Michael Masi elucidates mental turmoil post Abu Dhabi finale debacle – “Got professional help far later than I should have”

Former F1 race director Michael Masi spent his last few months in the job under immense scrutiny.

It was his decision-making that allowed Max Verstappen to clinch his maiden world championship, while many believed that Lewis Hamilton had been robbed of the chance of winning an elusive eight title.

Michael Masi. Credit: sportskeeda.com
Michael Masi. Credit: sportskeeda.com

While Masi refused to stay relatively quiet as the controversy unfolded, the FIA soon decided that his decision was contentious enough to merit sacking.

Masi was seen at the Australian GP this weekend, and he was naturally asked about how he has spent his time since stepping away from the pinnacle of motorsport racing.

“I was a little nervous on Wednesday, when I first came in,” Masi said.

“But you have seen with your own eyes the kind reception.”

Masi is well aware that there are many fans who were left disgusted with the manner in which he conducted the 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi, and holds nothing against them.

“They have their perspective and are entitled to their view,” Masi said.

“I respect any view, and it’s not for me to comment on what they do or don’t think.

“And if I am approached to have a discussion I am open to it, and always have been.”

The FIA made Masi sign an NDA agreement when he left his role, which basically means he isn’t allowed to divulge much information at all about the matter.

However, he still has fond memories of his time as race director, but is more than happy with the shape his life has taken after things soured.

“I loved the job but you don’t realise the impact travelling so much has on you. When we last met in 2021, I literally lived on a plane,” he said.

“The joys of being able to cook a meal at home, being able to catch up with relatives are now open to me.

“My only living grandparent, Agusta, is 89 and is 10 minutes down the road. She can’t speak a word of English and she loves the fact I go to see her and have a coffee with her. Those little things. You don’t realise what they mean. Weddings, birthdays.

“When I stopped at the FIA, I told my parents, ‘Those days are done for me’. 

“I had told them after the Abu Dhabi fallout not to bother reading or watching anything. It’s not healthy. The place can be a very toxic place. 

“In many ways social media can be a great tool, but not so great in others.

“I have spent time looking after myself. It’s done me good. It’s what I needed. I spent a lot of time getting into physical shape but didn’t spend enough on the mental side for a long while.

Lewis Hamilton. Credit: cnn.com
Lewis Hamilton. Credit: cnn.com

“There were people I was speaking to privately, my then partner – she was an amazing support – and friends and family. As for professional help, I got that, but probably later than I should have done – the latter part of last year, but things had largely calmed down by then.”

Hamilton has already claimed that he will purposely ignore Masi if they bump into each other at any time in the future, let alone Melbourne.

Read more: Blood-soaked arm helps F1 spectator save fiancee from getting hit on head by metre-long debris at Australian GP

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