'I was the most hated man in the world' – Axed F1 boss Masi reveals DEATH threats and abuse after title controversy | The Sun

AXED F1 race director Michael Masi revealed he had received online death threats after the controversy last year that cost Lewis Hamilton an eighth world title.

The Australian changed the safety car re-start procedure at the end of the December's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The controversial decision handed the crown to Red Bull's Max Verstappen, denying Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton a record eighth title in the process.

"There were some dark days," Masi told Australia's News Corp on Sunday.

"And absolutely, I felt like I was the most hated man in the world. I got death threats.

"People saying, they were going to come after me and my family."

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His call allowed Red Bull's Max Verstappen to take advantage of his fresh tyres to pip Mercedes legend Lewis Hamilton to glory on the last lap of the last race of the campaign.

The Red Bull ace, 24, passed the Mercedes driver in dramatic fashion at the death to deny the British icon a record eighth Formula One world title.

It prompted an investigation which found Masi – in his then-role as race director – to have failed to follow the rules.

It also resulted in the Aussie being axed as F1's race director in February.

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A subsequent report into the Abu Dhabi race in March found that Masi had made a "human error" but acted in "good faith".

Masi, who left governing body the FIA in March, was the subject of a torrent of abuse on social media.

"They were shocking," Masi said of messages he received on Facebook. "Racist, abusive, vile, they called me every name under the sun.

"And they kept on coming. Not just on my Facebook but also on my LinkedIn, which is supposed to be a professional platform for business. It was the same type of abuse."

The 44-year-old has since returned to Australia and did not seek professional help in the aftermath of the incident.

"I didn't want to talk to anyone," he said.

"Not even family and friends. I only talked to my close family but very briefly.

"It did have a physical impact, but it was more mental. I just wanted to be in a bubble. I had no desire to talk to them. I just wanted to be alone, which was very challenging.

"The whole experience has made me a much stronger person," he added.

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