After the decision that changed the grid for Sunday’s race in Qatar, the Red Bull team was left definitely not happy. Max Verstappen was summoned to the stewards (Bottas was as well) and handed a penalty for speeding under double waved yellows, that were caused in the last stage of qualifying by Pierre Gasly and his broken front wing (that also punctured his tyre and left a lot of debris on track). Red Bull’s major figures were quick to criticise the decision, with the team principal Christian Horner criticising a “rogue marshal”, and saying that there “needs to be some grown-up decisions made by grown-ups” as well as Helmut Marko, Red Bull motorsport advisor accusing FIA of incompetence.
Horner’s comments led him to be summoned to the stewards as well and getting an official warning, but Masi said on Sunday that he was not aware of Marko’s remarks. FIA has said that the handling of the incidence was in accordance to their requirements, defending the marshals. Eventually, Horner “offered to apologise to the marshal concerned and to explain to the media that he meant no offence” as well as participate in FIA International Stewards Programme that will take place in February 2022.
Masi was asked later about the entire situation, and he explained: “I think you should not attack any person, particularly when we have thousands of volunteer marshals around the world, that give up a huge amount of time globally, without them this sport that everyone has very close to their heart [couldn’t happen].
“All of them give up a huge amount of time. Without them, it won’t happen. That’s the part that a lot of people miss.
“And I will defend every volunteer official and every official at every racetrack around the world, that [such criticism] is not accepted.
“With all yellow flags that are displayed from trackside, they’re in the hands of the officials’ control as they are at every venue anywhere,” said Masi.
“And if they deem that it’s a single or a double, it’s up to those officials to determine that. And they judge what they see before them.”
There was a little bit of confusion regarding the yellow flags and how everything was communicated, starting with single-waved yellows and then double-waved yellows that were then communicated via the trackside light panels. It was all because of the situation unravelling on the track. As Masi has said: “What the locals did, they reacted to the situation before them, and that’s plain and simple.
“If you have a look at what was there and what was happening and with everything with Pierre’s car, they acted upon instinct for what was before them.”
“They acted in the best interest of keeping everyone safe on track. And I don’t think anyone should be criticised for acting upon their instincts.”