'Utter Pathological Egomaniac': Wolff Slams Former Race Director

Wednesday, 03 April 2024 at 21:30
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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff heavily criticized former race director Michael Masi, whose decisions influenced the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Michael Masi was the race director during the most famous and controversial season in recent F1 history- 2021. There were multiple disputable moments during this season, but the biggest one, and the one that Toto Wolff will never forget, came during the final race.
Nowadays, we are used to stewards making decisions purely based on the regulations that are clearly written down.
Sometimes, it hurts the sport, like the Carlos Sainz incident during the Las Vegas Grand Prix. On the other hand, the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix showed that not following the rules can be even worse.
Michael Masi basically decided to ignore a few rules during a safety car after Nicholas Latifi's crash in order to provide fans with a one-lap sprint to the finish line.
He ordered lapped cars to unlap themselves, but only the ones between Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Without waiting for them to catch up with the pack, Masi quickly resumed the race to avoid finishing under the safety car.
This decision put Hamilton at a disadvantage. He was overtaken on the final lap, and as a consequence, he lost the championship.
Toto Wolff protested the decisions immediately after the race, but the Championship result was never changed. According to RacingNews365, the Austrian team principal said in Joshua Robinson's and Jonathan Clegg's book 'The Formula':

"When I think about it again, it's so unfair what happened to Lewis and the team that day. He is a totally unimportant person: he lives on the other side of the world, and nobody is interested in him. He really was an utter pathological egomaniac."

"It is drama and glory. This is what makes the sport so irresistible. Everyone saw the drama of an eight-time world champion being robbed of his title. I would have preferred to see it end differently, but the race undeniably left its mark on history."