FIA race director Michael Masi has been in the firing line since the Abu Dhabi GP has concluded. He decided to let the 5 cars between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to unlap themselves and overtake the safety car. However, this decision apparently goes against a precedent he set in Eifel GP 2020.
The 2020 Eifel GP at Nurburgring invited a lot of backlash from the drivers for the prolonged duration of the safety car after the Mclaren of Lando Norris suffered an engine failure.
Race leaders Hamilton and Verstappen complained about losing tire temperature in the cold conditions of the track. However, Masi justified it by giving an explanation that contradicts his actions in Abu Dhabi.
During the 2020 Eifel GP, Masi had an interesting explanation about the prolonged period of the safety car.
“There’s a requirement in the sporting regulations to wave all the lapped cars past,” said Masi as reported by Mirror UK.
“From that point, it was position six onwards that were still running [on the lead lap], so between 10 or 11 cars had to unlap themselves. Therefore the safety car period was a bit longer than what we would have normally expected.” added the 42-year old.
If a similar principle had been applied in the 2021 finale race, and all lapped cars were allowed to unlap themselves, there would not have been time for the safety car to leave the track ahead of that dramatic final lap. However, during the Abu Dhabi GP, Masi initially refused to let the lapped cars through, only to change it later.
Race director Masi has been under a lot of scrutiny this season. However, the Abu Dhabi debacle has taken a life of its own, considering the stakes involved. He has been accused of deliberately making the final race spectacle worthy and not fair. Tell us your opinion on the disparity between the two decisions.