McLaren strongly disagrees with Formula 1 Race Director Michael Masi’s approach to yellow flag infringements after a radio complaint during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen’s crash on the pit straight brought out double-waved yellow flags for the approaching field before the race director deployed the safety car, and during that phase McLaren complained about the speed Yuki Tsunoda carried through the sector. Masi replied that he felt all drivers failed to slow enough and should all be penalized so he was collectively taking no specific action, something McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl did not understand.
“I don’t think it needs a clarification; I think it’s clear what you have to do as a driver when you go through a double yellow flag and you go through the incident and you see the car on track,” Seidl said. “And from our point of view, things were happening there which were clearly not OK. Also, putting it into context of what we got a penalty, for example (when Lando Norris didn’t pit under a red flag in qualifying).
“But that’s all we can do — we can only report it. If the race director thinks there is no investigation required because everyone is doing it — which we strongly disagree with — you need to ask Michael Masi what he’s after there.”
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Asked for clarification about the situation, Masi said he would bring the issue up with the drivers in France, when he next speaks to them all collectively.
“The reason was McLaren at that point had asked a question about cars slowing for double yellows, and as I said on the radio, I’ll have a discussion with all of the drivers at the next drivers’ meeting about etiquette, let’s call it, when double waved yellow flags are displayed,” Masi said.
Despite the disagreement, Seidl believes Masi is performing well in the race director role, having taken over from the late Charlie Whiting in 2019.
“In general we are very happy with the job Michael is doing, which is a very difficult job; but the most important thing from our side is transparency and consistency and good dialogue, which we usually have with him,” Seidl said.
“Of course, there’s situations from time to time where you disagree. That’s normal when you’re on the competitor side; he’s on the FIA side. But I guess if you look back now at the time since he took over, I think he did a great job.”