F1 fans want Michael Masi sacked as Mercedes told they got Lewis Hamilton appeal wrong

Mercedes boss hopes ‘robbed’ Lewis Hamilton will continue racing

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Express Sport readers are calling for the FIA to sack Formula 1 Race Director Michael Masi. At the same time, the majority believe Mercedes were wrong to withdraw their appeal against Max Verstappen’s controversial world title win.

Masi’s late decision-making resulted in Verstappen overtaking Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, clinching his maiden Drivers’ Championship.

After Nicholas Lafiti’s crash in the closing laps, many expected a Safety Car to remain on the track to finish the race and help Hamilton seal victory.

However, Masi allowed the race to resume in the final lap, which Hamilton’s Red Bull rival took full advantage of on his fresh tyres.

Mercedes, particularly Team Principal Toto Wolff, were furious with Masi’s actions and argued that his selection of backmarkers who could un-lap themselves and the timing of the restart breached F1 regulations.

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Since the withdrawal, Wolff has ‘no interest’ in speaking with Masi, who he suggested ‘robbed’ Hamilton of a record-breaking eighth world title.

“I am not interested in having a conversation with Michael Masi,” Wolff explained.

“The decisions that have been taken in the last four minutes of this race have dropped Lewis Hamilton from a deserved world championship. His driving, particularly in the last four races, was faultless.

“He had a commanding lead on Sunday in Abu Dhabi from the get-go. He won the start, and he never gave the lead away again. Robbing him in the last lap of the race is unacceptable.

“That is why, from a personal standpoint, from a professional standpoint, I cannot… my values and my sense of integrity just isn’t compatible with the decisions that have been made on Sunday.


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“So it is up to the FIA to decide going forward how these decisions, how these situations, can be avoided.”

However, amid Wolff’s fury over the outcome, ex-vice president of Mercedes-Benz motorsport activity, Norbert Haug, has told the team to ‘shut up’ and accept defeat.

He told ServusTV: “You can only say s*** happens. I understand that sometimes you freak out. I don’t know what it would be like if it had gone the other way.

“A word on it afterwards, the motorsport fan doesn’t want to see that. It’s about having the size to shut up. It was not always easy for me either.”

But in the latest results of our poll, which is still open, Express Sport readers appear to agree with Wolff.

From over 9700 responses, 48 per cent believe Mercedes were wrong to withdraw their appeal against Verstappen’s world title win.

Meanwhile, 43 per cent think Wolff made the right call to accept defeat, and 10 per cent are unsure about the situation.

There is a much clearer consensus about whether Masi should remain the FIA’s Race Director next season, though, with a staggering 75 per cent of voters wanting the Australian to leave his role.

On the other hand, just 19 per cent want him to stay on, and six per cent are unsure.

Agree or disagree with the way the voting’s going? Our poll is still open, and you can cast your verdict below.

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