Michael Masi has offered a response to people who suggest that he “ruined” Lewis Hamilton’s legacy with his officiating at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The infamous race saw Hamilton miss out on a record-breaking eighth Formula 1 title, with Max Verstappen overtaking him on the final lap.
Then-Race Director Masi allowed only the cars in between Hamilton and Verstappen to unlap themselves under a Safety Car period before resuming the race.
The incident has gone down as one of the most controversial moments in F1 history.
Masi departed the FIA several months after the matter played out, but is back in the pit lane this weekend during the Australian Grand Prix event.
When asked by the Daily Mail what he thinks of the people who claim he tarnished Hamilton’s legacy, Masi said: “They have their perspective and are entitled to their view “I respect any view, and it’s not for me to comment on what they do or don’t think.”
And he would be willing to speak to Hamilton again?
“If I am approached to have a discussion I am open to it, and always have been.”
Hamilton, however, suggested that he was not interested in seeking out a conversation with Masi.
“I’m just focusing on the future, focused on trying to get back to winning. There’s nothing to say,” the Mercedes driver said earlier this week.
Since leaving the FIA, Masi has taken on a new role as the chairman of the Supercars Commission.
He held the Race Director role for three years and was ushered in following the sudden passing of Charlie Whiting on the eve of the 2019 campaign.
Masi previously revealed that he received death threats and had a period of poor mental health after the Abu Dhabi incident.
However, he has suggested that he is now in a much better place.
“When I stopped at the FIA, I told my parents, ‘Those days are done for me’. I had told them after the Abu Dhabi fallout not to bother reading or watching anything,” he said.
“It’s not healthy. The place can be a very toxic place. In many ways social media can be a great tool, but not so great in others.
“I have spent time looking after myself. It’s done me good. It’s what I needed. I spent a lot of time getting into physical shape but didn’t spend enough on the mental side for a long while.
There were people I was speaking to privately, my then partner – she was an amazing support – and friends and family.
“As for professional help, I got that, but probably later than I should have done – the latter part of last year, but things had largely calmed down by then.”