Michael Masi out as F1 race director after Abu Dhabi controversy

PARIS — Michael Masi will be replaced as Formulation One’s race director adhering to the late controversy surrounding the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix final December, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem claimed Thursday.

Motorsport’s governing human body attained its final decision just after conducting a comprehensive assessment of the wild ending at the period finale, where by Crimson Bull driver Max Verstappen received his first globe title immediately after overtaking Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton on the past lap.

The 44-year-old Masi is remaining with the FIA but in an undetermined function.

“A new race administration crew will be place in location starting in Barcelona (up coming week) for the exam session,” Ben Sulayem said in a assertion.

“Michael Masi, who attained a quite difficult career for 3 several years as System 1 race director subsequent Charlie Whiting, will be offered a new place inside of the FIA,” he ongoing. “I presented this total program to the members of the Entire world Motor Activity Council and the Senate who gave their whole help.”

Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas will act alternatively as race director, assisted by Herbie Blash as lasting senior advisor, Ben Sulayem mentioned.

The Abu Dhabi final result followed a important determination by Masi, prompting deep confusion and seething vitriol in some quarters — with the FIA expressing the sport’s graphic experienced been tarnished as a consequence.

Hamilton led easily until a crash by Nicholas Latifi brought out the security car with 5 laps remaining. Verstappen stopped underneath yellow for a fresh new established of tires, and Masi flipped his selection and enable the motorists separating Verstappen from Hamilton pass the protection car beneath yellow.

Verstappen restarted next behind Hamilton and, on more rapidly new tires, zoomed previous Hamilton in the fifth flip.

Mercedes shed both of those its protests above how the race ended.

Hamilton was totally dejected at the way he skipped out on a document eighth F1 title to transfer forward of fellow good Michael Schumacher.

Despite the fact that Masi was closely criticized, nevertheless he was also in a difficult place for the duration of the race, with each Mercedes and Purple Bull equipped to chat instantly with him in a moment of intense stress. This raised inquiries as to no matter if F1 was turning into much too significantly of a Tv present and fewer of a activity.

That debate is now in excess of.

“Direct radio communications for the duration of the race, now broadcast dwell by all TVs, will be removed in buy to defend the race director from any tension and enable him to choose conclusions peacefully,” Ben Sulayem explained. “It will even now be possible to request inquiries to the race director, in accordance to a nicely-described and non-intrusive course of action.”

The structural modifications see the creation a new soccer-type Virtual Race Regulate Home, while unlapping methods at the rear of safety cars will be reassessed right before the very first race in Bahrain on March 20.

“Like the Video Aid Referee (VAR) in soccer, it will be positioned in 1 of the FIA places of work as a backup outside the house the circuit,” Ben Sulayem explained. “In authentic-time link with the FIA F1 race director, it will support to implement the sporting restrictions utilizing the most fashionable technological tools.”

Ben Sulayem hopes the 2022 season will be a additional appeased one particular immediately after superior tensions in between Crimson Bull and Mercedes and from groups toward officials dominated 2021. The blameless Latifi even employed bodyguards following receiving demise threats.

“With this system, FIA opens the way for a new action forward in Formulation 1 refereeing. With no the referees, there is no sport,” Ben Sulayem stated. “Respect and assist of the referees is in the essence of the FIA.”

The improvements were declared on the eve of Mercedes launching its 2022 car, with Hamilton established to communicate publicly for the first time considering the fact that Abu Dhabi.

Mercedes posted a photo Thursday on Twitter of Hamilton and new teammate George Russell in their racing suits.