Sullivan: Masi “works like a dog” in F1 race director role

Indy 500 winner and longtime FIA driver steward Danny Sullivan has backed Formula 1’s under-fire race director Michael Masi, saying he should be given credit because he “works like a dog all year long”.

Sullivan: Masi “works like a dog” in F1 race director role
Listen to this article

Speaking ahead of the FIA revealing its decision over a likely restructure of how race control is run on grand prix weekends, Sullivan defended Masi and the situation he was placed in during the final moments of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“It’s a lot of pressure, because you’re trying to make the right decision and follow all the rules,” said Sullivan. “At best case on the internet, you’ve got people 51% happy and 49% pissed off with every decision!

“I do think that it’s unfair to blame Michael Masi. He made a decision based on a lot of things that go back a year or two that was, y’know, ‘let’s finish under green’ for example.

“Michael is one guy – he does track inspections, he does this, he does that. I mean the guy works like a dog all year long!

“At the end of this deal, everybody’s exhausted, you’re just trying to make the right decision.”

Danny Sullivan, FIA Steward, right

Danny Sullivan, FIA Steward, right

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Former CART champion Sullivan, who was an F1 points-scorer with Tyrrell at Monaco in 1983, has been part of the rotating driver stewards for over a decade.

Although not on duty in Abu Dhabi for the fateful finale, Sullivan explained how the decisions on the driving side are arrived at to be handed down by the race director. He also said that he’s never experienced any changes being made to the process depending on the championship situation.

“We’ve never had a discussion over where anybody is sat in the championship, what it did with points, none of that in 13 years has ever been a part of the discussion,” he said. “Now if somebody has that in the back of their mind, nobody has ever brought it out in the stewards’ room.

“We just look at the data, all the cameras, everything. This is the alleged infraction – yea or nay – and if it’s a yea, the penalties are all pretty much set. If it’s extreme, it’s this, if it’s not, it’s that.

“I’ve worked with all the chief stewards, the second stewards, and it’s always been that way. If we’re not sure, we always ask a question. And that’s been the same to Charlie Whiting [Masi's highly-respected predecessor] or Michael Masi. You make the best decision you can on the information you got.”

When asked specifically about the Abu Dhabi situation, Sullivan believes that the time constraints in such a high-pressure situation – combined with the radio messages from teams to Masi that were broadcast on TV – all contributed to the controversial outcome.

“It’s gotten a little out of hand,” said Sullivan. “Ultimately he has to make the decision and the more support you can get around him [the better] but the problem is you don’t have time to call a conference.

“When you’re trying to get an accident cleared up, get corner workers off the track and everything ready to go, it’s not like there is time for ‘hey guys, lets huddle up here’. And then you’ve got this radio situation [with the teams’ messages to race control being broadcast], that’s wrong in my opinion.

“Michael’s a good guy, Charlie really believed in him. He worked with Charlie for years, he learned from the best. And Charlie had so much knowledge, he developed the whole deal, growing up as an F1 mechanic and going through the full thing, so replacing that kind of background is hard to find.”

Read Also:
shares
comments

Related video

F1 2022 car run highlights visibility concerns, say Williams duo
Previous article

F1 2022 car run highlights visibility concerns, say Williams duo

Next article

Insider’s guide: What happens in an F1 garage?

Insider’s guide: What happens in an F1 garage?
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Prime

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2022 Formula 1 season came to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit, where the battle for second in the standings was decided, the wins in a season record extended and a retiring four-time world champion bowed out on a high. Here's how we rated the drivers

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022