FIA issues statement following Masi comments

29/01/2022
NEWS STORY

The FIA has been forced to issue a statement following comments by a senior official charged with leading the investigation into the events at Abu Dhabi last month.

In an unprecedented move - though maybe not considering the direction the sport is taking at present - just days into the investigation, the findings of which won't be made public until the eve of the season opener, Peter Bayer, the man leading the investigation shared his thoughts with an Austrian journalist.

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

Bayer, himself an Austrian, then said that moving forward, what was the role of one man, the race director, may be shared by several individuals.

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

The head of the investigation speaking to the media - and appearing to divulge the findings - is unprecedented, and would result in a mistrial in a typical legal case.

Clearly aware of the implications, the FIA has today issued a brief statement.

"At this stage, no decision has been taken on the outcome of the detailed analysis currently underway into the events of the last Abu Dhabi Grand Prix," it read.

"As previously announced, the findings of this detailed analysis will be presented at the F1 Commission meeting in London on 14 February after an open discussion with all F1 drivers and then finally have to be approved at the World Motor Sport Council meeting on 18 March in Bahrain under the authority of FIA President, Mohammed Ben Sulayem."

A serious lapse of judgement by Bayer, which pours doubt on his handling of the investigation and could surely open the way for subsequent legal action by Michael Masi.

This is amateur stuff from Bayer and thereby the FIA, and one can't help but wonder if the intention was to send a public message to Mercedes, Toto Wolff, Lewis Hamilton and fans that they're on the case and all will be okay.

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Published: 29/01/2022
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