John Watson thinks Michael Masi’s position is too compromised

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Former F1 driver John Watson thinks Michael Masi’s position as race director has been too compromised and questions if the teams are able to rely on his judgment anymore.

FIA race director Michael Masi is at the center of the controversy stemming from his decisions at the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which basically handed the 2021 title to Max Verstappen.

Former F1 driver John Watson was asked whether he thinks Masi can keep his position as race director.

“Personally, I would say it’s difficult,” the Briton told

“Masi didn’t take a side and favour one driver or one team over the other, but there’s the consequence of what his actions were and his desire, I believe, to see the race finish under a green flag.

“I understand that it would have been awful way to end the championship if it finished under a Safety Car.

“But there were potentially other options, of which one, I understand, would have been to red flag it immediately, then everybody could have come into the pits, could have reloaded on fresh rubber, and restarted the race.

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“At least that would have been a level playing field for everybody, but the way that it unfolded made it an unlevel playing field for Lewis, and a much more favourable one for Red Bull and for Max.

“Ultimately, I think that there’s been a number of issues throughout the season. Some of these have been compounded by these incessant communications between pit wall and Race Director.”

Watson believes Masi’s bad calls this season have led to the teams not being able to trust his judgement anymore.

“I just wonder what kind of support there is for him amongst the teams going into a new season – can they rely on his judgement?

“Is it unimpeachable? Or is it going to be questionable? Every time he makes a judgement, is it going to be challenged over the airwaves? ‘Have you made the right call?’, or ‘Here’s the reasons why you made the wrong call’ – that’s the wrong way!

“It’s like having a football match, having the two managers of each respective team having an ongoing dialogue with the referee during a match.

“It’s non-sensical on the one hand, and it just makes a mockery of the authority of those people that are chosen to adjudicate the 90 minutes of a football match, or the 90 minutes of a Grand Prix.”

The Briton also said he doesn’t like the fact that team bosses can lobby the race director during the race, especially when it is broadcast for everyone to hear.

“There are channels for challenges, but not as a part of what I feel has become the consequence of the access given to Netflix and Drive to Survive, wherein we’ve now got this type of ‘Support Act’ to the stars.

“These people, ie. the FIA and their officers, some of them have become a part of this ‘show’. They’re not there to be that – they’re there to adjudicate.

“They’re not there to be known or shown or whatever. They are people that should be behind the scenes and shouldn’t at any point of time be given acknowledgement.

“That’s not their job, and that’s not what they’re in that position for,” Watson concluded.

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