Michael Masi Removed as Formula 1 Race Director
After Abu Dhabi Grand Prix race, the Australian has been under fire for controversial decision.
The FIA has dismissed Michael Masi as race director for F1 after the last lap showdown at the final Grand Prix of 2021. The FIA has appointed two new personals. As well a new format for racing control has been introduced. It includes a similar format that football obtains, a VAR system as a race control unit.
Portuguese Eduardo Freitas, is a worldly respected race director for the World Endurance Championship. Niels Wittich, former race director of DTM and the German Touring Car Championship. Both will be alternating their new role. However, this new structure has raised questions over the ability to be consistent and unbiased when making decisions.
After Masi’s intervention in Abu Dhabi by improvising rules around the safety care and the way cars could over lap. His actions impacted the outcome between Hamilton and Verstappen in their battle for the championship title.
Post race, Masi and the FIA faced backlash as to how it had been handled. Mercedes F1 team driver, Lewis Hamilton believed the race was manipulated. Team principle of Mercedes, Toto Wolf, was overwhelmed at the sudden outcome and warned of the British driver and Mercedes #1 driver [Lewis Hamilton] was considering retiring.
One dispute point with Masi’s handling of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix how he appeared swamped with messages from Red-bull and Mercedes.
The FIA has also confirmed teams will no longer be able to send messages directly to the race director. This is where the VAR system (Virtual Assistant Referee) in football comes in. The VAR will be located outside of the circuit and will be a liaison between the race director and the teams.
Several drivers have been vocal and against the removal of Masi.
Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel has said he feels Masi should keep his job. His removal was based on a one time error with heavy criticism from within the padlock and from fans. Instead, the FIA should’ve kept Masi and given him guidance.