The FIA race director Michael Masi has found himself in hot water after being accused by Formula One fans of bending the rules for TV as Max Verstappen was crowned world champion after a controversial end to the 2021 season.
Millions of people around the world sat down to watch Sunday’s race with Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton tied on points after an incredible season-long battle between the two title protagonists.
Hamilton had driven a commanding race from the start, leapfrogging Verstappen off the line to take the lead of the race and producing a string of fastest laps, building up a solid lead over the Dutchman.
But despite almost crashing on lap one, the biggest drama in F1 history was yet to come, after a safety car was deployed with five laps remaining as Nicolas Latifi crashed in his Williams.
Verstappen and Red Bull decided to pit for new tyres, but Mercedes and Hamilton had their hands tied, as pitting would’ve cost them the lead of the race.
Lewis Hamilton’s unplayed radio message after contentious final lap
In this situation, lapped cars are normally allowed to pass the leaders and un-lap themselves so they don’t directly interfere with the leading cars.
But confusion followed after race director Michael Masi did allow some cars, the ones sitting directly between Hamilton and Verstappen, to un-lap themselves, but didn’t give the entire field enough time to do the same before the race restarted.
It meant that Verstappen, on fresher tyres, was able to overtake Hamilton, who was on significantly older tyres, to win the race, and therefore win the title.
However, The Sun is reporting Masi’s time as FIA race director could be over after the fiasco, and could be replaced when Jean Todt leaves his post and the FIA elects a new President on December 17th.
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