It’s been reported that upon hearing that ex-F1 race director Michael Masi could return to a new role within F1, Lewis Hamilton was “astonished” and quickly made a number of phone calls. This comes only a couple of weeks after F1 governing president Mohammed ben Sulayem revealed Masi could make a comeback.
An interview with ben Sulayem apparently pushed the 7-time world champion into making “urgent phone calls”, according to Express.co.uk, after Hamilton didn’t attempt to hide the fact he felt that the controversial ending of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year was wrong.
Following the 2021 result, in which Max Verstappen took home the championship for Red Bull, Masi was fired from his role as race director after he instructed lapped cars to remove themselves from between Hamilton and Verstappen during the safety car was on track. This decision allowed Verstappen to overtake Hamilton on older tyres when the racing resumed.
Mohammed ben Sulayem said the following to the Daily Mail:
“Michael is there and we might use him. We are open to everything.”
Also according to the Daily Mail, when the story broke, Hamilton started messaging contacts to discuss the implications of the news.
A statement from the president of the FIA:
“Michael Masi, who accomplished a very challenging job for three years as Formula 1 race director following Charlie Whiting, will be offered a new position within the FIA.”
Mecedes team principal also had plenty to say about the decision at the time:
“I had lunch with [Masi] on the Wednesday before the race. I said to him that, ‘I really want to tell you, without patronising you, that you need to take criticism on board and develop from there. Lewis does it every day, but you are guy who always seems to know better’.
“It wasn’t about influencing him. But really giving my honest feedback that he shouldn’t block outside opinion as simply being wrong.”