Formula One fans have demanded ‘justice’ for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes after race director Michael Masi was sacked on Thursday for his handling of last season’s Abu Dhabi finale.
Under a whole host of changes by new FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, Masi was removed from his role after he let Max Verstappen have a clear run on the dominant Hamilton before the final lap at Yas Marina via some safety car drama.
Masi allowed the lapped cars inbetween Verstappen and Hamilton to unlap themselves before the final lap, allowing the Red Bull driver to overtake the Briton on fresher tyres, with Mercedes calling foul play ever since.
The race director’s dismissal was announced on Thursday after a meeting between Ben Sulayem, Masi, Mercedes and Red Bull on Monday, but it was announced that Verstappen’s 2021 title victory will not be overturned in favour of Hamilton.
And F1 fans took to social media, appealing sport bosses to overturn the decision and grant the Mercedes man a record-breaking eighth world driver’s title.
One person tweeted: ‘I want an apology to Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes now. Lewis raced perfectly that day and Mercedes strategy was perfect. It was complete robbery and corruption and just unfair.’
Another claimed: ‘Make no mistake, what happened in Abu Dhabi was a farce and Lewis Hamilton deserves his championship returned to him. However, the removal of Michael Masi is a critical step in the process of moving forward. #MasiGONE
While Masi will no longer be race director, he will be offered a new role within the FIA. Meanwhile, other new rules for this season will see direct communications to the race director removed from TV broadcast.
Teams may now only ask questions in a non-intrusive manner. The process of cars unlapping themselves under the safety car will also be reviewed.