Sebastian Vettel has leapt to the defence of FIA race director Michael Masi, with the Australian coming under fire for his actions at the 2021 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Masi's decision to allow five cars to unlap themselves and to re-start the race on the final lap cost Lewis Hamilton the Drivers' championship, and Mercedes have called for the race director to be replaced.

The FIA are making an enquiry into the events that transpired on Dec. 12, and at the moment it does seem like Masi could be relieved of his duties as the race director. Mercedes have called for action, with the team even suggesting that Hamilton's future in Formula 1 depended on the outcome of the enquiry.

Vettel, however, feels that focusing only on Masi's actions is wrong, as he was doing the best he can under pressure from both Mercedes and Red Bull Racing. He feels the FIA needs to clarify the rules to ensure such a situation does not arise again in the future.

Lewis Hamilton
Max Verstappen won an epic season-long battle with reigning champion Lewis Hamilton ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP

"Absolutely wrong," Vettel, who was speaking during the launch of the AMR 22, told Sky Sports News' Craig Slater. "It's [shameful] that it's all focused on one man."

"He probably had a very, very difficult position on that day and we probably should focus on making the rules better and more clear, so it's better for everyone," he added. "I think it's completely wrong. I don't understand why there's been so much focus on him. I think he was trying to do the best job he could."

The Aston Martin Racing driver also hoped that Masi will remain in his position, as the German feels the race director has done a good job when you look at the bigger picture. Moreover, he feels Masi was thrust into the job without prior notice owing to former race director Charlie Whiting's sudden demise three days before the start of the 2019 season.

"Obviously, it is not the easiest to be in the shoes of the referee, or Michael's shoes, but he has done a great job, particularly after filling in for [former race director] Charlie Whiting who died so suddenly," Vettel said.

"Michael has been very focused and determined to do a good job. I don't know what is in store for his future but I hope he sticks around because overall he has done a very good job."

Max Verstappen
Lewis Hamilton believes Max Verstappen is likely to increase his 12-point lead in the next two F1 races Zak Mauger/POOL