McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, have expressed their support for FIA race director Michael Masi and believe he should continue in his position.

McLaren drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris have come out in favor of under-fire Formula 1 race director Michael Masi, despite the fact that the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has remained controversial for more than two months.

Masi has been criticised for his controversial actions in F1’s season finale title decider in Abu Dhabi last December, when the Australian breached the rules and regulations governing safety car periods in order to give fans a one-lap duel between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

After Nicholas Latifi’s late-race crash, Masi changed the safety car procedure, which moved only the lapped cars between race leader Lewis Hamilton and second-placed challenger Max Verstappen out of the path.

However, both Norris and Ricciardo agree that the FIA stewards failed to consistently apply the penalties and sanctions, but they believe F1’s race director should not be judged based on one mistake, regardless of whether the decision was fair or not.

Norris was one of the five drivers that were initially placed between Hamilton and Verstappen and were able to pass the race leader, while Ricciardo was farther behind among those who were not allowed to unlap themselves.

During McLaren’s announcement of the team’s 2022 season on Friday in Woking, Norris addressed the events in Abu Dhabi, saying: “when something is inconsistent like that weekend is when people get annoyed and frustrated.”

“I think it’s still good that we have different stewards for different weekends because you don’t want that bias going in with anyone. So I think a lot, like 95% or 99% of things are good, we just want that consistency.”

“You see us make mistakes as drivers, it’s easy for people to see that and it’s the same with them, right? It’s human to make mistakes.”

“And if that was just something that happened in such a quick time then that’s the way it is.”

“I support Michael and I think a lot of other things he did were great last season or the past few seasons we’ve been working with him.”

“A lot of things are good. It’s just ironing out these small things which can have a big impact.”

“We have confidence that things are going in a good direction. And they are realising areas where they can improve or just make less mistakes, or whatever. From that side I have confidence.”

Ricciardo agreed with his teammate and argued that Masi should keep his job as race director in the future.

“Potentially Michael needs a bit more support and especially now with a growing calendar,” Ricciardo said during the launch of the McLaren MCL36.

“We’re also human and you go through fatigue and Michael is not just rocking up on a Sunday, being part of the race and then going back home. He’s going to every track before, checking out also for other things whether it’s safety or whatever. So his schedule is nuts.”

“If Michael wants to stay then he should stay,” Ricciardo commented. “I don’t think one event should be the picture of everything.

“I went home for Christmas and inevitably friends, family were like ‘oh that last race, what do you think?’

“So it was certainly mixed, I would say a little bit more were like not sure how I felt about that’ but then others were like ‘well that was pretty entertaining last lap, title gets decided.”

“I had a front row seat for some reason, so I was like ‘is this really happening? this is nuts’.

“It was a moment in time for sure and not everyone is going to appreciate that moment in time. But I think lovers of the sport are still going to be lovers of the sport.”

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