Michael Masi will no longer be Formula 1 race director after the FIA announced a new structure in the wake of last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
In a video released at the same time as Ferrari’s 2022 car launch, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem confirmed that Masi will be replaced by Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich, who will alternate in the role, assisted by Herbie Blash as permanent senior advisor. Masi will be offered a new role within the FIA.
Ben Sulayem also announced that the race director will be assisted by a virtual race control room that will be positioned in one of the FIA offices away from the circuit. It will use modern technology to provide information and back-up to the race director on site, to help with the application of the sporting regulations.
Direct radio communications to the race director from teams will be removed, although Ben Sulayem said that “it will still be possible to ask questions to the race director according to a well-defined and non-intrusive process”.
Unlapping procedures behind the Safety Car will also be reassessed by the F1 Sporting Advisory Committee and presented to the next F1 Commission prior to the start of the season.
“I presented this complete plan to the members of the World Motor Sport Council and the Senate who gave their full support,” Ben Sulayem said.
“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.”