Mercedes F1 Team Chief Toto Wolf said in an interview that former FIA race director Michael Masi has repeatedly been found to be “disrespectful” to drivers. Mercedes’ Wolff’s latest remark came against the backdrop of a baleful backdrop while Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton had missed out a golden opportunity to seize a record eighth driver’s title on last December’s title decider in Abu Dhabi GP following faults from the then-FIA race director Masi. Masi had introduced safety cars in such a way that had allowed Red Bull’s Verstappen to position himself just behind the 37-year-old who had been leading the lines. In a title-decider which had been turned to a one-lap sprint following mistakes from Masi, Verstappen with fresh tyres, easily overtook Hamilton.
Toto Wolff accuses Masi of being disrespectful to other drivers
In point of fact, speaking with the Press Association News Agency, Wolff said over the weekend, “It is quite interesting because I had lunch with him on the Wednesday before the race, and I said to him that 'I really want to tell you, without patronizing you, that you need to take criticism on board and develop from there.
Lewis [Hamilton] does it every day, but you are a guy who always seems to know better. It wasn't about influencing him but really giving my honest feedback that he shouldn't block outside opinion as simply being wrong. You hear from the drivers and how the drivers' briefings were conducted [by Masi] and some of the guys said it was almost disrespectful how he treated some of them.
He was just immune to any feedback and even today he has not properly reflected that he did something wrong. He was a liability for the sport because everybody kept talking about Abu Dhabi and the race director, and the race director should not be somebody that people talk about, but someone who does the job and makes sure the race is run according to the regulations”.
This has been the latest in a string of incidences when Masi had to take fresh scolding from Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.