Masi felt like “most hated man in the world”, received death threats after Abu Dhabi

Ex-Formula 1 race director Michael Masi has revealed he received death threats and felt like “the most hated man in the world” after the controversial Abu Dhabi season finale.

Michael Masi, FIA

Masi was removed from his position as race director after failing to implement at least two articles of the sporting regulations in the Abu Dhabi title decider last December.

It resulted in the last-lap showdown where Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton to snatch the championship away, sparking controversy and protests from Mercedes that were eventually dropped.

Masi left the FIA earlier this month to relocate to Australia, and has now given his first public interview to News Corp in which he revealed he faced “dark days” due to the abuse and backlash.

“I felt like I was the most hated man in the world,” Masi said. “I got death threats, people saying they were going to come after me and my family.

“[The messages] 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.”

The FIA conducted a full investigation into the Abu Dhabi finale and found that Masi had acted in “good faith”, with the decisions being a result of “human error.”

Michael Masi, Race Director

Michael Masi, Race Director

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Masi admitted in the interview that the response to the finale had a physical impact on him, but that it was “more mental” and left him with “no desire” to talk to his family or friends.

“I just wanted to be alone, which was very challenging,” Masi added, although he said the experience had “made me a much stronger person.”

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The FIA initially planned to offer Masi a new position within the organisation, only for the Australian to take the decision to leave earlier this month.

Masi was replaced by a new dual race director system made up of Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, as well as a virtual race control room based out of Switzerland.

But that has not stopped concerns being raised about decisions taken by race control through the 2022 season, amid rows over drivers wearing jewellery, track limits and alleged inconsistency from the stewards.

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