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A lifeline for Masi?

NEWS STORY
21/02/2022

After being dropped as F1 race director, Motorsport Australia has thrown Michael Masi a potential lifeline.

Whatever way you want to look at it, last week's announcement by FIA president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem that Michael Masi was no longer F1 race director and would be found a new role within the FIA, effectively meant that the Australian had been sacked.

Whether we will learn the truth of what really happened that evening last December, whether we will hear Masi's own explanation, remains to be seen, but for now the man has essentially been thrown under the bus.

However, the man who was hand-picked for the role by his esteemed predecessor, Charlie Whiting, has been thrown a lifeline by Motorsport Australia, where CEO Eugene Arocca has made clear Masi would be welcomed home with open arms.

"He's a personal friend," Arocca tells Speedcafe. "I've known him as long as I've been involved in motorsport, which goes back ten years, and we've become good buddies. So it's personally disappointing and devastating for me to see what has occurred.

"I've got to be very mindful that I'm not part of a process," he continues, "I wasn't privy to the information that was being considered by the FIA, but on a personal level if you see a mate, and particularly an Australian, have to go through what he's gone through, I've got a certain amount of empathy and disappointment and frustration and anger.

"Unlike many others, he's actually been administering, involved in managing motorsport for many, many years. That's a good thing. He's got an extensive background and history. He's very insightful, intelligent, and able to make decisions in the heat of a moment. That's something that people may have lost in some of the debate.

"It's really easy to be a critic on the side lines thinking what he went through when he was making those decisions," adds Arocca. "There would be other people that would be completely paralysed in exactly the same circumstances. He made the call. That is the first character trait of a strong leader."

revealing that he has been in communication with Masi since last week's announcement, Arocca admits that his friend has taken the whole affair hard.

"I can't speak on his behalf, but I would say that one of the more difficult elements of all this, let's call it this incident, happened late last year, some three months ago now, and to a large degree it's been a process that hasn't leant itself to really being in a good frame of mind.

"It's been a tortuous two or three months of discussion, debate, criticism, public airing of view. And you have to have a hide that's pretty thick to be able to withstand all that and come out the other end feeling okay.

"Gladly, based on the fact that he responded this morning, and he was obviously pretty flat, he's a man who's got fantastic resilience."

Looking ahead, he says: "We would love to tap into his knowledge at any level. He's just an elite talent that would be wasted to the sport if he's not used in some capacity, and so we'll keep an open mind.

"At the moment, we're obviously concentrating on the year ahead, and when he's decided what he wants to do, no doubt amongst many others, he'll be contacted by not only us but by others.

"He's just such, I'll use the word elite. He's officiated for three years in one of the most public, high pressure sporting events with an element of danger in the world, and he's done it during a pandemic with significant levels of travel, stress, other duties, and in my view that stands well on his resume for any employer anywhere in the world."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by yakker, 22/02/2022 20:30

""essentially been thrown under the bus"
I agree, a lot of influence from the Media owners for his decisions, along with F1 teams and fans not wanting races finished behind the pace car.
As we have seen many times, teams and drivers want rule changes when it suits, and then moan when the rule change comes back to bite them.
"

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2. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 22/02/2022 16:38

"@defiant, very good point about SPA, I'd forgotten about that and in a way, it showed the intent of not so much Masi but moreso those more concerned with the show than the sport."

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3. Posted by VC10-1103, 22/02/2022 16:33

"Defiant - I am still pleased he's gone, I never rated him, and after Belgium alone, I'd have given him his marching orders,". That is easy to say in hindsight. I suspect you would say the same thing if the weather had cleared up as they expected it to do from the radar picture but Masi had already called it a day."

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4. Posted by Defiant, 21/02/2022 23:15

"Your last two sentences are so very true. He should have told Toto and Christian that very thing.

I am still pleased he's gone, I never rated him, and after Belgium alone, I'd have given him his marching orders, let alone the infamous last race.

I would have been much happier if both of his replacements where working all races, or even a team of three that rotated so they had 2 at all events. I'm still not convinced this outcome is to F1's benefit, just Ben's image."

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5. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 21/02/2022 18:17

"We need to be mindful that Michael Masi is a human being and subject to the fallibilities as all of us.

That is why it is important not to get into personal attacks on the man and focus on the position.

He, Masi, has a life to lead and get on with.

While he'll always be associated with the calls he made for the end of last season, he's obviously good enough in many other areas, otherwise he would not have been there in the first place.

Perhaps his biggest issue over the past three years was not telling everyone to politely or otherwise, "f@$k off" so he could get on with his duties and not be subjected to outside pressure.

That is a trap a lot of leaders can fall into."

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6. Posted by Roli, 21/02/2022 14:50

"Wow!, aoart from that, hes also got a lifetime supply of Red Bull...now, there is a result !"

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