Johnny Herbert says Michael Masi “has done too much damage to F1”

© Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG

Former F1 driver Johnny Herbert says he believes Michael Masi can’t remain F1 race director, because the trust in him “has completely and utterly evaporated”.

The FIA has started its investigation into the controversial situation that happened at the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The primary concern are the decision made by race director Michael Masi, who basically ignored Safety Car rules and protocols, which created a situation where Max Verstappen basically got handed the world title on a silver platter.

While discussing whether Michael Masi will be able to remain race director after FIA’s review is done, Johnny Herbert was very clear:

“In many respects, and in all respects, no,” he said.

“I think he has done too much damage to Formula 1. Because of the position he is in you’ve got to have trust, and I think that trust has completely and utterly evaporated.”

However, Herbert noted that it will be hard to find a replacement for the Australian.

“The problem is, who do you replace him with because obviously experience is going to be very, very important for the man who slots into that position?

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“Michael was very fortunate because he was underneath Charle Whiting when Charlie was head of it and he learned a lot of very good things from that point of view.

“Is there anybody that stands out for me at the moment to replace him? No. And that is the conundrum.”

Martin Brundle backed up Johnny’s thoughts.

“If the FIA and F1 want Michael Masi to stay, and if Michael Masi wants to stay, he’s clearly only got one life left hasn’t he, so I don’t know if that’s tenable all round,” Brundle said.

“As Johnny said, who would you replace him with? Be careful for what you wish for is what I would say on this.

“And what I absolutely know for sure, is that changing Michael Masi will not fix the problem. This is way too big a job for one person to handle this in a 23-race season that’s only going to grow.

“We’re all over the world…it’s just growing exponentially, so Masi, if he stays, needs a lot of support around him, and I suspect that’s what they’re looking at at the moment.

“And who would actually want to step into his shoes right now?” concluded Brundle.

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