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Masi a "liability" for F1, says Wolff

NEWS STORY
12/04/2022

Toto Wolff continues to stick the boot into former race director, Michael Masi, labelling the Australian "disrespectful' and a 'liability".

Despite claims that the sport needs to move on from the events of Abu Dhabi, Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff seems unwilling, or unable, to let it go.

Speaking to the Press Association, Wolff was talking about how Lewis Hamilton is able to take constructive criticism, before opining that Michael Masi isn't.

"It is quite interesting," he said, "because I had lunch with him on the Wednesday before the race, and I said to him that 'I really want to tell you, without patronising you, that you need to take criticism on board and develop from there. Lewis does it every day, but you are a guy who always seems to know better'.

"It wasn't about influencing him," insisted the Austrian, "but really giving my honest feedback that he shouldn't block outside opinion as simply being wrong.

"You hear from the drivers and how the drivers' briefings were conducted and some of the guys said it was almost disrespectful how he treated some of them," he said of Masi. "He was just immune to any feedback and even today he has not properly reflected that he did something wrong.

"He was a liability for the sport because everybody kept talking about Abu Dhabi and the race director, and the race director should not be somebody that people talk about, but someone who does the job and makes sure the race is run according to the regulations."

Ignoring the question of why exactly a team boss was dining with a senior FIA official days before a championship decider, one has to question the motive behind this latest attack on Masi.

Previously, Wolff has talked of his struggles with mental health, yet here he is seeking to pour further public ridicule on a man, who in the eyes of many, is nothing more than a patsy, a man who now has to rebuild his career whilst being labelled as the 'man who cost Hamilton an eighth title'.

Masi has previously talked of receiving death threats following that night last December, yet here is Wolff once again playing to the gallery, whipping up the fury of those keyboard warriors on social media who see themselves as judge, jury and executioner as they launch another pile-on onto the hapless Australian.

While Wolff claims that some drivers say that Masi treated them almost disrespectfully, it is a fact that most drivers leapt to the Australian's defence in the aftermath of Abu Dhabi and the charade that followed... which is more than can be said of his employers, the FIA.

While one wonders how disrespectful Lewis will find it to be told by one of the two new race directors that all that jewellery and those body piercings must be removed, wouldn't it make more sense for Wolff to let Abu Dhabi go and focus on the present... and maybe how he might find that "magic bullet" he is forever talking about.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by moh, 14/04/2022 14:57

"Perhaps if Toto had paid for lunch somewhere swanky he might have got a better outcome in the race?"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Pavlo, 14/04/2022 6:32

"Apart from all moral questions, it’s amusing how one who is considered as one of the best team manager makes his own life harder.
After these comments for months the only natural reaction of the new director is to avoid any “lunches” or even meeting Toto and publicly penalise Mercedes for anything that looks like trying to influence judges.
And now I am waiting for FIA reaction, how come that one of the competitors was allowed to “give feedback” personally to race director?"

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Jezzer, 13/04/2022 19:01 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 13/04/2022 19:04)

"This comment was removed by an administrator as it was judged to have broken the site's posting rules and etiquette."

Rating: Neutral (0)

4. Posted by Cobra Driver, 13/04/2022 18:17

"Just a quiet word to Messrs. Wolff, Horner, et al (yes Lewis, drivers as well). You all may think that Formula 1 is a microphone unto the world. Let me assure you, that is not the case. The majority of the globe's population are far to busy trying to survive day after day. Your petty squabbles are of no consequence to anyone, except yourselves. And I could give rat's ass about celebrities prancing about the paddock, or Vegas showgirls exhibiting their attributes on the false grid, or whether Lewis wears the crown of the King of Persia under his helmet. What I, and the rest of the hard-core F1 enthusiasts are looking for is clean, honest and intense racing, executed by the best teams and drivers in the business. So people, dispense with the verbal horse puckey, grow some balls and let's go racing."

