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Lewis Hamilton ‘astonished’ after FIA president hints controversial race director Michael Masi could return to F1

LEWIS HAMILTON was reportedly left “astonished” after it emerged controversial former race director Michael Masi could return to Formula One.

Masi, 44, was at the centre of a storm following last season’s dramatic finale in Abu Dhabi which saw Max Verstappen pip Hamilton to the drivers’ championship.

Hamilton lost the title last year following Masi’s controversial decisions in Abu Dhabi

Masi could return to F1 in some capacity during the 2022 season

He was subsequently sacked from the role, but has remained on the FIA’s payroll.

And last week FIA chief Mohammed ben Sulayem hinted the Australian could return to the sport in some capacity.

He said: “I didn’t get rid of Michael. He had a personal overload (of work) – safety delegate as well as race director.

“He made a mistake. It is not as if we said it is the end of Masi with the FIA.”

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He then added: “I don’t know Michael very well. The decision (to sack him as race director) was made by the World Council. It was human error on Michael’s part.

“I spoke to him two days ago. I have no personal issue (with him). I don’t hate anyone.

“Michael is there and we might use him. I didn’t say we were getting rid of him.

“I said we might use him. He may be in a good place to use. We are open to everything.

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“Our race structure was wrong organisationally. And though we have brought in two new race directors, I wouldn’t say we have got it all right yet. We need to clean the stables.

“This lack of people in the FIA needs to be addressed. I would like to see a minimum of three race directors, ideally by the beginning of next year.”

And now The Mail are reporting that Hamilton and his advisors were left “astonished” by the news.

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The report also states that Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was furious following Sulayem’s comments.

Their anger last season stemmed from Masi’s decision to allow several cars to unlap themselves on the penultimate lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

This put Verstappen – who was on fresh tyres – right behind Hamilton with just over one lap remaining.

And the Dutchman passed the seven-time champion to take the win and the title.

Despite the controversial comments about Masi potentially returning, it is believed that Ben Sulayem “does not want a fight” and is simply hoping to “restore the FIA to its rightful position”.

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