Site logo

Masi loses race director role

NEWS STORY
17/02/2022

FIA president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem has announced that Michael Masi is to given a new role within the FIA, to be replaced by Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas will act alternatively as race director, with assistance from Herbie Blash.

Freitas is a highly experienced race director in WEC, ELMS and Asian LMS, while Wittich comes to the F1 role from DTM.

In a video statement issued minutes after Ferrari took the wraps off its 2022 contender - thereby stealing the Maranello outfit's thunder - Ben Sulayem announced his plans for a new refereeing process for the sport.

Here is his statement in its entirety:

Ladies, gentlemen,

During the F1 Commission Meeting in London, I presented part of my plan for a new step forward in Formula 1 refereeing.

Drawing conclusions from the detailed analysis of the events of the last F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and from the 2021 season, I proposed an in-depth reform of the organization of refereeing and race direction. It was unanimously supported by F1 CEO and teams principals.

Here is my plan for these structural changes:

Firstly, to assist the race director in the decision-making process, a Virtual Race Control Room will be created. Alike the Video Assistance Referee (VAR) in football, it will be positioned in one of the FIA Offices as a backup outside the circuit. In real-time connection with the FIA F1 race director, it will help to apply the sporting regulations using the most modern technological tools.

Secondly, direct radio communications during the race, currently broadcast live by all TVs, will be removed in order to protect the race director from any pressure and allow him to take decisions peacefully. It will still be possible to ask questions to the race director, according to a well-defined and non-intrusive process.

Thirdly, unlapping procedures behind safety car will be reassessed by the F1 Sporting Advisory Committee and presented to the next F1 Commission prior to the start of the season.

And finally, I would like to inform you that a new race management team will be put in place starting in Barcelona for the test session.

Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas will act alternatively as Race Director, assisted by Herbie Blash as permanent senior advisor.

Michael Masi, who accomplished a very challenging job for three years as Formula 1 race director following Charlie Whiting, will be offered a new position within the FIA.

I presented this complete plan to the members of the World Motor Sport Council and the Senate who gave their full support.

With this plan, FIA opens the way for a new step forward in Formula 1 refereeing. Without the referees, there is no sport. Respect and support of the referees is in the essence of the FIA. That is why these structural changes are crucial in a context of strong development and the legitimate expectations of drivers, teams, manufacturers, organizers, and of course, the fans.

I warmly thank all those who contributed to this reform.

These changes will enable us to start the 2022 Formula 1 season in the best conditions, and our sport will be even more loved and respected.

LATEST NEWS

more news >

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

POST A COMMENT

or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment

READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Superbird70, 19/02/2022 16:28

"Toto, Christian, Vitual Race Control Room here. Sorry, Computer says...no."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by equator180, 18/02/2022 5:27

"At least now we know who holds the high hand in F1. Masi had a lot of support from all factions of F1 but didn't hold the trump card...."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Superbird70, 17/02/2022 23:26

"The problem will be that race directors, and stewards will never be able to act fast enough to please everyone, especially the casual fans. To make any decision will require time, as the race progresses, to be put into effect. All the advantages lie with the teams that are able to simulate any number of scenarios in the time it just took me to write this. The FIA has a slim chance of getting right of getting to work as intended."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by Simon in Adelaide, 17/02/2022 23:06

"@ Editor

Chris, Being a Brit living in Australia since 2009 my assessment of Australian management is less than complimentary, their default position is appeasement rather than make a tough decision - and don't get me started on so-called "Project Managers"."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by Editor, 17/02/2022 21:27

"@ Simon in Adelaide

When I think of the external pressure Masi was under, my first thoughts don't involve either Mercedes or Red Bull.

Furthermore, the lack of details at this time only makes me more suspicious."

Rating: Positive (5)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

6. Posted by Simon in Adelaide, 17/02/2022 21:23

"So now we know the price of Mercedes and Lewis' participation in the 2022 Season and why it took so long for Lewis to issue that Tweet.

Yes Masi buckled under the intense pressure coming from both Mercedes and Red Bull but he did try to uphold the wishes of the teams as expressed at the start of the 2021 season of having races finish under racing conditions.

With a 23-race calendar that will be a lot of work for one Race Director but whether alternating between two is a better proposition than having one for the first half of the season and one for the second half (post summer break) I suspect not.

Finally, should Ferrari be concerned that the influence of Mercedes within the FIA seems to be stronger than theirs?"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

7. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 17/02/2022 21:03

"This had to happen.

Now I wonder if that will be enough to convince Hamilton to race. Seems like he's ready to come back. That said, I also kind of hope it's his last year. Be good to see younger drivers getting more of a shot at a top team."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

8. Posted by Burton, 17/02/2022 21:00

"ZJAY if they change the stewarding, then there's no chance for the FIA to ass-kiss their member associations by giving a local director their big day under the spotlights :)"

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

9. Posted by ZJAY, 17/02/2022 20:30

"There is no mention of the stewards. Hopefully they are gone and replaced by the Virtual Assistant Referee with automatics penalties based on electronic controls."

Rating: Negative (-1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

10. Posted by ZJAY, 17/02/2022 20:27

"I hope there is a thorough review of the diving in during breaking, driving others off track, track limit consistency, etc... all the stuff that was inconsistent in last 2 years. Maybe consider a penalty clean slate which does not depend on what was done in previous years so drivers know clearly what is permitted and what not and the what penalties are going to apply. Also, track limits everywhere all the time, not changing from corner to corner from track to track with electronic automatic time penalties. Also, if you have 5 seconds time penalty and the car behind you is within 3 seconds for a whole lap, you must let it pass and you will be forgiven the time penalty. Drivers must stay on track or loose time. Stop the non sense that happened all season last year."

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

11. Posted by matra123, 17/02/2022 20:22

"Masi started making major cock-ups starting with the so-called Belgian GP (what? A "race" behind a pace car?). Give me a break, Masi! Then the back and forth squabling at the Qatar GP dealing with the teams as to who gets to restart where.
I can only hope that 2022 will be better."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

12. Posted by Steve 666, 17/02/2022 20:03

"How will having alternating Race Directors help consistency? Masi should have stayed in the roll but with the additional support now proposed. Disappointing."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

13. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 17/02/2022 17:58

"Perhaps the alternating directors puts in a bit of a barrier to the building of relationships between the officials and the teams?
I agree with other posters in that inconsistency can creep in.
Until the radio releases from Saudi, I was OK with Masi, neither for or against the actions he was taking.
However, once there was "negotiation" about who should start where on restart, well I found that was something very surprising.
The most confusing Masi decision though was the release of only a few of the lapped cars, those between 1st and 2nd place, in that last race.
The FIA not upholding their own rules afterwards is almost worse than that decision.

Hopefully the FIA doesn't play a bigger role than the teams and drivers this season."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

14. Posted by Defiant, 17/02/2022 17:01

"@Wokingchap you have a very very good point there. I'm also pleased Masi is gone, but for an alternating Race director?????... that's actually worse than keeping him.
If they put both of them in for all the races I'd be in support, but this is not a positive step IMO.

I think this is a case of "careful what you wish for".

It also makes me think that my initial fears of Sulayem are manifesting right in front of my eyes.

"

Rating: Positive (4)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

15. Posted by @R1Racing71, 17/02/2022 16:48

"Good to see Herbie back, perhaps bring back Brabham with those dodgy rear wings while we're at it ;)
"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2022. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms