McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has shown his support for race director Michael Masi following vast criticism of the Australian throughout 2021, and especially following the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
Masi has been the subject of many verbal barbs for several contentious moments since he took over as race director from the late Charlie Whiting, but Seidl has expressed his sympathy for him, suggesting he has done a better job than people give him credit for.
“From our point of view, without commenting now on what happened [in Abu Dhabi] we appreciate the open and transparent dialogue we had all year, and also in previous years with Michael,” Seidl said.
“And we were really happy also with the way he is dealing with things, not just with us but in general, with all the teams in the paddock.”
As such, the German does not believe that the events of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix should detract from the positive impact Masi has had.
“So I think we need to be very careful this intense battle for the championship, which was very intense on and off track, that triggered obviously a lot of heated comments as well, is not giving the wrong picture also of the reality.”
Furthermore, the 45-year-old confirmed that Masi, who doubles up as safety delegate, is constantly taking teams’ feedback on board:
“Again, from our point of view we are very happy with how Michael is dealing with us. He’s asking for our input, always has an open ear for improvements as well. That’s how I see it.”
Seidl went on to remind fans that the stewarding in Formula 1 has not changed from previous years, suggesting that Masi has simply been under more scrutiny in 2021.
“I think it’s also not fair to make comments like in the past everything was different and better. I think it is good now and it was good in the past,” the McLaren boss added.
“It is a very tricky job to be race director in such an intense battle we have seen this year. I think that is something you need to keep in mind.”
They managed five podiums between them, and Ricciardo claimed McLaren’s first win since 2012 at the Italian Grand Prix.