Michael Masi

Masi: If Lewis wants to talk, my door is open

Michael Masi

FIA race director Michael Masi has offered to discuss Lewis Hamilton’s concerns after the six-time Formula 1 champ blasted the officiating in Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix.

Given two separate five-second time penalties by the stewards for illegal practice starts on his pre-race reconnaissance lap, pole-sitter Hamilton lost his lead and could only recover to third by the race’s finish.

Additionally, the Briton was handed two penalty points for his transgressions, although these were later rescinded after a review by Masi.

Nevertheless, Hamilton was clearly upset with the decision to penalise him in the first place, alleging the FIA was “trying to stop” him in his march towards a seventh driver’s title.

Asked about Hamilton’s issues, Masi said he would be happy to try and resolve them in person.

“From my perspective it’s very simple that if Lewis wants to raise something, as I have said to him before, and said to all the drivers, numerous times the door is always open, and I’m more than happy to discuss anything.

“But I think from an FIA perspective, we are there as a sporting regulator, to administer the regulations.

“We have the stewards as an independent judiciary to adjudicate those, and therefore there was an infringement and it doesn’t matter if it was Lewis Hamilton or any other one of the 19 drivers.

“If a breach has occurred of the regulations, they will consider it on its merits, adjudicate it equitably and fairly in the circumstances taking all the key elements into account.”

As to the use of designated practice start areas, the Australian argued it was a regular practice that Hamilton was familiar with.

“The practice start location is obviously very circuit specific, and detailed in the event notes,” he explained.

“So at every other event Lewis along with all the other drivers has complied with the requirements of where they perform a practice start in accordance with the race director instructions.

“I would say that the reason why we determine where the practice start location is for the safety of all drivers. Everybody is aware of what is actually happening. So we determine its location for a deliberate reason.

“Generally, we actually don’t paint a box, we just specify the location and have done even before my time, from my understanding. It’s very much a circuit specific element of where it is. I think today was just a simple error from that perspective.”