Red Bull Team Principal, Christian Horner, has spoken out against the FIA decision to drop Michael Masi ahead of the 2022 season branding it a ‘harsh’ move.
The controversy was rife after the 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi, after a last-minute decision by Masi allowed Max Verstappen to easily pass Lewis Hamilton on the very last lap of the race.
The British world champion had been leading most laps and his eighth title looked to be in the bag before Williams’ Nicholas Latific hit the barriers and brought out the safety car.
As the safety car period ended, Masi allowed Verstappen to pass enough lapped cars to place him directly behind Hamilton having pitted under a prior safety car – after an accident elsewhere on track.
This meant he was on fresh tyres and able to overtake the Brit with ease on the final lap pipping Hamilton to the chequered flag and securing his maiden title.
Many people launched complaints and appeals against Masi and his ability to remain in the vital position of race director.
A lengthy investigation was carried out by the FIA, and the decision was recently confirmed that Masi would take up a role elsewhere in the organisation for the incoming season.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Horner let his opinion be known on the situation and even said he believes there was a lot of pressure on officials to oust Masi from his position, “and that’s not right.”
The Red Bull team principal said: “It’s a difficult one. It’s the FIA’s business. I think it’s harsh.
“I think that he was in a very difficult position last year. We felt a lot of decisions went against us last year.
“When you look at what he has in terms of resource, compared to what the teams have, it’s such a massive, massive difference.”
He went on to say: “I think it’s good to hear they are bringing in things like VAR equivalent and they are bringing back one of the most experienced guys, Herbie Blash.
“I just think there was so much pressure put on the removal of Michael and that’s not right. That was my personal feeling.”