Ex-F1 race director Masi says he received death threats after controversial call in Abu Dhabi – National

Former Formula One racing director Michael Masi described the abuse he received on social media following last season’s controversial call at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ending the season.

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Hamilton led comfortably until a collision by Nicholas Latifi sent the car safely out with five laps remaining. Verstappen stopped under the yellow flag to buy newer tires, and Masi rejected his decision and let the five drivers wriggle between Verstappen and Hamilton past the yellow safety car. But not all eight, which will take longer.

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The FIA ​​regulator concluded Masi had committed “human error” but acted in good faith. Masi was replaced in his role and then left the FIA ​​entirely three weeks ago to return to Australia.

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In an interview with Australia’s NewsCorp, the 44-year-old Australian recalled feeling like “the most hated man in the world” when he revealed the level of hostility he endured online over hundreds of years. malicious messages.

“They were shocked. Racist, abusive, vile, they call me anyway under the sun. And there were death threats. People say they’re going to go after me and my family,” Masi said in the interview. “And they kept coming. Not only on my Facebook but also on my LinkedIn, which is supposed to be a professional platform for business. It’s the same kind of abuse. “

Masi gave an interview to the Sunday Telegraph with screenshots of some of the messages, saying he was relieved that there weren’t more social media platforms where people could attack him.

“Thankfully, I don’t have an Instagram account. Or Twitter, I don’t have any of those,” Masi said. “However, when I was in school, I had Facebook, which I used to keep in touch with family and friends. I opened my messages that night to check with them. I didn’t know I could get them from people I didn’t know. But I was wrong. I was faced with hundreds of messages.”

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At first Masi tried to empty them all.

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“I just thought I was going to ignore it and get on with it because I knew it could take me to a very dark place. I tried to cut the mentality and I thought I could do it,” he said. “I mostly keep it all to myself… the FIA ​​knows but I think I put it all down on everyone, including them.”

But the damage to Masi’s mental health has been substantial.

“I remember walking down the street in London a day or two later. I thought I was fine until I started looking over my shoulder,” he said. “I looked at people and wondered if they would catch me.”

He fought a private inner battle as he dealt with abuse his own way.

“I only spoke to my close family – but only briefly. I also have anorexia,” he said. “It affects physically but it affects more mentally. I just want to be in a bubble. I just wanted to be alone, it was very difficult.”

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Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, told The Associated Press in a recent interview that Masi had been treated horribly and the criticism was extremely unfair.

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“For me that equates to bullying. He’s been blown dry by a couple of teams, and I think that’s totally not true,” Horner told the AP. “It is unacceptable, he is receiving threats against his family, etc.”

Masi regrets not seeking professional help.

“I probably should have,” he said. “I should have gone and talked to someone in a professional sense. But having said that, I have some great people around me who can see it and are checking in on a daily basis. I’m so lucky to have that support network. “

Masi could not talk about his decision because of the non-disclosure agreement with the FIA.

“The whole experience has made me a much stronger person,” he said. “I just had the longest break of my professional career and I used that time to reconnect with family and friends. I have also done all that you can skip while you are in the process of milling. “

© 2022 Canadian Press

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