Source: Michael Masi would return to F1 if offered the opportunity

Ousted race director Michael Masi would reportedly welcome a return to Formula 1 if given the chance.

In his role as Race Director, Masi was at the centre of one of the most controversial moments in F1 history at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton on the final lap to win the race and secure his first World Championship.

Accused of breaking F1's own rules in clearing the lapped traffic between Hamilton and Verstappen to set up a grandstand finish, Masi was removed from his position as Race Director and his departure from governing body the FIA was announced in July.

He has since returned to his homeland of Australia, becoming the chairman of the Supercars Commission in September before landing an additional role on the board of Karting Australia earlier this week.

In Masi's absence, F1 began the 2022 season with the Race Director role shared between Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, which led to complaints of inconsistency among teams and drivers.

As a result, the initiative was dropped for the final four races of the year with Wittich exclusively holding the position.

Speaking via his Twitch channel, former Williams and Ferrari team manager Peter Windsor has implied Masi would embrace the opportunity to return to F1 and suggest he would probably represent an upgrade on the current regime.

He said: "Masi is working in motorsport in Australia again and he's doing race direction stuff again.

"One of my mates said that if Formula 1 made him an offer, he'd probably come back and he'd probably do a very, very good job compared with where we are at the moment.

"Obviously, he made a massive mistake in Abu Dhabi - and everybody makes mistakes - but the groundswell argument is, 'is it any worse than where we are?'

"And, if nothing else, he does actually make decisions and he's very organised. I'm sure it'll never happen, because [Mercedes boss] Toto Wolff will probably never let it happen, and he did make such a massive mistake you could argue that maybe he should never come back."

Following his exit from the FIA, Masi revealed the extent of the abuse he had suffered in the wake of Abu Dhabi 2021, telling the Sydney Daily Telegraph that a torrent of death threats had left him feeling like "the most hated man in the world."

"I didn't want to talk to anyone," the 44-year-old said.

"Not even family and friends. I only talked to my close family but very briefly. It did have a physical impact, but it was more mental. I just wanted to be in a bubble. I had no desire to talk to them. I just wanted to be alone, which was very challenging.

"The whole experience has made me a much stronger person."

Even if he were to make a sensational F1 comeback in the future, there are some who will simply never forgive - never mind forget - the events of Abu Dhabi 2021.

Ultimately, however, the decision to unlap only the five cars separating Hamilton and Verstappen at Yas Marina was the tip of the iceberg of Masi's reign as Race Director as the Australian faced the near-impossible task of replacing the late, great Charlie Whiting.

Earlier in the same race, for instance, Masi attracted criticism for allowing Hamilton to get away with cutting the chicane after Verstappen's first-lap lunge at Turn 6, which would likely have stood as the contentious moment of the race had it not been for the late Safety Car.

Other decisions - his bizarre negotiating of grid positions ahead of a restart a week earlier in Jeddah and letting a qualifying session in treacherous conditions in Turkey resume in 2020 when a recovery vehicle was still trackside, effectively gambling it would be gone when the cars got there - added up to someone who was struggling to get to grips with the job.

After everything, a return to F1 stewardship would be too much for some to stomach.

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