Ross Brawn defended Michael Masi from the backlash he received after the Saudi Arabian GP.
Masi came under immense fire and accusations for the controversies at the race in Jeddah, and his inability to deal with them. Most of the issues stemmed from the title contenders in Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, with the pair doing everything they could to bother the stewards.
Verstappen was punished twice, taking a ten-second penalty in total. Of particular notoriety was the radio exchange between Masi and Red Bull, which was slammed by fans and likened to a broker negotiation instead of objective rule enforcing.
However, Brawn defended Masi from backlash, saying that he did a good job at handling what was a very chaotic Sunday.
“I’d like to compliment the FIA and race director Michael Masi in handling well what was an extremely difficult race,” he said, as quoted by Race Fans.
“I know some people feel some of the decisions were controversial, but I don’t.
“The situation you had with Max and Lewis at the restart, when Michael recommended that Max drop behind Esteban (Ocon) and Lewis, was handled well as the alternative was to report him to the stewards and that could have ended up with a time penalty.
“I think Michael dealt with it pragmatically. This type of discussion goes on several times during a race. If a driver gets by someone or defends unfairly, the race director will tell the team to correct the position,” Brawn continued.
“Some people seem to think Michael was doing a deal. He wasn’t doing a deal. It was simple: you accept the decision of the race director, with a known outcome, or it gets passed to the stewards to handle it.
“It was a tricky race and a tricky weekend. We’ve had a lot of challenges here, and I think everyone – the FIA, F1 and the teams – has pulled together to make this event work and it’s been a huge success,” he concluded.