Christian Horner, team principal at Red Bull, has spoken out about the removal of Michael Masi from his role as race director after the controversial ending of the 2021 F1 season. He tells the press that it was a “harsh” reaction compared to the pressure he faced during the race.
The FIA confirmed that Masi would be moving to a new role after the ending to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix sparked huge amounts of complaints from fans as the title hanging in the balance between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. It was Masi who decided to remove the lapped cars from between the two contenders, and this decision saw uproar from fans.
It took many months for the FIA to come to reveal a decision about Masi after a full internal investigation, and now the role of race director has gone to two men, Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich, with Herbie Bash joining the two as a senior advisor.
You can read about who they are here:
Christian Horner’s Reaction
Horner has admitted that he’s happy to welcome the decision, but he believes it was a “harsh” move from F1.
“It’s a difficult one,” Horner said to talkSPORT Breakfast. “It’s the FIA’s business. I think it is harsh, I think he was in a very difficult position last year. We felt a lot of the decisions went against us last year.
“When you look at what he has at his disposal in terms of resource, compared to what the teams have, it’s such a massive difference. It’s good to hear they are bringing in things like the VAR equivalent and one of the most experienced guys in Herbie Blash.
“I just think there was so much pressure put on the removal of Michael and that’s not right. That’s my personal feeling.”
Horner also gave his view on what happened between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen at the end of the Abu Dhabi GP:
“It’s done. He didn’t actually do anything wrong in accordance with the rules,” Horner said. “It’s a bit of a smokescreen as when you look back at the race, Mercedes had two opportunities to pit.
“There was a Virtual Safety Car and then there was a Safety Car. The driver was asking to pit on both occasions and they left him out. That’s what exposed him at the end of the race. Tactically we got it right and it’s those small margins.”