McLaren pair supportive of Masi


McLaren drivers, Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris - seen here modelling for the Spring issue of the Freeman's catalogue - have both voiced their support for under-fire race director, Michael Masi, while citing the increased pressure on officials due to the sport's growth.

The Australian has rarely been out of the headlines since those final minutes of last season's finale, though, like Lewis Hamilton, he has maintained a strict radio silence in that time.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of 'his' decision to ignore the usual protocols and allow only the cars separating the title protagonists to un-lap themselves, the fall-out had divided the sport, its fans and the media.

Days after the Aston Martin pair, Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll, expressed differing opinions on Masi's actions, Ricciardo and Stroll have given the Australian their support.

"It's kind of a bit like a referee, you can't win," said Ricciardo, according to ESPN. "You're always going to have someone against you, it's a little bit like that.

"I've never sat through race control during a race so I don't know how much is going on," he added. "But I guess in my head, trying to understand it all, some support is probably a bit of a simple solution to try and help out."

Indeed, it was only when Ricciardo was talking to his countryman last year that he came to fully appreciate his workload.

"He was telling me his schedule, where he's been and where he's going, and the amount of traveling he's doing to venues before we get there," said the McLaren star.

"Back and forth, checking this and that. His schedule is nuts," he added. "That in itself, you've then got fatigue and everything else. Making big decisions is already quite tricky and complex. So probably some assistance is step one for that."

Other than the obvious demands of the job, Ricciardo believes that the sport's growth courtesy of the likes of Drive to Survive has put F1 under the magnifying glass and thereby increased the pressure on Masi and his fellow officials accordingly.

"I feel there is too much pressure on them, to be honest," he said, according to Motorsport Week. "I think the sport in general has a lot more exposure now, which is great in some elements but it also puts others under pressure who probably aren't asking for that pressure or used to it.

"It's hard to look back in time and think when the race director or stewards were so much in the media," he added, "it's kind of quite unique and unknown territory."

Indeed, reflecting on the sheer number of controversial incidents and the subsequent complaints over a lack of consistency in the decision making, Ricciardo believes a "ripple" effect was created.

"I think that's where there was a ripple in the situation and I think that highlighted some of the stuff maybe too much and it then put pressure on the next situation more," he said.

"It already felt intense and I feel everyone should have probably taken a step back," he added. "We are obviously all assigned roles and that person is there for a reason, just let them do it.

"At times there was a lot of interference and I think that made it more messy than it should have been. So less interference in general and let people get on with it probably with less pressure and then see what the outcome is."

"He's been great for a lot of things," said teammate Norris of Masi. "He got thrown in three years ago and of course, from my point of view, he's done a better job every season.

"It's probably the first time things have not gone to plan. We always expect a lot as drivers as we always want things to be perfect so when they're not, we're gonna complain and do on.

"He's a nice guy, he does what he can. It would be a shame to see him go but I'm sure he's gonna stick around."

Asked about the outcome as Yas Marina, Norris replied: "Both deserved to win. Both did an extremely good job. I think Max was a very worthy winner. On the day, Lewis did initially the better job, but then how things turned out."

Check out our MCL36 reveal gallery, here.

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 12/02/2022
Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2023. All rights reserved.