Michael Masi is set to be removed from his role as Formula 1 race director ahead of the 2022 season, latest reports suggest.
Masi has been under fire ever since the controversial ending to the 2021 F1 season in December. He was subject to widespread criticism for his decision making in the final few laps of the race, that presented Max Verstappen with a gifted chance to overtake Lewis Hamilton in the final lap of the race.
In the aftermath of that infamous evening under the lights, the FIA promised to work on making reforms in the sport. The aim of these changes would be to make sure that the events of Yas Island are not repeated in the future.
With the 2022 season just around the corner, FIA are preparing a ‘massive overhaul’ in the structure. This includes how the rules are governed and how verdicts are handed out by Race Control.
According to BBC Sport, the FIA will introduce ‘a series of safeguards’ that will help the Race Director make decisions in a calmer environment.
“FIA’s plans are to introduce a series of safeguards that will leave the race director freer to make decisions in a calmer environment, the statement read. “A support structure is being planned for the race director, insiders say.”
Team bosses won’t be allowed to speak to Race Directors like Toto Wolff and Christian Horner spoke to Michael Masi
For the majority of the 2021 season, Horner and Wolff took unpresented advantage of their direct radio line to Michael Masi. Often, they would cross the line and try to pressurize the Aussie into making decisions that favored them.
Teams won’t be able to do that anymore 2022 onwards. “The change likely to include a barrier between that role and the teams to avoid the direct lobbying. To which Masi was subjected from the team bosses of both Mercedes and Red Bull in Abu Dhabi.”
“Revisions to the operations of the stewards, who are independent of the race director and decide on penalties for breaches of the rules, are also being considered.”
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Neither Mercedes, nor Hamilton have said anything against Masi publicly. Still, they made it clear that they weren’t happy with how the entire system functioned at the Abu Dhabi GP.
The last we heard from Hamilton regarding those events was him taking to the team radio, to suggest that the result was being ‘manipulated’. BBC Sport now report that Masi will likely be relieved off his duties as Formula 1 race director.
“High-level sources say that the most likely scenario is that a new race director will be installed for the 2022 season.” the BBC source added.
Senior FIA official admits that they’re considering removing Masi from his position
Peter Bayer, who’s a senior official at FIA confirmed that the governing body of F1 is considering the dismissal of Michael Masi. This confirms the earlier reports suggested by BBC Sport about the same.
Bayer acknowledged Masi’s contribution to F1 during his time as race director. However, he revealed that the 44-year old knows that he may not be continue with his role in 2022.
“He has done a super job,” said Bayer. “We have told him that, but also that there is a possibility that there will be a new race director. I can only make suggestions to the World Council, and they will definitely include him.”
Masi hasn’t shared his thoughts over the ending of the Abu Dhabi GP as of yet. In fact, he’s a kept a low profile, even amidst the criticism he’s been drawing from fans worldwide.
“He has developed a relatively thick skin against the attacks of individual teams,” Bayer said about Masi. “When you work at the FIA, you have to be aware that you are working for the sports police.