The profession of the referee, as we know, often attracts criticism and tends not to recognize merits even when due and deserved. Unfortunately, a classic dynamics of every sport, even the motorsport ones. Formula 1 demonstrated this extensively in 2021, with Michael Masi that from Spa-Francorchamps onwards went into total confusion just when a firm pulse was needed in the battle between Mercedes and Red Bull.
His work has attracted a lot of criticism, including from former Formula 1 drivers. Among them, Stefan Johansson he has never been kind to the Australian. The Swede, in an interview published on his official website, increased the dose by commenting on the news of the replacement of Masi with the duo Niels Wittich-Eduardo Freitas: “I’m glad the FIA did it. There seems to be mixed feelings in the F1 paddock regarding the replacement, but I have the feeling that this is due to the personal relationship some people had with Masi and not a serene assessment of his performance.“.
“That of the FIA was a firm reaction, I think it was the right thing to do. President Mohammed Ben Sulayem he gave a strong signal, he is not afraid to make difficult decisions if needed“, The Swede continued. “Also, I have done a lot of competitions with Freitas and he is very good: I can’t remember any controversy about any of his decisions. It is very clear in the driver briefings, as a driver you have a very clear understanding of what you can and cannot do before the races start. It does his job and I think it’s a great choice. Hopefully these decisions will change a lot of things in the way race direction works. Maybe some leads will change too. For example I can’t believe how to Jeddah have been allowed to host a Formula 1 race, with those sky-high speeds and all the blind corners“.
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