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Brawn praises FIA and Masi for decisions during 'difficult' race

There has been much discussion about the role played by the FIA and the stewards during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but F1 Managing Director Ross Brawn does not believe that the decisions made were controversial.

Ross Brawn has praised the FIA and F1 Race Director Michael Masi for how they handled the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Some decisions made during the race have prompted much discussion, particularly the point at which Masi could be heard negotiating with Red Bull's Sporting Director, Jonathan Wheatley, over team radio regarding Max Verstappen's starting position ahead of the final restart of the event. Red Bull accepted the offer from Masi for Verstappen to start from third on the grid. If they had not accepted, the case would have most likely been referred to the stewards, and a penalty may have been given to Verstappen. There have been questions about this so-called negotiation, with former F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve saying that he "didn't get it" , but Brawn believes that Masi's actions were correct in the situation.

Compliments for Masi

In his latest column for Formula1.com , Brawn wrote: "I'd like to compliment the FIA and Race Director Michael Masi in handling well what was an extremely difficult race. "I know some people feel some of the decisions were controversial, but I don't. "The situation you had with Max and Lewis [Hamilton] at the restart, when Michael recommended that Max drop behind Esteban [Ocon] and Lewis, was handled well, as the alternative was to report him to the stewards, and that could have ended up with a time penalty. "I think Michael dealt with it pragmatically. This type of discussion goes on several times during a race. If a driver gets by someone or defends unfairly, the Race Director will tell the team to correct the position."

Not a "deal"

Brawn has refuted suggestions that Masi was making a "deal" in this process. "Some people seem to think Michael was doing a deal. He wasn't doing a deal," Brawn explained. "It was simple: you accept the decision of the Race Director, with a known outcome, or it gets passed to the stewards to handle it." All in all, Brawn is pleased with how the weekend unfolded in Saudi Arabia in what was Formula 1's debut visit to the new Jeddah Corniche Circuit. "It was a tricky race and a tricky weekend," the sport's Managing Director said. "We've had a lot of challenges here, and I think everyone - the FIA, F1 and the teams - has pulled together to make this event work and it's been a huge success."

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