Michael Masi signed NDA with FIA as he opens up on ‘dark days’

The 2021 championship was settled in bizarre circumstances.

Former race director Michael Masi reportedly signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) after his removal as race director by the FIA.

Masi was the centre of controversy at last season’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix when he made a bizarre call to allow a limited number of lapped runners to pass the Safety Car ahead of the final lap.

Sir Lewis Hamilton had been leading Max Verstappen at the time, and was on course to claim his eighth crown after he pair had entered the final round of the season level on points.

The Dutchman pitted for fresh tyres towards the end when Nicholas Latifi crashed, bringing out the infamous late caution, but Mercedes could not afford to risk losing the lead on track, which is why they kept their driver out.

READ: British journalist suggests FIA reached settlement with Michael Masi over ‘human error’ that cost Lewis Hamilton 8th title

Following some interesting discussions with Red Bull, Masi changed his mind and, instead of not letting any lapped drivers through, he opted to allow only the five between the leaders pass.

This left Verstappen to pass Hamilton on the very last lap of the race, claiming his maiden championship under highly controversial circumstances.

According to reports, the Australian signed an NDA that precluded him from discussing the details of the decisions he made leading up to the final lap.

In the FIA’s report into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, they accepted that there was “confusion” in race control due to the complexity of the regulations, and that Masi’s “multiple responsibilities” played a part in his “human error.”

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The 2021 championships results were confirmed as “valid, final and cannot now be changed” in the report.

Masi revealed in an interview with News Corp that he had been the victim of death threats after the race, and the abusers also targeted his family.

“There were some dark days,” he said.

“Absolutely, I felt like I was the most hated man in the world, I got death threats, people saying they were going to come after me and my family.”

Masi was replaced at the helm of Formula 1 races by a combination of the alternating Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich.

Formula1news.co.uk has contacted the FIA asking for confirmation that Masi did in fact sign an agreement preventing him from discussing the events of Abu Dhabi.