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Toto Wolff labels Michael Masi an ‘idiot’ after Abu Dhabi call

The Mercedes boss was unimpressed when it was put to him that Masi could return to a role at the FIA

Kieran Jackson
Formula 1 Correspondent
Monday 04 December 2023 12:04 GMT
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Lewis Hamilton shakes hands with Max Verstappen after losing F1 title in dramatic final lap

Toto Wolff has labelled former F1 race director Michael Masi an “idiot” nearly two years after his call cost Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton an eighth world title.

Masi was sacked by the FIA after a botched safety car and lapped cars procedure at the end of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the title-deciding race between Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

The Australian’s decision-making was later regarded as a “human error” as it handed Verstappen the opportunity to overtake Hamilton on the final lap to win the championship in thrilling and controversial circumstances.

Last week, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem revealed that Masi could return to the FIA if a suitable role opened up. However, Mercedes boss Wolff insists the “scars” from that day in Abu Dhabi remain with the team.

“[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 [why it happened] because that would give the guy too much credit.

Michael Masi was sacked as F1 race director after the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Getty Images)

“He’s just an idiot who made the wrong decision.”

While Mercedes have won just one race since 2021 – with Lewis Hamilton winless for two years now – Red Bull won 21 of 22 races this season as Verstappen stormed to a third-straight world title.

Wolff admitted after this year’s final race in Abu Dhabi that Mercedes have to climb “Mount Everest” in order to catch Red Bull.

The 2024 F1 season starts on 2 March with the Bahrain Grand Prix.

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