Fernando Alonso claims there was ‘NOTHING wrong’ with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that controversially cost Lewis Hamilton the world title… and he ‘hopes’ race director Michael Masi’s sacking was not a result of his handling of events
- Fernando Alonso does not believe Michael Masi’s exit was down to the race
- The Spaniard stopped short of disagreeing with Masi’s overall departure though
- Two-time title winner had called Masi ‘too soft’ during qualifying in Abu Dhabi
- Alonso was speaking at the launch of his team Alpine’s new car for 2022
Fernando Alonso has admitted he hopes the recent sacking of F1 race director Michael Masi was not down to his handling of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December.
Masi was dismissed from his role last week following an FIA inquiry into the season finale that saw Lewis Hamilton controversially beaten on the final lap by Max Verstappen.
Masi was heavily criticised for his handling of the safety car in the final laps of the season finale in December at the Yas Marina circuit, with his calls creating a scenario that heavily favoured Verstappen to overtake his rival and claim the world title in the most dramatic fashion.
Fernando Alonso believes there was nothing wrong with the events at the Abu Dhabi GP
Masi’s calls surrounding the safety car at Yas Marina cost Lewis Hamilton the world title
Alonso endured a notorious rivalry with Hamilton during their time together as McLaren team-mates in 2007.
But the two-time world champion stopped short of disagreeing flat out over Masi’s departure and has faith that new FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has made the right call overall in dismissing the former race director.
‘I mean… the new president obviously wanted to make sure that everything was in place, as I said also a couple of times I like Mohammed, I like the approach he has’, Alonso said as quoted by The-Race.
The FIA axed race director Michael Masi last week following an inquiry into the race
Alonso is pictured with team-mate Esteban Ocon at the team’s launch in Paris on Monday
‘So if he thinks that we needed some new ideas there, it’s for the good for everyone, so I’m happy with that.
‘On the whole theme of Abu Dhabi, maybe I have a different opinion, I don’t think that there was anything wrong there.
‘I don’t think that they changed it [the race control structure] because of Abu Dhabi, or I hope not.’
Alonso was one of the most outspoken drivers over the officiating during the 2021 season, and even called Masi ‘too soft’ before the race in Abu Dhabi after the race director failed to take action on a driver from effectively blocking his qualifying lap.
Alpine will resort to a pink car for the first couple of races of the season in a bold change
But they will then revert back to more familiar colours as a default livery for the rest of the year
Alonso’s calls come after Daniel Ricciardo threw out suggestions that his former-team-mate Verstappen did not deserve the F1 title following the controversy in Abu Dhabi.
Alonso was speaking at the launch of his Alpine team’s new car for the season, which will feature a brand new look for the start of the campaign.
The team launched two brand new liveries ahead of pre-season testing in Barcelona, with a new sponsorship deal seeing them run in pink for the first two races – much like previous F1 teams Racing Point and Force India.
The team will then revert back to a more familiar metallic blue livery, with traces of pink remaining on the car as their default livery for the 2022 campaign.