BBC’s Andrew Benson: “The future of Michael Masi is in doubt”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

BBC’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson says “several senior figures have told BBC Sport that they do not see how Masi can retain his position as race director”.

BBC Sport’s Andrew Benson has provided an update on the FIA’s inquiry into the controversial ending of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and Lewis Hamilton’s status for 2022.

Benson confirms yesterday’s reports from Sky Sports’ Craig Slater and says “Lewis Hamilton will not decide whether to return to Formula 1 this season until he sees the results of an inquiry into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix”.

However, Benson also reports that “Mercedes declined to comment on the situation surrounding Hamilton’s future when approached by BBC Sport”.

He then proceeds to give an update on the FIA’s position a month after the controversy.

“The FIA has launched an inquiry into the events at Yas Marina and is aware both of Hamilton’s unhappiness and that it has a big task on its hands to win back the seven-time champion’s confidence,” writes Benson.

“Some senior F1 insiders are concerned that the governing body has not fully grasped the threat to its credibility created by the final race of the season.

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“It has been a month since the Abu Dhabi race. But when asked about the timing of the inquiry’s findings or what matters it will seek to address, the FIA said it was not yet ready to answer queries.”

It is understood that Mercedes decided to withdraw their appeal against the decisions made in Abu Dhabi “after receiving assurances only that the issue would be treated seriously and appropriate action would be taken by the FIA”.

Benson then explains the future of race director Michael Masi, the man who made the controversial Abu Dhabi decisions that basically gave Max Verstappen the world title on a silver platter, is in serious doubt.

“The future of Masi is in doubt as a result of his handling of the race, which came at the end of a season in which there were repeated concerns among teams and drivers over the consistency of application of the rules,” he wrote.

“Several senior figures have told BBC Sport that they do not see how Masi can retain his position as race director, but some have cautioned that the FIA is in a difficult position because there is no obvious replacement.”

Ultimately Benson says “the likeliest outcome is thought to be that the FIA will take significant action and that Hamilton will return in 2022”.

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