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Head of FIA investigation admits Masi may not return

NEWS STORY
29/01/2022

As the FIA continues its investigation into the Abu Dhabi debacle, the man charged with leading the enquiry admits that Michael Masi may not return as race director.

Talking to Austria's Vorarlberger Nachrichten, the FIA's head of single-seater matters, Peter Bayer tells journalist Gerhard Kuntschick says that the FIA is looking to review the current system and that moving ahead certain roles may be divided.

"(We are looking at) dividing the various tasks of the race director, who is also sports director, safety and track delegate," says Bayer. "That was simply too much. These roles are divided between several people. This reduces the burden on the race director.

"Michael did a super job in many ways," he added. "We told him that, but also that there is a possibility there could be a new race director."

With the results of the investigation not due to be made public until the eve of the season opener, and many, including the drivers, yet to be interviewed, it seems odd that the man charged with leading said investigation is already telling the media of the possible outcome and the presumed fate of the principal player.

One of the key factors in the final races of the season was the open lobbying of Masi by team bosses and their sporting directors, something that that FIA is looking to outlaw. Indeed, Bayer says there is talk of a "buffer", a form of “mission control” at the FIA’s HQ in Geneva, during events to help race control in interpreting the sporting regulations.

"The team managers will still be able to, they have to be able to ask questions," said Bayer. "But we want to build in a buffer with an employee who accepts these requests, so in the future, the race director will be able to concentrate on his task and will no longer be distracted."

In terms of Masi's controversial decision regarding the safety car, Bayer cited the NASCAR model, whereby "if neutralisation is necessary in the last two laps of the race, the lap counting ends and the laps are added at the end of the safety car phase.

"This could cause a fuel problem in F1," he admits, "which is why it is being looked at more closely.

"We also asked the teams if their requirement not to finish a race under safety car was still relevant, to which they all agreed."

With Mercedes opting not to proceed with its appeal, Bayer believes that if the German team had gone ahead it would not have affected the outcome.

"Had the Mercedes protest gone to the Court of Appeal, after being rejected by the stewards, what would have happened?" he said. "I think the judges would have said: 'It's different in the regulations, he decided that way, so we could just void the result'.

"But even then, if it were cancelled, Max Verstappen would have been world champion," he added. "The situation was far from perfect and that's why we're working on it. It's also about having respect for the race director. My job is to look ahead, how can we improve things?"

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Greg, 30/01/2022 7:43

"@kenji and @Stich431. Exactly. The race director and stewards should only talk with the teams when they are summoned to an investigation. No pressure from them or added comments until the decision is made."

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2. Posted by kenji, 29/01/2022 23:54

"@ Stitch431....my sentiments entirely."

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3. Posted by Stitch431, 29/01/2022 16:09

""The team managers will still be able to, they have to be able to ask questions," ...
No, they should not, in any way be able to put pressure on the race direction/stewards regarding any decision, unless summoned by the stewards. No sport in the world allows the players to be in evolved in the decision of a referee ..."

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4. Posted by Editor, 29/01/2022 15:35

"And it comes as no surprise that the FIA has now had to issue a statement.

Bayer should have kept his mouth shut... the leader of an investigation - that is still in progress - should not be talking to the press about the outcome."

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5. Posted by jcr, 29/01/2022 15:14

"Without taking sides in the Masi debate,
I do think its wrong for the FIA to be taking Hamilton and Toto into the equation,
to influence their decision,
The have been allowed to exert their power. for far too long."

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6. Posted by Wokingchap, 29/01/2022 11:52

"I certainly hope Masi goes and have been promoting this since 2020."

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7. Posted by equator180, 29/01/2022 5:00

"Toto / Hamilton win, who would have ever guessed.."

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8. Posted by Rock Doc, 28/01/2022 23:36

"I pity who ever takes over. It seems your damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Teams were demanding races not to finish under a safety car. So you get poor decisions at critical times."

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9. Posted by kenji, 28/01/2022 23:35

"In what appears to be a minority opinion I will be totally disgusted if Masi is fired. The genesis of the result was a total failure by Mercedes to pit and cover off Red Bull when they had the opportunity. They already had the fastest car. The end result was the slower car on faster tyres and the fastest car on slower tyres. A race to the chequered flag. IMO all the hoo har is Mercedes/Hamilton trying to compensate for their major mistake by slagging off on Masi. By all means restructure the future 'Race direction team and the stewards' if that is necessary but to roll over for Mercedes is totally unacceptable..... "

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10. Posted by Defiant, 28/01/2022 16:42

"Sorry, but I still don't trust any organisation investigating itself.

I believe the paragraph stating "had Merc gone ahead, it wouldn't affect the outcome" in so much as I think their demands behind the closed doors have been the same and will get the same outcome.
Is that right, no it isn't. Assuming Merc are demanding this because of the last lap.

But as I do ultimately think Masi should go because of whole season of choices, so I will be happy if it happens and I know a lot of people feel differently. Although I respect that argument, I still feel he should be replaced, but if that's only in name so someone else's face is verbalising his decisions this won't be my preferred outcome."

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11. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 28/01/2022 16:36

"They'll put whatever public spin on it they want, but they need a sacrificial lamb to expiate the sins of Abu Dhabi and obtain the forgiveness of Hamilton. "

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