Ex-Formula 1 Race Director Michael Masi says that he endured “dark days” following last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, stating he received death threats after the race.
Masi came under scrutiny for his decision-making toward the end of the grand prix, allowing only the cars in between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to unlap themselves under a Safety Car before restarting the race.
Verstappen went on to overtake Hamilton and claim his maiden F1 title, with Hamilton missing out on a record-breaking eighth.
Masi has since departed the FIA, with the role of Race Director now split between Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas.
Speaking to News Corp, the Australian reflected on the situation and revealed that he received widespread abuse following the race.
“There were some dark days,” Masi said. “And absolutely, I felt like I was the most hated man in the world.
“I got death threats. People saying they were going to come after me and my family. They were shocking. Racist, abusive, vile, they called me every name under the sun.
“And they kept on coming. Not just on my Facebook but also on my LinkedIn, which is supposed to be a professional platform for business. It was the same type of abuse.”
Williams’ Nicholas Latifi also received death threats after the race, after his crash resulted in the Safety Car intervention at the end of the grand prix.
An investigation was undertaken by the FIA following the event, which concluded that “human error” was behind the events that unfolded.
“I didn’t want to talk to anyone,” Masi added. “Not even family and friends. I only talked to my close family – but very briefly.
“It did have a physical impact, but it was more mental. I just wanted to be in a bubble. I had no desire to talk to them. I just wanted to be alone, which was very challenging.
“The whole experience has made me a much stronger person.”