Team managers or sporting directors have been linked by a radio channel to race control for many years, with the option of speaking to the race director about any issues that might arise.
This year for the first time, selected messages are being broadcast on TV, which potentially allows teams to put their views across in public.
After Verstappen and Hamilton made contact on the first lap of the British GP, messages were heard from the sporting directors of Red Bull and Mercedes, Jonathan Wheatley and Ron Meadows. Their respective team principals, Christian Horner and Toto Wolff, also made contact with Masi.
However, speaking after the British GP, Masi explained that he has no issue with teams voicing their thoughts in such a way.
“No frustration,” he said. “Obviously, that’s part of what they do, it comes about in various waves, depending on what it is. Everyone’s looking after their own little patch of turf, so to speak, which you’d expect.
“But from my perspective, I treat them all equally and try to balance up what we’ve got to do and set certain priorities within your own mind, what you’ve got before you. And you need to prioritise accordingly.
“There were a couple of times there be it with Mercedes Benz, or with Red Bull at the time, where I said ‘Just hang five and I’ll get back to you’, which happened earlier, which you probably didn’t hear, you only heard the one that was broadcast.”
Michael Masi, Race Director inspecting the track
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Masi says he tries to listen to any points that teams might raise and not get involved in any kind of public debate.
“Obviously, it’s there as a form of communication for the teams to bring something to our attention, or put their view forward,” he said.
“And absolutely, it’s not for me to get involved in that discussion, particularly when it’s a matter before the stewards that they’re looking at.”
Masi added that he has no issue with messages being broadcast publicly, welcoming that “the public get to see a different perspective of what goes on behind the scenes”.
“I noticed over the [Silverstone] weekend that there are more cameras focusing on team pit perches, and so forth, giving the spectators and the fans a different perspective of all of the various elements over a race weekend,” he said.
“And probably even for the media a different perspective of some of the things that have behind the scenes is not a bad thing at all.”