FIA’s Peter Bayer on how Michael Masi copes with public criticism

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

FIA’s head of F1 Peter Bayer says that, as race director, Michael Masi had to develop “a relatively thick skin”, but public attacks have “really hit him”.

The controversial ending of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which saw race director Michael Masi ignore the rules and protocols of the Safety Car, is still the biggest talking point in the Formula 1 media.

Masi has since faced criticism from a large number of F1 professionals, but also from certain representatives of the media and the fans.

Peter Bayer, the FIA’s head of F1 and the man tasked with investigating the situation, explains how Masi is coping with this.

“He has developed a relatively thick skin against the attacks of individual teams,” he told Austrian journalist Gerhard Kuntschick.

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“When you work at the FIA, you have to be aware that you are working for the sports police. The policeman rarely gets sympathy, as in daily life.

“What has become unbearable is reactions on social media, they will stop at nothing, as you saw with the death threats against Williams driver Latifi.

“Michael doesn’t have a social media account, but the hostility in other channels really hit him.

“I assured Michael of the federation’s backing in our discussions and let him know – ‘we want to continue working with you. But I also need your understanding that we have to deal with the issue’,” Bayer concluded.

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