Christian Horner believes that the FIA's decision to remove Michael Masi from the position of F1 race director is "sharp", and insists that the governing body eventually succumbed to the pressure that was "wrong"
Masi paid the price with his actions in the decisive race for the title in Abu Dhabi in 2021, bypassing the usual rules of safety cars. The FIA's investigation into the race - the contents of which have yet to be published - has led to a series of changes in the work of the 2022 race direction.
Two new race directors - Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich - will replace Masi, while a new virtual race control room similar to the football VAR system will help FIA umpirees make their decisions during race incidents. Furthermore, the longtime assistant of the late Charlie Whiting, Herbie Blash, will also be on-site to support and advise new race directors.
Horner welcomed Blash's presence and the introduction of new technology to help referees in the decision-making process. However, the head of Red Bull still thinks that Masi's departure is "sharp" "It is hard.
It's the FIA's job. I think it's rude; I think he was in a very difficult position last year, ”Horner told talkSPORT. "When you look at what he has at his disposal in terms of resources, compared to what teams have, it's a big difference."
“It’s good to hear that they bring things like the VAR equivalent and one of the most experienced people in Herbie Blash. Simply, I think there was so much pressure to remove Michael, and that’s not right.
That is my personal feeling, "he added.
Horner on Verstappen and FIA
Horner made it clear that Verstappen is a worthy champion, regardless of the events in Abu Dhabi. The head of the Austrian team insists that "some are hiding around the controversy" in order to try to devalue the Dutchman's merits.
"It was an intense period. You have to watch the season in 22 races, ”explains Horner. "We had a lot of decisions that were against us earlier in the year, sentences that weren't handed down, and so on."
“We had a little bit of luck in the end, and that happens sometimes in sports; it's not over until the whistle blows or the flag falls. Tactically, we were sharp in the end." "When (Nicholas Latifi) gave up five laps before the end, we reacted immediately.
We put Max in, we put a new set of soft tires in the box, (while) Mercedes left Lewis on 44-lap tires, which were at the end of the endurance. ” "Max had to make that pass in the last lap, which he did. There was some hiding around the controversy. The bottom line was that we did it tactically. Max made a move and became a world champion, ”concluded Horner.