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Mercedes ‘agree FIA deal to sack Michael Masi’ to avoid Lewis Hamilton taking sabbatical

Mercedes ‘agree FIA deal to sack Michael Masi’ to avoid Lewis Hamilton taking sabbatical

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MERCEDES are still furious with the FIA over the drama which ensued in the final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Mercedes had reportedly dropped their appeal over the result of the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after ‘agreeing a quid pro quo’ that would see Michael Masi and another senior ranking FIA official sacked. There is still anger and frustration from Mercedes over what happened in the season finale last month, which saw Max Verstappen pip Lewis Hamilton to the title in dramatic circumstances.

Masi was at the centre of it all with some controversial decisions which opened the door for Verstappen to overtake Hamilton on the final lap.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was incensed and marched off to his offices to lodge an appeal to the FIA.

After hours of discussions, it is claimed by BBC Sport that Mercedes decided to drop their appeal with an agreement in place which would see Masi and single-seater technical matters Nikolas Tombazis sacked ahead of the 2022 season.

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Mercedes have reportedly denied any such deal was reached and instead want “appropriate action” to be taken by the FIA.

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The FIA are still investigating what occured at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with Masi under increasing pressure.

It is claimed that several ‘senior figures’ don’t feel confident that Masi can continue as the FIA racing director.

Toto Wolff has made it clear on a number of occasions since that he wants action to be taken in the form of rules and regulations being adhered to in the future.

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And there appears to be genuine worry over Hamilton’s future in F1 with the 37-year-old yet to speak out since losing the world title to Verstappen.

Sky Sports’ Craig Slater reported earlier this week that there is a possibility Hamilton could take a year out of the sport.

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“Whether or not he will be on the grid for the first race of the season is still unclear at this point,” he said on Sky Sports News.

“What I can report today is that in terms of Lewis Hamilton coming back to Formula 1 and having the appetite to do so and getting over the disillusion, which his team boss Toto Wolff stated he had with the sport after the events of December, they believe the onus is on the FIA to deliver on the pledge they made before Christmas to investigate the happenings on that final lap.

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“They want to see something tangible from that investigation and they want to see it sooner rather than later.

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“It’s been put to me like this: ‘The longer this drags on, the longer we don’t get a result to that investigation and some findings from the FIA that the worse the Lewis Hamilton situation is’.

“That’s from a senior source close to that situation, which I think is significant.

“So while you would expect Lewis to be back, trying to win that eighth world title, as things stand, it is unclear within the team that is what he will be doing.

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“All the options might be on the table, even a sabbatical year for Lewis if he doesn’t feel ready to come back in 2022.

 

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