Marko defends Abu Dhabi restart: ‘Masi should be credited for his decision’


Michael Masi had every right to restart the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on the final lap. That is what Helmut Marko, Red Bull Racing’s chief adviser, says on the Austrian television program Sport und Talk. According to him, it is commendable that the race did not end under the safety car.

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Race director Michael Masi has had a hard time in the aftermath of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. After Latifi ended up in the wall in the final phase of the race, resulting in a safety car, he was faced with an important choice: restart the race so as not to finish behind the safety car, or let the safety car continue? He chose the former, which ultimately led to Max Verstappen’s world championship due to Red Bull Racing’s strategic advantage.


That decision should be commended, says Marko. “Masi should be credited for making the race finish under race conditions. In Indycar or Nascar there is even a rule that they can add a lap so that the race can finish that way. Now there were five cars in between that third one, so this last lap. It’s like a referee: he has the right to decide and if he decides that way, then it’s valid.”

Responding to circumstances

According to Marko, Verstappen’s victory is mainly due to the team’s strategic choice when the crash with Latifi occurred. “Our team acted sensationally,” praises Marko. “We immediately switched to the soft tires and yes, Hamilton didn’t have a chance. Max then asked me what I thought. I said it was clear he would win.” Marko is also looking forward to the future with Verstappen. “With these constant improvements, I’m curious about what’s to come.”

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