The 2021 Formula One season was truly one for the history books. The season was absolutely brimming with the most exciting races with an even more exciting turn of events. The sensational season which faced one of the most solid rivalries ever between 7-time world championship winner Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen ended with the latter denying the former a record eight championship title in the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi.
However, the circumstances under which Verstappen clinched his maiden championship title came under a lot of speculations following the decisions that were taken by race director for the 2021 season, Michael Masi. Masi had allowed the safety car to stay on the track following Williams’ Nicholas Latifi’s crash and allowed the cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to unlap themselves. This allowed Verstappen the much-needed boost to attack Hamilton in the last lap and bring the championship home.
Following Verstappen’s win, Masi was put under a lot of scrutiny for his decisions at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the heated situation was somewhat put to an end with the replacing of Masi as the race director. He is to serve in a safety role as of now.
Christian Horner deems FIA’s decision to sack Masi to reek of inconsistency
Red Bull Racing’s Team Principal Christian Horner believes that FIA was very hasty with the decision they took that determined Masi’s fate as the race director in Formula One. The former Australian race director has been replaced by Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas who are going to alternate the role of race director between themselves to ensure that there’s not too much pressure riding on one.
This time around, there will also be a VAR-styled system to keep the race directors and their decisions in check. “You want consistency, so having one race director for me was preferential, rather than splitting that role,” mentioned Horner in reference to Masi getting sacked as the race director. “I thought it was harsh on Michael Masi that he was replaced after a lot of pressure put on him. Everything is back to zero, new season, new regulations.”
We’ll get a proper insight into the workings of the new race directors this month for the first time in the first race of the season, the Bahrain Grand Prix.