Horner reveals he contacted Michael Masi “on a couple of occasions”

© Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner explains why he kept in touch with former race director Michael Masi following the controversial 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The finish of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix saw race director (at the time) Michael Masi break the rules which govern the use of the Safety Car, and basically gift Max Verstappen the world title.

The FIA subsequently removed him from the position of race director, and Masi himself later said he was subjected to social media abuse, even death threats.

During his appearance on F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was asked if he had contacted Masi, after the controversial race.

“Yes, on a couple of occasions,” the Briton said.

“I felt that it wasn’t fair, the way he had been treated, because I think that he’d done the best that he could, following the principles [of finishing under green flag conditions].

“The only thing he screwed up on was not allowing the final two cars at the back of the field to unlap themselves.

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“As we saw recently in Monza, nobody wants to see a race diluted and finished under a Safety Car.

“So he did everything to get that race going again, which would have been a horrendous finish to the season, to see it just diluted and peter out under a Safety Car.

“I think the reaction after the race, there was a huge amount of abuse, sent to him, there was death threats to his family. No individual deserves to go through that.”

Of course, Horner’s claim that Masi only made one wrong decision is completely false, in reality two rules were broken.

First he did not allow all the cars to unlap themselves, and then he did not allow for one extra lap under the Safety Car, so that these cars could catch up to the pack.

Had he followed the rules, and done both of these things, the race would have ended under the Safety Car, and Lewis Hamilton would have been crowned the world champion.

Horner then proceeded to again defend Masi by claiming he did not have enough support during the races.

“I think that Michael, in difficult circumstances, did the very best he could throughout the year.

“We have to remember he had very little support in that race control tower and was left very much on his own up there.

“When you follow the process of how they’re looking at how cars run, it’s back to pens and pieces of paper.

“He didn’t have all the backup [systems] that the teams have, for example, with our operations rooms, and the software.

“It was still a very rudimentary process,” Horner concluded.

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