay between both of them only. He said Verstappen is a “forceful” and “aggressive” driver. He gives “110℅.” And, he “absolutely” wants him to drive the same way ahead.
Max Verstappen has extended his deal with Red Bull, committing to the team until 2028. And, as per Horner, the agreement shows serious intent from both sides.
And, it demonstrates Max’s trust in them.