Mercedes boss hopes ‘robbed’ Lewis Hamilton will continue racing
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Express Sport readers have backed FIA race director Michael Masi to face the sack in a decision which could prove crucial for the future of Lewis Hamilton. The 2021 Abu Dhabi season finale is under investigation, with Masi central to the drama, after Hamilton was controversially pipped to the drivers’ title.
The Mercedes garage were outraged when Masi effectively took the decision to wipe out Hamilton’s lead behind a late safety car at Yas Marina.
Having artificially closed the gap and on much fresher tyres, Max Verstappen overtook the seven-time world champion in thrilling but contentious circumstances.
That one-lap shootout, which was brought on by Masi’s decision to order the lapped drivers between Hamilton and Verstappen to pass through, effectively decided the championship.
Amid the Brit’s continued silence, which included snubbing the FIA’s prize-giving gala in the days following, it remains feared he could retire.
Silver Arrows boss Toto Wolff claimed that Hamilton had become ‘disillusioned’ after his agonising defeat, and refused to rule out his retirement.
After the dust settled, the FIA began working on an internal investigation surrounding December’s controversial title decider.
Hamilton’s prospective decision to call it a day or return for another crack at an eighth crown is believed to depend, at least in part, on Masi’s departure.
With a host of respected figures calling for Masi to be axed, the Express Sport readers have had their say, and the results came out in Hamilton’s favour.
The results of a recent poll show that 66 per cent of respondents, of which there were approximately 70,000, believe that Masi should be removed from his post.
If he does continue in 2022, the responses to other questions posed suggest that fairly significant changes must be made to keep fans onside.
After all, 64 per cent of respondents claimed that they do not trust Masi to make the right decisions for the sport if he is allowed to continue as race director.
As such, 62 per cent voted in favour of Masi either needing to share his role, or be backed up by an assistant.
If the FIA shy away from sacking the Australian, the response to a question on Hamilton’s future is indicative of the uncertainty surrounding his current situation.
When asked if the Brit would continue if Masi stays on, the response was split three ways between ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘not sure’.
The most conclusive response of all surrounded the need for team principals to show the race director more respect, whether that be directed at Masi or his replacement.
After the issues highlighted in Abu Dhabi, changes in communication between team principals and the race director are expected to undergo changes ahead of the coming season.
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