The FIA’s Formula 1 race director Michael Masi is “doing a sensational job” in his first year in the role, according to McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl.
Masi was brought into the role at late notice following the sudden death of former race director Charlie Whiting on the eve of the Australian Grand Prix, and will remain in place for the rest of this season at least.
During the Italian Grand Prix, eventual race-winner Charles Leclerc was warned for his defensive driving via the black and white flag and penalties were handed out to Sebastian Vettel, Lance Stroll and Alexander Albon, but while Lewis Hamilton complained about a lack of consistency, Seidl has been impressed by how the Australian has performed in his role so far.
“I think they’re doing a great job,” Seidl said. “The race director, considering he’s new in this job, he’s doing a sensational job to be honest. Also the way how he communicates with the team and is open to input, Michael is very, very good.
“Also in the decisions the stewards have done, consistency is important. I think consistency was there. There will always be decisions that are controversial but to be honest I don’t see anything to complain about here really.
“I think (the black and white flag) is a good idea. It’s a follow-up of the open discussion that happened between the race director, the teams and the FIA. I think also the way it was handled was good in my opinion.”
One of the major talking points from the last race centered around the end of Q3, where drivers drove so slowly on their out-laps for their final runs – all eager to not be the lead car and give up a tow – that the majority ran out of time to start a lap. Seidl is confident the teams can agree on a solution to prevent a repeat in future, and says Masi took steps ahead of the session to avoid the situation occurring in the first place.
“I think there is a lot of common sense in the discussions we’re having between the teams. No one was happy with what happened, I think it should be possible to find a fair solution.
“Introduced just before qualifying, there was an update from the race director that you have to stay above the Safety Car times. It was just not enough I would say. I was surprised when the whole discussion went into the direction that Carlos (Sainz) was the main guy to be blamed but I would say looking back all the nine guys on track have been involved somehow, some more, some less, but in the end I think the outcome was OK.
“It was good there was not a penalty for everyone as it was somehow building up since the beginning of the year. Let’s find some discussions and guidelines, hopefully we can avoid it in the future.”