Max Verstappen prevails in world title shoot-out
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Formula 1 fans have taken to Twitter to call for the return of axed race director Michael Masi after his two replacements have been ruled out of the Miami Grand Prix this weekend. Sky Sports News reported both Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich have tested positive for Covid and could therefore miss the event.
Masi was removed as F1 race director in February following his poor management in the 2021 championship finale. The 44-year-old was heavily criticised for the sequence of events which ultimately led to Max Verstappen winning a maiden world title.
In an unprecedented move, Masi allowed only the lapped cars between Lewis Hamilton and Verstappen to unlap themselves as he desperately tried to get one racing lap to decide the championship. With the Dutchman on soft tyres, Hamilton was left in no mans land.
French outlet L’Equipe suggested the rumour had unsettled the F1 paddock as neither Freitas and Wittich can even travel to the United States until they test negative. However, Masi has not even been mentioned as a viable option for next weekend’s event.
In fact, a spokesperson for the FIA refused to confirm the news to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo because sharing staff’s medical information is not allowed ‘unless it is relevant to the development of an event’. This reportedly suggests the FIA are not concerned that the issue will affect the inaugural race in Florida.
Race director assistant and F1 veteran Herbie Blash and Colin Haywood are believed to be the leading potential short-term replacements. However, L’Equipe said Blash and Haywood ‘do not have FIA race director certification’ so DTM race director Scott Elkins may step up.
However, fans on social media will be disappointed by this news. Twitter user Aidan (@aidanbill98) said: ‘Return of the King,’ – and included a photo of Masi walking.
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Stewart (@InsullStewart) added: ‘Bring him home #Masi’ while Steven Waterman (@wassatt70) wrote: ‘Masi walking into F1 headquarters be like…’ along with a gif of Conor McGregor doing his classic ring walk.
The 22-race F1 2022 campaign – which is expected to return to a record 23 races in the near future once a Russian Grand Prix replacement is found – continues with the Miami Grand Prix on May 8.
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