Verstappen features in secret Red Bull trial; Hamilton gets his wish in major shake-up in regulations

Red Bull driver participated in a secret shakedown on Thursday in the Austrian outfit’s 2022 challenger RB18.

This was the first time the Dutchman drove in the car that he will hope helps him retain his world championship crown.

Coincidentally, this was also the day that race director Michael Masi was shown the door by FIA. This came on the back of sustained pressure from Mercedes and fans around the world who were left disillusioned with Masi’s decision-making in last season’s title-deciding race.

It is believed that Red Bull decided not to make Verstappen’s test drive public as it wanted filming to go through as smoothly as possible.

Sergio Perez joined Max Verstappen in the shakedown as the duo looked to get first feel of their cars ahead of what promises to be a grueling season.

Lewis Hamilton. Credit:

A controversial decision by FIA race director Michael Masi in last season’s final race in Abu Dhabi went a long way in helping Max Verstappen wrap up his maiden F1 world championship in the most extraordinary fashion.

Masi has had to face the repercussions of that decision and has been axed by FIA as the sport’s governing body looks to rebuild some faith among fans.

Duo to operate as new race directors

Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas in partnership are set to replace Masi in what can only be termed a major shake-up from the governing body.

While it doesn’t bring back a chance to win the 2021 title, this will feel like a win for both Mercedes and Hamilton. It was rumoured that the Stevenage-born driver was considering retiring from the sport if Masi was not sacked.

Michael Masi. Credit:

The FIA confirmed that Masi had indeed been removed. In a statement, it stated, “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.”

Read more: Bottas warns Mercedes not to repeat mistake that dented Lewis Hamilton’s elusive 8th championship triumph

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