Michael Masi has received some much-needed backing as he continues to come under fire for his actions at the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The FIA race director is currently waiting on the conclusion of an investigation into the events of the Yas Marina, with the Australian in serious danger of being removed from his position ahead of the new campaign.
Masi, 44, came in for severe criticism for the way in which he handled the safety car procedure in the latter stages of the race, appearing to alter his instructions to drivers in order to ensure one final lap of racing.
His actions ultimately gifted Max Verstappen the chance to overtake Lewis Hamilton on the final lap and be crowned F1 champion, leading to widespread accusations that he deliberately contrived a dramatic finish.
After the Grand Prix, Mercedes immediately launched two protests which were subsequently dismissed, and despite then serving notice of intent to appeal, dropped that course of action four days later.
They only did so, however, after the FIA agreed to hold a full-scale enquiry into what happened, with the Silver Arrows reportedly demanding the removal of Masi as part of the process.
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Ricciardo mirrored the opinions of his teammate, arguing that Masi should be able to decide upon his own fate.
“If Michael wants to stay then he should stay. I don’t think one event should be the picture of everything,” he said.
He also argued his compatriot has to deal with far greater scrutiny than his predecessors did, not to mention having team bosses in his ear at races.
“We’re all assigned roles, that person’s there for a reason, let them do it,” added Ricciardo.