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Race restart "in sport's best interests", says Masi

NEWS STORY
07/06/2021

Race director, Michael Masi insists that restarting the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with just two laps remaining was in the best interests of the sport.

Asked if he was surprised the Azerbaijan Grand Prix was restarted with just two laps remaining, Pierre Gasly, who went on to finish third, best summed up the situation.

"The Americans took over," said the Frenchman, "so I wasn't really surprised that we go first with the entertainment."

Following a brief delay after Max Verstappen's crash, the safety car was deployed, before the decision was finally taken to stop the race.

In the meantime, Red Bull's sporting director, Jonathan Wheatley had radioed race director, Michael Masi to red flag the race and allow all drivers to change tyres for reasons of safety. The race was indeed subsequently red flagged, with just two laps remaining.

Other than whether the race would be restarted, it was also unclear whether it would be a standing start or behind the safety car.

Explaining the decision to restart the race, Masi told reporters: "Thankfully for a number of years now we've had the race suspension regulations. So when a race was red flagged after a certain distance (and not restarted) it would go back two laps and so forth.

"But obviously with the race suspension element, yes there is an option not to restart," he admitted. "But within the timeframe and within the format of the regulations, we can restart, and there was no reason not to."

Asked why the race wasn't stopped following Lance Stroll's heavier crash, the Australian said: "Obviously in the middle of the race, there was more than enough time, space, on the right-hand side of the track when we were recovering it, and confidence with the way that that could be cleaned up in that fashion.

"As I said, when looking at everything, we weren't confident that the recovery on the pit straight and the amount of debris that was everywhere could be cleared up in the appropriate time," he added, in reference to Verstappen's crash.

"So we thought it was in the best interests of the sport to suspend and then restart in that circumstance."

Fact is, Gasly nailed it.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Baku, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 09/06/2021 11:49

"@ Suoerbird70...like your comment re marathons and sprints. Spot on. Verstappen won that race on merit. If the final result had allowed the GOAT to take the laurel wreath it would have been a hollow win. Justice has been served."

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2. Posted by Superbird70, 07/06/2021 22:27

"Imagine how much better it could have been if there was an American entertainment conglomerate in charge...
"

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3. Posted by @R1Racing71, 07/06/2021 21:28

"It was the right thing to do. All the cars needed to change tyres just to be safe.
From a spectators perspective, it was brilliant - what a great couple of laps we had.
Just remember - it’s only entertainment :)"

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4. Posted by Wokingchap, 07/06/2021 18:00

"Roli..well said , Masi needs replacing. Didn't have all these crap decisions with dear old Charlie Whiting..rip."

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5. Posted by Roli, 07/06/2021 16:11

"What is this guy doing ruining F1 ? He is an absolute joke. The race should have been stopped there and then with only 2 laps to go, and the finish was the way they were the previous lap. I am a Hamilton fan, but Max just drove the sox off the car, now all the points and efforts were for nothing. Masi is a disgrace. I will buy everyone a drink when he resigns and goes somewhere else where he will completely ruin that. Rant over."

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6. Posted by JamesD, 07/06/2021 15:55

""The Americans took over ?!?!" Err, decided by the FIA Race Director AUSTRALIAN Michael Masi !!"

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7. Posted by Superbird70, 07/06/2021 15:49

"No, no, best marathon."

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8. Posted by jcr, 07/06/2021 14:06

"Best sprint in years !!"

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