Former FIA Safety Delegate and Race Director, Michael Masi, has opened up about the mental health issues he experienced in the aftermath of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Masi appeared in the F1 paddock for the first time since the controversial race, as part of his duties as Independent Chair of the Supercars Commission in the Australia.
"I was a little nervous on Wednesday, when I first came in, but you have seen with your own eyes the kind reception," he told the Daily Mail.
Masi sought help with mental health after Abu Dhabi saga
While he is unable to discuss the details of his decisions which decided the outcome of the championship in 2021 due to an NDA he signed with the FIA, he did open up about the mental health support he sought after the abuse he received online.
"When I stopped at the FIA, I told my parents 'Those days are done for me'. I had told them after the Abu Dhabi fallout not to bother reading or watching anything. It's not healthy. The place can be a very toxic place. In many ways social media can be a great tool, but not so great in others."
Masi claims he did not immediately seek help with his mental health, but eventually went to see a professional which enabled him to draw a line under the saga.
He continued: "I have spent time looking after myself. It's done me good. It's what I needed. I spent a lot of time getting into physical shape but didn't spend enough on the mental side for a long while.
"There were people I was speaking to privately, my then partner - she was an amazing support - and friends and family. As for professional help, I got that, but probably later than I should have done - the latter part of last year, but things had largely calmed down by then."
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Travelling in F1 had an impact on Masi
One of the demands of working in F1 is the travel between the races, with Masi claiming that he felt like he "lived on a plane" for most of his time in his role.
Now his work is based closer to home, he's enjoying the time he can spend with family and catching up with relatives.
"I loved the job but you don't realise the impact travelling so much has on you. When we last met in 2021, I literally lived on a plane. The joys of being able to cook a meal at home, being able to catch up with relatives are now open to me," he explained.
"My only living grandparent, Agusta, is 89 and is 10 minutes down the road. She can't speak a word of English (both sides of his family ancestry being Italian) and she loves the fact I go to see her and have a coffee with her.
"Those little things. You don't realise what they mean. Weddings, birthdays."