Speaking before the FIA unveiled its decision on a possible restructuring of how race control is conducted over the weekend of the Grand Prix, Sullivan defended Massi and the situation in which he found himself in the final moments of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“It’s a lot of pressure because you’re trying to make the right decision and follow all the rules,” Sullivan said. “At best online, you have 51% of people happy and 49% angry with every decision!
“I think it’s unfair to blame Michael Massi. He made the decision based on many things happening a year or two ago, such as “let’s finish under the green”.
“Mikhail is one person – he does checks, he does that, he does that. I mean, the guy works like a dog all year long!
“At the end of this deal everything is exhausted, you’re just trying to make the right decision.”
Danny Sullivan, FIA steward, right
Photo: Mark Satan / Drawings of motorsport
Former CART champion Sullivan, who scored points in Formula One along with Tyrell in Monaco in 1983, has been a flight attendant for more than a decade.
Although he was not on duty in Abu Dhabi in the final, Sullivan explained how decisions are made about the driver to be made by the race director. He also said he has never experienced any changes in the process depending on the situation in the championship.
“We’ve never had a discussion about where who sat in the championship, what he did with the points, none of that in 13 years has ever been part of the discussion,” he said. “Now that someone has it in their head, no one has ever tolerated it in a steward’s room.
“We’re just looking at the data, all the cameras, everything. This is an alleged violation – yes or no – and if so, then all the fines are largely set. If extreme, then this, if not, then that.
“I worked with all the chief stewards, the second stewards, and that’s always been the case. If we are unsure, we always ask a question. And it was the same with Charlie Whiting or Michael Macy. You make the best decision based on the information you receive. ”
Asked about the situation in Abu Dhabi, Sullivan said that the temporary restrictions in such a tense situation – combined with radio messages from the teams to Masi, which were broadcast on television – contributed to the controversial outcome.
“It’s a little out of control,” Sullivan said. “Ultimately he has to make a decision, and the more support you can get around him [the better] but the problem is that you don’t have time for the conference.
“If you’re trying to fix an accident, take the workers off the track at the corners and get everyone ready for work, that doesn’t mean there’s time for ‘hello guys, let’s huddle here.’ And then you have this situation with the radio [with the teams’ messages to race control being broadcast]this is wrong in my opinion.
“Michael is a good guy, Charlie really believed in him. He worked with Charlie for years, studying at the best. And Charlie had so much knowledge that he developed the whole thing, grew up a Formula One mechanic and went through it all, so replacing that experience is hard to find. ”