Michael Masi was not really sacked by the FIA and instead his position as director was changed following the recent controversy, former Dutch driver Jan Lammers has claimed. It was announced on Thursday that Masi will no longer continue as race director following the controversial ending to last season. The Australian received huge criticism for his role in Max Verstappen overtaking Lewis Hamilton and winning his first world title on the final lap of the season in Abu Dhabi.
Masi faced numerous calls for him to be removed from his position following the debacle in December.
The 44-year-old only allowed the unlapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to pass the two drivers following the deployment of the safety car.
The outcome of the race led to strong speculation that seven-time champion Hamilton would call it a day from the sport.
But the Brit will race again for Mercedes this year following the news that Masi has lost his job.
But Lammers reckons all may not be what it seems.
The 65-year-old says a change in structure may have been behind the decision and it was in fact Masi who decided to step down.
“That is his decision, I cannot judge that,” Lammers told Motorsport.com.
“They’re now taking the dramatic version of the story, where it looks like Masi has been victimized. I think it goes way beyond that.
“Michael may well have said he was on this one way and they couldn’t get out. It’s not like Masi got the sack and suddenly someone else does the job.
“It’s not that simple. It’s just a completely different structure, and Masi is not assigned to that new structure. I don’t want to speculate about the underlying reason, you’re so easily wrong.”
Asked if the right decisions have been made, Lammers added: “That’s not for me to judge. Of course a lot of things have changed.
“Firstly, Jean Todt has been replaced by Mohammed Ben Sulayem and now Masi is replaced by a wider team, with two alternating race directors. Above that is Herbie Blash who oversees.
“They are monitored from Geneva to ensure that the rules are followed.
“It is more the conclusion that these kinds of crucial decisions should not be left to one man.
“Hence, from now on it will be done from a much wider panel. I think it’s better in terms of structure anyway.”