Masi received ‘death threats’ for months after Abu Dhabi RaceFans

FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi has revealed he received death threats in the months following his controversial decision that tipped last year’s world championship result to Abu Dhabi.

The FIA ​​confirmed earlier this month that Masi had left the organization. He was replaced as race director after it was discovered he had made a “mistake” in his decision to stage a last-lap race restart at Yas Marina.

Masi’s decision to only allow some of the drivers to self-discard broke FIA ​​rules and presented Max Verstappen with an unexpected opportunity to overtake Lewis Hamilton to win the race and clinch the world championship. In an interview for Australia’s Daily Telegraph, which says Masi has signed a nondisclosure agreement with the FIA ​​that bars him from discussing the decision, he described the abuse he suffered as a result of the controversy. .

He said he received “hundreds” of messages on social media immediately after the race, and many more in the months that followed, some of which included death threats and racial slurs.

“Fortunately, I don’t have an Instagram or Twitter account,” Masi said. “I don’t have any of that.

“Being old school, I do have Facebook though, which I used to keep in touch with my family and friends. I opened my messages that night to check with them. I had no idea I could receive them from people I didn’t know. But I was wrong. I was confronted with hundreds of messages. I wouldn’t say thousands but definitely hundreds.

“And they were shocking. Racist, abusive, vile, they called me every name under the sun. And there were death threats. People said they were going to come after me and my family.

“And they kept coming. Not just on my Facebook, but also on my LinkedIn, which is supposed to be a professional platform for businesses. It was the same type of abuse.

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Masi said he “thought I was going to ignore it and move on because I knew it might take me to a very dark place” at first. “I tried to cut myself mentally, and I thought I could.”

Report: FIA publishes Abu Dhabi findings, confirms Masi made mistakes but says result will stand

“I mostly kept everything to myself,” he added. “I’ve spoken to a few people about it, but not many. I didn’t want to worry my family and friends. I didn’t want them to worry too. The FIA ​​knew that, but I think I played it all down for everyone, including them.

The barrage of abuse caused Masi to fear for his personal safety. “Walking down the street in London a day or two later I thought I was fine until I started looking over my shoulder. I was watching people wondering if they were going to catch me .

He described the physical and mental effect the abuse had on him. “I didn’t want to talk to anyone, not even my family and friends,” Masi said. “I only spoke to my immediate family – but very briefly.

“I also lost my appetite. I’ve heard some people become binge eaters during times like this, but I wasn’t eating much. It had a physical impact, but it was more mental.

Although he “didn’t speak to a professional” about what he was going through, Masi said “in hindsight, I probably should have. I should have gone to talk to someone in a professional sense.

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(L to R), Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022
Analysis: The omission in the FIA ​​report on Abu Dhabi that could create problems for the future

“But saying that, I had amazing people around me who could see it and checking in daily. I was very lucky to have this support network.

Returning to his native Australia after his departure from the FIA, Masi is now contemplating his next career move.

“All of this experience has made me a much stronger person,” he said. “I have a number of exciting options for the future. I am considering a number of different projects, both domestic and global. My intention is to base myself out of Australia and use all the skills that I have gained in what has been an incredible journey so far and for which I am extremely proud and grateful.

Yesterday F1 launched a new campaign, ‘Drive it Out’, aimed at tackling abusive behavior and messaging online and at races.

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