Christian Horner has questioned the FIA’s decision to remove race director Michael Masi after the 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi.
The final race of the season was filled with drama, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen ultimately winning the title ahead of Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.
After the event, there were rumours around Masi’s role in the final race, and what it could mean for his future as a review into how the race played out was announced.
Ultimately Masi was removed from his role as the race director ahead of the 2022 season, Masi has since been offered a new role in the FIA.
Race control will also be restructured ahead of the new season.
Horner spoke to BBC Sport about Masi and the way he was removed from his role.
“Was it right to fire him based on pressure that was placed on him from a rival team? That for me was wrong,” Horner said.
“That’s tantamount to bullying. It’s passively aggressive.”
“You can’t just place the blame on Michael. It’s unfair to do that.”
After the final round of the championship Masi received abuse on social media.
Horner has joined the list of people that disagree with the outcome of the review, also voicing his opinion that there should be concern for Masi and his mental health.
“We were on the receiving end of many of Michael’s errors,” Horner said. “But he is in a high-pressure role in a high-pressure sport.
“But what it is unforgivable is the trolling, the abuse online, the death threats that he and his family had. That absolutely cannot be condoned in any way.
“That has nothing to do with the sport. It’s just out-and-out bullying and I would not accept that in any way within our organisation.
“That’s why I spoke up for Michael because I felt that he had not had any support. He had not had any backing. That he’d been hung out to dry and that there was this concerted campaign that was very passive-aggressively focused against him.
“I will always stand up for someone who is being bullied. Bullying is not acceptable.”
The 2022 Formula 1 season will get underway March 18-20 in Bahrain.
Main image: Christian Horner Instagram