TOTO WOLFF has called former race director Michael Masi “liable” for F1.
Masi controversially tampered with the safety car rules in Abu Dhabi in the final race of last season, resulting in Verstappen passing Lewis Hamilton on the final lap to win the title.
Hamilton and his Mercedes boss Wolff both avoided the FIA gala at the end of the campaign in protest after failing to overturn Masi’s swindle.
Masi has since been relieved of his role but was absent from the FIA’s report on his handling of this race at the Yas Marina.
And in an explosive interview, Wolff says he feels the Aussie is bad for the sport because of his attitude.
He said: “It’s quite interesting because I had lunch with him [Masi] on the Wednesday before the race.
“I said to him, ‘I really want to tell you, without being patronizing, that you need to take criticism and move on from there.
“Lewis does this every day, but you’re the guy who always seems to know better.
“It wasn’t about trying to influence him, it was really about giving my honest feedback that he shouldn’t just block outside opinion as wrong.”
Wolff added that after speaking to people outside his team, there were others in Formula 1 who shared the view that Masi was overshooting his mark.
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He added: “You hear from the drivers and how the drivers’ briefings have been conducted [by Masi] and some of the boys said it was almost disrespectful the way he treated some of them.
“There is a promoter of one of the races in the Middle East who said he was so relieved he left because he had given him so much insults.
“He was just immune to any feedback and hasn’t really reflected to this day that he did anything wrong.
“He was a liability to the sport because everyone kept talking about Abu Dhabi and the race director and the race director shouldn’t be someone that people talk about but someone who does his job and makes sure the race is run according to the regulations is carried out .”
Masi has since been replaced by new race director Niels Wittich, who is proving to be a stickler for the rules.
One such incident involves drivers wearing jewelry under their racing suits – much to Hamilton’s dismay.
But Wolff says while the sports association should be concerned with more important matters, he supports Wittich’s handling of races in general.
He said: “The way he ran the first couple of races was respectful, solid and he didn’t get a single foot wrong.
“But is it [jewellery ban] a fight he has to fight at this stage?
“However, if it turns out to be the biggest unfortunate misstep by a race director, I would take it a thousandfold.”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5099777/mercedes-wolff-michal-masi-abu-dhabi/ Mercedes boss Toto Wolff slams ex-F1 race director Michael Masi as ‘liable’ after last season’s chaos in Abu Dhabi