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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Joshua Lees

Toto Wolff slammed for 'unacceptable' behaviour towards Michael Masi during title finale

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has been criticised for his 'unacceptable' behaviour towards FIA director Michael Masi at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix by Sky Sports F1 pundit Martin Brundle.

Throughout the 2021 season both Wolff and his Red Bull rival Christian Horner were constantly heard sending over demands to race director Masi.

No more so than at the campaign finale in Abu Dhabi last month, where Red Bull's Max Verstappen controversially prevailed ahead of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton to claim the world title on the final lap of the season.

As a result the Dutchman, whose triumph has been deemed 'unfair' by Damon Hill, was able to take advantage of a contentious safety car call by Masi, to catch up with the once comfortable Hamilton, and pip him to the title thanks to his fresh tyres.

Toto Wolff was fuming after Lewis Hamilton missed out on the title (Getty Images)

Despite the controversy though, Brundle believes Wolff's continued complaints over the radio were out of place, and were seemingly done in an attempt to wrongly influence the race official.

When asked on Sky Sports' Abu Dhabi: One Month On show whether teams lobbying the FIA should be cut out, Brundle emphatically replied: "One hundred percent."

The former driver added: "In the first Safety Car incident when [Antonio] Giovinazzi's Alfa Romeo broke down some way from a service road.

"We had Toto on the radio to Masi saying 'Hey Michael, no safety car', trying to influence a safety decision.

"[It's] completely unacceptable and Toto knows that. We can't have that."

The Sky pundit then went on to add that he believes the sport should adopt the style shown by former race director Charlie Whiting, and his assistant Herbie Blash.

Do you think Wolff's comments to Masi were out of order? Let us know in the comments section.

Martin Brundle slammed Toto Wolff for his actions at the Abu Dhabi GP (Dan Istitene/Getty Images for Tata Communications)

He continued: "What used to happen in the Herbie [Blash, former deputy race director] and Charlie days is they would get on the radio to Charlie and Herbie would go 'He [Whiting] is busy at the moment. He'll get back to you'.

"Of course, he didn't because Charlie was busy sorting out the mess that was on track and working to understand when the race could be restarted."

Following the controversies in Abu Dhabi, Mercedes submitted two appeals against the final finish of the race, due to their furi with how the final moments played out.

However, Wolff and his team dropped their later formal appeal, on the basis that the FIA produce a thorough investigation into the controversy that unfolded in Abu Dhabi.

Mercedes and Hamilton also reportedly want to see Masi gone and former race driver Johnny Herbert insists the Australian cannot continue in his FIA race director role as he 'has done too much damage'.

Michael Masi's future as F1's race director is up in the air (James Moy Photography/PA Images)

Brundle, though, believes relieving Masi of his duties is not the correct solution, and instead believes the Australian should have a team built around him to officiate races in 2022.

He commented: "This is way too big of a job for one person to handle this in a 23-race season, it's only going to grow.

"Masi, if he stays, needs a lot of support around him and I suspect that is what they're looking at at the moment."

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