Masi was heard offering Red Bull to give up pole position and drop Max Verstappen behind title rival Lewis Hamilton at the second standing restart following a red flag suspension during Sunday’s dramatic race. 

It came in response to Verstappen overtaking Hamilton off track at Turn 1 during the first race restart after Haas driver Mick Schumacher caused an early red flag with a hefty crash. 

The exchange between Masi and Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley drew comparisons to British game show Deal or No Deal by fans on social media. 

But Masi stressed there was nothing unusual about the procedure. 

“I wouldn’t call it a deal as from a race director’s perspective I have no authority to instruct the teams to do anything in that situation,” Masi said after the race. 

“I can give them an offer, the ability to do that but the choice is theirs. The stewards are obviously empowered to give penalties but I can give them my perspective. 

“That’s why I offered them the ability to give that position up.” 

After some deliberation Red Bull ultimately accepted the offer and Verstappen was able to snatch the lead away from Hamilton with a daring lunge at the restart, setting up an intense scrap for victory. 

Masi insisted the talks with Red Bull were “very much a normal discussion that happens regularly on a number of occasions and has had all year, and previously.”

“It was a result of the red flag that came about due to the incident at Turn 3,” he added. “The priority with any red flag situation is A; to make sure the drivers are safe, and then to activate the marshals’ recovering with cleaning the track and so forth. 

“So it probably seemed a bit elongated compared to normal, however it is very much a normal discussion that takes place. When I saw it happen at Turn 2, I immediately suggested to the stewards that I am going to give the ability to give that place back. 

“The red flag obviously ensued very quickly thereafter and that was absolutely the priority before we got going again. Being as we were under the suspension, it was the ability to effectively correct that before we went racing going again.”

Contrary to Masi’s claim, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner described the situation as “unusual” and something “I’ve not come across previously.”