Controversy over the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with the future of Formula One racing director Michael Massi in the spotlight

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Johnny Herbert, Damon Hill and Martin Brandl discuss whether or not Michael Massey can stay in his role as FIA Formula 1 race director.

Johnny Herbert, Damon Hill and Martin Brandl discuss whether or not Michael Massey can stay in his role as FIA Formula 1 race director.

Michael Masi’s future as Formula 1 racing director remains at the center of scrutiny and uncertainty in the wake of the controversial end of the 2021 season in Abu Dhabi.

In a special edition of Show F1 titled Abu Dhabi: A month later, Broadcast on Sky Sports F1’s YouTube and TV channels on Friday, Team Sky F1 delves deeper into the controversy surrounding the end-of-season events in December that saw Lewis Hamilton lose the world title to Max Verstappen on the final lap of the race.

Hosted by Simon Lazenby, the panel of experts and reporters dissects the decisions made at night, what happened in the four weeks that followed, and what might happen next as the debate continues unabated in the new year.

Watch in full from 10am on Friday on Sky F1 YouTube channel. The show then airs at 6pm on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event.

What now for race director Massey?

With the FIA ​​launching an investigation into the Abu Dhabi events, after saying the fallout was “staining the championship image”, Massey’s future ahead of the 2022 season remains one of the big unanswered questions after the race director dealt with heavy criticism. Delayed safety car period.

“If the FIA ​​and Formula 1 want Michael Massi to stay, and if Michael Massi wants to stay, he obviously only has one life left. So I don’t know if that is possible everywhere,” said Martin Brandl.

“Who are you going to replace? Pay attention to what you wish for, I will say on this.

“What I know for sure is that changing Michael Massey will not solve the problem. This is a task too big for one person to handle, in a season of 23 races that will only grow.”

Show F1

January 14, 2022, 6:00 pm

go on with your life

Mercedes was upset with the way the race control system, chaired by Massey, resumed racing on the last lap, arguing that two key aspects of the rules governing the safety car were incorrectly applied.

The race hosts backed the Australian’s handling of the restart as they dismissed Mercedes’ post-race protest, but the FIA ​​then committed to a review of what happened after talks with angry manufacturers’ champions.

Hamilton’s only comment on how the final laps were carried out came from his team radio in the final seconds of the race, when he said, “This has been messed up.” Amidst fan backlash and public confusion over what exactly happened and why, questions about the integrity of the sport have since been aired.

1996 World Champion Damon Hill said: “Lewis Hamilton fans are obviously very sad, Lewis might do well, and Mercedes are doing it the way the decision hurt and they felt robbed.

“So there’s a lot of bad vibes. The Dutch camp is of course very happy with the result, but was it a satisfactory way to determine the championship? If you look at it from the point of view of how the decision was made, it allowed some cars to disengage themselves and not others.

“That in itself is unfair. What has resulted is a focus on my two champions and I don’t think you can run a car race or a championship like that, you have to apply the rules equally to all competitors.”

Johnny Herbert, Damon Hill and Martin Brandl discuss whether the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was rigged and whether the finish was the biggest sporting injustice of all time.

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Johnny Herbert, Damon Hill and Martin Brandl discuss whether the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was rigged and whether the finish was the biggest sporting injustice of all time.

Johnny Herbert, Damon Hill and Martin Brandl discuss whether the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was rigged and whether the finish was the biggest sporting injustice of all time.

Johnny Herbert believes the decision was “completely wrong” and that Massey’s calls hurt the sport.

The three-time Grand Prix winner said: “The position he’s in, you have to have confidence. I think that confidence has completely and completely evaporated.”

“The problem is, who are you replacing because experience is going to be very, very important to whoever holds this position. Michael has been very fortunate, working under Charlie Whiting, and learning a lot of good things from that point of view.

“Is someone coming out for me to take his place? No, that’s the riddle.”

Asked if Massey is the one who will ultimately lose out in the fallout, Brandel replied: “It might be the sacrificial lamb.

“What’s really important here for the FIA ​​and Formula 1 is that this hasn’t been wiped under the rug and left for a few weeks and then overtaken by the new 2022 cars, the testing, and what you have.

“We need to understand what happened and why it won’t happen again.

“We need to reassure fans that what they are seeing is real and real, and that they are giving up their free time to watch something that is real competition.”

So what’s the last stand in the FIA?

On Thursday, the F1 board of directors released its first official update on its progress since the operation began on 15 December. The FIA ​​said it had asked the new president, Mohammed bin Sulayem, to treat the operation as a top priority. Peter Baer is ‘revising and improving’ F1’s structure for the 2022 season.

Bayer is Motorsport’s general secretary, but he has also taken on overall responsibility for matters of the single-seat championship.

Explaining the FIA’s state of play and the long-planned management change involving Bayer, David Croft, Sky F1 commentator, said: “Michael Massey still has a job and is still in his role responsible for the sporting side of the single seat. A chain that is controlled by the FIA. For cars, this isn’t just Formula 1. Nicholas Tombazis plays a role in the technical direction of this one-seat side.

“But both are now run, in terms of line manager, by Peter Baer. He is the FIA’s General Secretary of Motorsports and has taken on almost a role as F1 Commissioner.

“This has already been suggested and accepted by the World Motorsports Council before the race in Abu Dhabi. So now Massy and Tombaz have someone to report on who can care a lot about what is going on and give them help, support, support and guidance. But that is not the result of the Abu Dhabi race.” .

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