Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is against ex-Formula 1 race director Michael Masi making a remarkable return, and recently labelled him as an “idiot”.
Wolff’s strong feelings for Masi are as a result of his ‘human error’ in the 2021 season finale, where his failure to following the rule book resulted in Lewis Hamilton losing an unprecedented eighth Drivers’ Championship.
Masi letting only some cars un-lap themselves after initially stating that nobody would un-lap themselves, followed by ending a late Safety Car a lap early resulted in the FIA investigating his handling of the race.
It was deemed that the Australian made a ‘human error’, which ultimately led to him departing the FIA.
However, Masi is now being linked with a sensational return to F1, after FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem admitted that if the ex-race director is the “right person” for a role, then he will be brought back.
“I always apologise, but I cannot apologise for something which was done before my time,” Ben Sulayem told the Press Association. “Okay, I will do the apology, but I will bring Michael Masi again.
“Do you think that is right? The poor guy is a person who has been attacked and abused. Michael Masi went through hell. Hell! And if I see there is an opportunity that the FIA needs, and Michael Masi is the right person, I will bring him.”
Masi returning would seriously anger Wolff, Mercedes and presumably Hamilton, who contemplated retiring from F1 after losing the 2021 title to Max Verstappen under such extraordinary circumstances.
It’d certainly be a controversial move by Ben Sulayem which would likely put further pressure on his presidency, with Wolff admitting that himself and the entire team will “never get over” what Masi did.
Wolff recently revealed that what happened at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has become “scars” that the side have to live with.
He also pointed out that he doesn’t think about the reasons why errors were made that night at the Yas Marina Circuit, as Masi is “just an idiot who made the wrong decision”.
“[There were] brutal scars. Incredible scars and we will never get over them, in a way,” Wolff told Motorsport.com.
“They became scars, and there are moments when you think, ‘how could that happen?’ We know how it happened. But I don’t want to waste a minute [thinking] about the reasons, because that would give the guy [Masi] too much credit. He’s just an idiot who made the wrong decision.”