Vettel suggests Formula 1 made a mistake firing Masi to appease Hamilton

Michael Masi was removed as race director ahead of the 2022 season after the controversial end to the 2021 tittle battle between Sir Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel indicates that it was remiss of the FIA to remove Michael Masi as race director after the chaotic events of the Monaco Grand Prix.

The race in Monte Carlo was delayed despite minimal rain around the circuit and, when the Safety Car did finally lead the drivers away, it had become too wet, leading to another delay.

There was minimal communication from race control during the hour it took to finally get the drivers on track in anger, and former Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle speculated that there will have been some “heated” debates in race control.

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The stewards again came under fire when there appeared to be confusion as to the pit exit rule when both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez appeared to tag the yellow line on the way out.

Masi was replaced by a combination of Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich ahead of this year following the bizarre Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2021, but it was unlikely that taking one person out of the equation was ever going to solve the fundamental issues within the governing body.

The FIA themselves said in their report into the controversial end to 2021 that there was a lack of “support” given to Masi, who was having to juggle multiple tasks at once during his tenure as race director that began in 2019 following the tragic passing of Charlie Whiting.

Masi had been working in Whiting’s shadow prior to 2019, so he has a lot of experience within race control, something that Vettel believes the FIA might have considered keeping hold of.

“What we are missing now is the experience that Michael had and brought to the job because he did it for so long and grew up with it,” he explained in conversation with Speedweek.

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“It is not an easy position now because there is more focus and more spotlight on what is happening at Race Control.

“But I hope things calm down and we find a way to work together, as in the drivers and the FIA. You cannot make everybody happy but we need to try and make both sides more happy.”

Vettel’s future in F1 beyond 2022 is as yet uncertain, as he is out of contract at Aston Martin is up at the end of this year.

With home life, environmental awareness and a fulfilment of having won four championships in his career all playing a factor, he is not entirely certain whether he will stay, or indeed what lies ahead in his future should be decide to walk away at the end of this year.

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“I have done motor racing for my whole life and it gives you security, in terms of the schedule being made by other people,” stated Vettel during the launch of Peroni’s ‘IL PITSTOP.’

“I don’t know what life after Formula One looks like and I don’t think any sportsperson knows what the next life looks like. You can have certain things lined up but you don’t know and that is the truth. 

“I don’t expect to find something tomorrow which I am really good at because I have found something in my life that I am really good at and it is hard to find that again. How many times can you win the lottery?

“I enjoy driving the car but there are other things I don’t like. After so many years the usual stuff comes up that you don’t understand at the beginning, like the travel. 

“It is very time consuming and I have kids at home and a family so it equals time away from them. 

“The future depends on this year and the races that I have coming up. I have not decided yet. The summer is the usual time when you start to talk so we will see.”