Michael Masi out as F1 race director after Abu Dhabi controversy

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

Motorsport’s governing physique arrived at its choice soon after conducting a detailed analysis of the wild ending at the time finale, where Crimson Bull driver Max Verstappen received his initial planet title after overtaking Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton on the past lap.

The 44-12 months-outdated Masi is remaining with the FIA but in an undetermined role.

“A new race management crew will be place in position starting in Barcelona (following 7 days) for the exam session,” Ben Sulayem explained in a assertion.

“Michael Masi, who achieved a quite tough occupation for 3 decades as System 1 race director following Charlie Whiting, will be supplied a new place inside the FIA,” he ongoing. “I introduced this total strategy to the users of the Planet Motor Sport Council and the Senate who gave their full assistance.”

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

The Abu Dhabi outcome adopted a important choice by Masi, prompting deep confusion and seething vitriol in some quarters — with the FIA saying the sport’s image had been tarnished as a consequence.

Hamilton led comfortably until finally a crash by Nicholas Latifi introduced out the protection automobile with 5 laps remaining. Verstappen stopped beneath yellow for a fresh set of tires, and Masi flipped his choice and permit the motorists separating Verstappen from Hamilton move the safety car less than yellow.

Verstappen restarted 2nd at the rear of Hamilton and, on faster new tires, zoomed earlier Hamilton in the fifth flip.

Mercedes shed both equally its protests around how the race ended.

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

Although Masi was seriously criticized, although he was also in a hard position during the race, with both of those Mercedes and Purple Bull capable to discuss immediately with him in a moment of powerful tension. This elevated questions as to whether F1 was turning out to be also a lot of a Tv set present and considerably less of a sport.

That discussion is now about.

“Direct radio communications all through the race, at the moment broadcast live by all TVs, will be removed in buy to defend the race director from any stress and make it possible for him to get selections peacefully,” Ben Sulayem said. “It will nevertheless be feasible to request queries to the race director, in accordance to a nicely-defined and non-intrusive process.”

The structural variations see the development a new soccer-type Digital Race Management Room, while unlapping methods guiding safety cars will be reassessed prior to the initial race in Bahrain on March 20.

“Like the Movie Guidance Referee (VAR) in soccer, it will be positioned in one of the FIA offices as a backup outdoors the circuit,” Ben Sulayem reported. “In true-time connection with the FIA F1 race director, it will support to utilize the sporting laws working with the most modern-day technological equipment.”

Ben Sulayem hopes the 2022 time will be a extra appeased 1 soon after substantial tensions in between Red Bull and Mercedes and from teams toward officers dominated 2021. The blameless Latifi even employed bodyguards immediately after getting loss of life threats.

“With this strategy, FIA opens the way for a new step forward in System 1 refereeing. With no the referees, there is no activity,” Ben Sulayem explained. “Respect and guidance of the referees is in the essence of the FIA.”

The adjustments had been introduced on the eve of Mercedes launching its 2022 car, with Hamilton set to converse publicly for the to start with time considering the fact that Abu Dhabi.

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

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