MICHAEL MASI REMOVED FROM FIA ROLE & NEW KEY CHANGES TO REFEREEING & RACE DIRECTION AHEAD OF THE 2022 SEASON

MICHAEL MASI REMOVED FROM FIA ROLE & NEW KEY CHANGES TO REFEREEING & RACE DIRECTION AHEAD OF THE 2022 SEASON

As many of you might have known by now, Michael Masi has been removed as F1 race director as the result of the very controversial outcome of the 2021 F1 finale in Abu Dhabi. However, despite being axed from being the F1 race director, Michael Masi was offered a new position within the FIA as part of a series of changes following the governing body's analysis into last year's mishap.


Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, who have recently worked in the World Endurance Championship and DTM respectively, will alternate the Race Director role. They will be assisted by Herbie Blash – who returns to F1 having previously acted as deputy to Masi’s predecessor Charlie Whiting, as permanent senior advisor.

 


The changes were made due to Masi's failure to correctly apply the rules in a late safety car period, which had a significant impact on the outcome of the championship decider. Although Masi's sacking can be taken as a rare acknowledgement by the FIA that they were at fault for the infamous 2021 Abu Dhabi grand prix that caused months of criticism from F1 fans, drivers and the media, the Mercedes F1 team will not seek to get the result overturned.

A spokesman for Hamilton's team confirmed:

"No, we accepted and acknowledged the championship result in our statement on December 16. Since then, the FIA have conducted their own analysis in consultation with teams and drivers (including us) and reached their own conclusions, which they have presented today."


Meaning that Max Verstappen will remains the 2021 F1 drivers champion and Lewis Hamilton remains runner-up, which to most will be an extremely hard pill to swollow especially for the the 7th time world champion. The announcement was timed conincedentally a day before Mercedes' car launch at which Hamilton, team principal Toto Wolff and incoming driver George Russell was present.

 


Masi's departure is a sign of Ben Sulayem's ruthless desire to make significant changes at the start of his reign and to imprint himself as undisputed boss: he resisted significant Masi supporters, including Bernie Ecclestone, whose wife Fabiana was elected on Ben Sulayem's election ticket in December as one of his vice-presidents.

 


In regards to the structural changes, FIA president Ben Sulayem said a Virtual Race Control Room will be created to assist the Race Director.

“Alike the Video Assistance Referee (VAR) in football, it will be positioned in one of the FIA Offices as a backup outside the circuit. In real-time connection with the FIA F1 race director, it will help to apply the sporting regulations using the most modern technological tools,” he stated.

"Direct radio communications during the race, currently broadcast live by all TVs, will be removed in order to protect the race director from any pressure and allow him to take decisions peacefully. It will still be possible to ask questions to the race director, according to a well-defined and non-intrusive process.

Unlapping procedures behind Safety Car will be reassessed by the F1 Sporting Advisory Committee and presented to the next F1 Commission prior to the start of the season.”

He added:

“I presented this complete plan to the members of the World Motor Sport Council and the Senate who gave their full support."

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