Toto Wolff will block Michael Masi’s shock return to Formula 1

Michael Masi was axed from his role as race director following the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2021.

The FIA have not had much luck with regards to the race director role in recent years, as they were forced to sack Michael Masi at the end of the 2021 season, and then chose to sack one of their two 2022 race directors following the controversial Japanese Grand Prix earlier this year.

Masi was removed from his role following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2021, which saw Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to the drivers’ championship following a year of intense battling.

With Hamilton comfortably leading the race going into the latter stages, a safety car was caused by Nicholas Latifi crashing his Williams in sector three of the Yas Marina circuit.

Verstappen gambled and pitted for soft tyres, while Hamilton stayed out for track position, as advised by his race engineer Peter Bonnington.

Lewis Hamilton before the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.v1

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Under normal circumstances, the race would have finished under the safety car because there was not enough laps remaining for every lapped car to unlap itself ahead of the race restart.

Masi controversially allowed only the lapped cars between the two championship rivals to unlap themselves, ensuring that there was time for one final racing lap, where on the soft tyres, Verstappen cruised past Hamilton to his maiden title.

Former Ferrari and Williams manager Peter Windsor has now stunningly claimed that Masi could make a return to F1, having recently taken up a role in Australian motorsport.

“Masi is working in motorsport in Australian again and he’s doing race direction stuff again,” he said.

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“One of my mates said that if Formula 1 made him an offer, he’d probably come back and he’d probably do a very, very good job compared with where we are at the moment.

“Obviously, he made a massive mistake in Abu Dhabi – and everybody makes mistakes – but the groundswell argument is, ‘is it any worse than where we are?’ And, if nothing else, he does actually make decisions and he’s very organised.”

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Windsor has however admitted that his return would most likely be blocked by Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, who was understandably one of those outraged by Masi’s decision making at last season’s finale.

“I’m sure it’ll never happen, because Mercedes’ Toto Wolff will probably never let it happen, and he did make such a massive mistake you could argue that maybe he should never come back,” he concluded.

Should Masi ever return to F1, it will not just be Wolff who would object, with Lewis Hamilton recently suggested that the race result was predetermined by someone that had decided what they wanted to happen, and altered proceedings to ensure it unfolded that way.