Fernando Alonso says Michael Masi did nothing wrong in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year and hopes the FIA race director was not removed due to that event.
Masi’s handling of the closing stages of the final race came in for severe criticism as he failed to correctly apply the regulations regarding safety car restarts in an attempt to ensure a clear fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen for one racing lap. After analysis from the governing body, new president Mohammed Ben Sulayem last week announced a new race control structure that doesn’t include Masi, and Alonso said he is conflicted over the reasons for it.
“I mean, it’s a new president so he obviously wanted to make sure that everything was in place,” Alonso said when asked by RACER about the recent changes. “As I’ve said a couple of times, I like Mohammed, I like the approach he has, so if he thinks that we needed some new ideas there, then it’s for the good for everyone so I’m happy with that.
“On the whole thing of Abu Dhabi, maybe I have a different opinion — I don’t think there was anything wrong there. I don’t think they changed it because of Abu Dhabi — or I hope not.”
Alonso’s stance appeared to be in conflict with that of Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon, who suggested rules weren’t followed at certain moments, adding: “If the rules can be followed the whole time and be more consistent, then I’m very pleased.”
That’s not the only FIA change that Ocon is happy with either, as he welcomed a recent move to scrap the rule that means cars reaching Q3 have to start on the tire compound they progressed from Q2 on.
“I think first of all to have the Q2 rule banned is a good thing,” he said. “I think it was already complicated for strategy for people to understand on the Saturday what it was, and to just have pure performance qualifying, I’m happy with.”