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by kenji, 13/04/2022 7:29 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 13/04/2022 19:04)

"i see nothing wrong with broadcasting 'in race ' transmissions. Some interesting insights are gleaned from hearing them and we all get to share in certain moments..both the good and the bad. It also adds levels of texture to a race. Banning them is an admission that there is a level of secrecy that should not be shared. Without them who would've known that after he was told that Verstappen had used the safety car to pit for new rubber in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton wanted to do the same but was denied that option..track position was Mercedes preferred MO. I happen to think that that issue was extremely relevant to the whole debate, but obviously I have been informed that I'm in a minority....so that doesn't count. C'est la Vie.

As for 'shrinking violets' I don't think that F1 is a place where they would last very long.. But there is a world of difference between being a 'team tiger' and a 'boorish antagonist'.I get the feeling that Niki would gruffly offer advice to 'suck it up princess and move on'. hahaha all good fun."

Rating: Positive (4)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

6. Posted by Egalitarian, 13/04/2022 5:23

"Marko, Berger, Wolff and Lauda aren't/weren't exactly shrinking violets. Should they be? F1 isn't exactly a place for that type. It does, however, make me pine for the class and grace that is Mika Hakkinen.

If people are haunted by in-race radio transmissions, how about they are not made public. That would suit me fine. For me at least, it's all just part of what seems to be WWE on four wheels.
"

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7. Posted by The Canadian, 12/04/2022 20:18 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 13/04/2022 19:04)

"Michael Masi doesn't haunt us with in-race radio transmissions like "You guys have really put me in a difficult position". Sir Lewis needs to learn to whine less, and toto should know better than to speak ill of those no longer present."

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8. Posted by mds167, 12/04/2022 18:48

"Whilst Toto may wish to call it as he sees it, and it obviously still rankles, now is not the time for comments like these. Save it for the book, Toto.
Maybe Michael Masi will have the opportunity to give his side of the story then too.
"

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9. Posted by Defiant, 12/04/2022 17:08

"I agree with Burton and Mad Matt 100%"

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10. Posted by Mad Matt, 12/04/2022 16:34

"I tend to agree with Burton. We can all see a mistake was made and that Michael didn't do what he had previously said he was obliged to do... but Toto has no business putting the boot in and adding other unverified accusations, leave Michael out of this now.

Hold the FIA to account by all means but let Michael Masi recover and get on with his life, I'm sure he's had enough stress as it is."

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11. Posted by Burton, 12/04/2022 14:06 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 13/04/2022 19:04)

"Wolff has every right to be aggrieved with Masi's shambolic actions, all the more reasons why he shouldn't have given up on the appeal.

That said, it's unbelievably classless is extreme of him to bring up unverifiable (unless all drivers now reply) second-hand "information" about driver's briefings...I guess Masi should now release a statement calling out Toto and the many F1 pies he has fingers on."

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12. Posted by kenji, 12/04/2022 13:54

"@Ed. Extremely well said, both the article and your last post. I should think that Mercedes would not be amused by 'Wolff's' latest attack on the good character of Michael Masi. Masi has shown remarkable patience throughout this whole debacle and I fear that that maybe because of a legal constraint placed upon him by the FIA. Surely such an attack on Masi, who was an FIA employee, amounts to bringing the organisation into disrepute.? He appears totally obsessed IMO and he needs to be relieved of his position sooner rather than later. It's times like these where Niki Lauda is sorely missed."

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13. Posted by Lapps, 12/04/2022 13:35

" Always thought Toto was a gentleman, but he seems to have missed the lesson on ‘never kick a man when he’s down’. Seems that taking his career wasn’t enough!"

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14. Posted by Editor, 12/04/2022 12:37

"@ JCR

Thank you for the kinds words.

In all honesty, ever since I'd seen Wolff's comments the article was building in my head... in fact it kept me awake for much of the night.

I still personally believe that Masi was acting under orders and has been the fall guy in all this.

However, Wolff's hypocrisy, especially in view of his mental health claims, is nauseating. He is deliberately seeking to inflict further pain on a man whose career has been ruined."

Rating: Positive (11)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

15. Posted by jcr, 12/04/2022 12:33

"Sorry-
Sir Alex out to lunch with the referee"

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