(GMM) Alex Wurz has backed Formula 1’s under-fire race director Michael Masi.
Australian Masi, having taken over from Charlie Whiting following the F1 veteran’s sudden death in 2019, has been the subject of criticism throughout the ultra-intense 2021 world championship.
“Being in the footsteps of Charlie Whiting was difficult enough,” Wurz, a former F1 driver who is now a motorsport consultant and GPDA chairman, told Speed Week.
Austrian Wurz reportedly travelled to Abu Dhabi with Toto Wolff, who is so upset by Masi’s last-lap calls at the 2021 finale that he is still yet to drop an appeal against the outcome.
But Wurz himself is more understanding of the “very difficult position” Masi has been in this year.
“The way the season came to a head was also so difficult,” he said.
“The FIA is also in this process of openness and transparency, but I see a very fine line there. If I were them, I would backtrack a bit.
“For these insights into the business between the team bosses and the race management, I would do what Charlie did and not broadcast it,” added Wurz.
“It’s not much different than it used to be, but the situation has often been precarious this year.”
Wurz said Masi actually “didn’t do anything wrong” in Abu Dhabi.
“Not with the sporting regulations, not with any contradictions. But there are situations and paragraphs that can be interpreted one way or another,” the 47-year-old said.
“That is what resulted in these ambiguous situations. But that has always existed in sport, where referees, who are human, make decisions in fractions of a second.
“Overall, it was an extremely difficult situation for a race director with the pressure of social media and mass media, but I see Michael’s performance as extremely solid. He knows the sporting regulations very well.”