FIA blames 'human error' on 2021 Abu Dhabi GP controversy

GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP / Getty

The Federation Internationale de l'Automobiles concluded through an investigation that "human error" by then-race director Michael Masi led to the controversial finish during the last race of the 2021 Formula 1 season at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the governing body announced Saturday.

The FIA report found that Masi "called the safety car back into the pit lane without it having completed an additional lap as required by the Formula 1 sporting regulations."

Max Verstappen won the F1 title in December after a contentious call by Masi forced a thrilling finish between the Red Bull star and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton on the final lap.

Masi initially said lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen wouldn't be allowed to unlap themselves after a safety car was needed due to a crash by Nicholas Latifi. Masi changed his mind following radio complaints from Red Bull and positioned Verstappen right behind Hamilton, who'd established a wide gap on his rival before the crash occurred. Verstappen, who had fresh tires, ended up beating Hamilton.

FIA said Masi, who has since been removed from his position, acted in "good faith" but felt pressured based on where the race was at and from radio comments from other teams.

Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich replaced Masi for the 2022 season. The change was part of a restructuring that also prohibits radio communication between the teams and race director.

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FIA blames 'human error' on 2021 Abu Dhabi GP controversy
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