Amidst a great deal of speculation regarding the future of race director Michael Masi, the FIA has finally reached a definitive decision.
There had been calls from some F1 journalists and analysts that claimed Masi would eventually keep his job as Mercedes continued to exert pressure on FIA to take action against subpar officiating from Masi in last year’s season finale.
However, FIA has now announced that it has removed Masi as race director with immediate effect. A long investigation reportedly took place before this, where FIA took into consideration the opinions of all team principals amongst other things.
The end result not only sees Masi being sacked as race director, but other changes as well.
The core responsibilities of the race director have now been changed. At least that’s what is claimed in a report by Autosport.
“The FIA will alternate between using WEC race director Eduardo Freitas and former DTM race director Niels Wittich,” the report states.
BREAKING: FIA confirms Michael Masi has been removed from his position as race director. pic.twitter.com/F5s1dFULFk— ESPN F1 (@ESPNF1) February 17, 2022
“As well as changing race director, the FIA is to introduce a new virtual race control system, as well as ban direct team communications to the race director.”
Masi was defended by Button
Former F1 champion Jenson Button had recently claimed that Masi was not the only one responsible for the events that transpired in Abu Dhabi.
“Every team speaks to Michael Masi and puts their point across, they always do,” Button said.
He instead blamed team principals for the pressure they exerted on the race director by constantly getting in touch with him over the radio.
“Maybe they shouldn’t have their opinions voiced to Masi and maybe that’s a way forward so Masi can make the decision on his own.
“I think after the race the teams can go and talk to Masi but during the race, I think it’s wrong. There’s so much emotion coming from the teams.”
Regardless of any reported interference from Mercedes, this decision may be welcomed by most F1 fans.
Last year’s finish had, after all, put a spanner in the works of any excitement or jubilation that fans had heading into a season-defining final race.
Do you agree with how the FIA has gone about its business or did Masi deserve more leniency? Let us know in the comments below!