FIA indicates Masi may not continue as F1 race director

2022 F1 season

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FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi may not remain in the role for the new season following the controversial conclusion to the 2021 world championship.

The governing body’s secretary general for sport Peter Bayer, who is overseeing its review of the disputed season finale, has said a change of race director is among the options under consideration in response to the row over the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Masi has been a focus of criticism over his handling of a Safety Car period in the final laps of the race. A decision to quickly bring the Safety Car appeared to contradict the regulations, and he only allowed a portion of the lapped cars to un-lap themselves, in a break with convention.

Following the restart Lewis Hamilton was immediately passed by championship rival Max Verstappen. That sealed victory in the race and championship for the Red Bull driver.

Mercedes immediately protested the outcome of the race on two counts, both of which were rejected. It considered an appeal, but backed down three days after the race, confirming Verstappen as champion.

However the FIA agreed to review the events of the race, and Bayer has given the first indication of the direction its investigation has taken in an interview for Austrian newspaper Vorarlberger Nahrichten. He indicated one option is to divide the race director’s current responsibilities between multiple roles, to ease the pressure they are under.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2021
Analysis: Does F1 need a new race director – or deeper change – after Abu Dhabi restart row?
“The various tasks of the race director, who is also sports director, safety and course delegate, will be divided up,” said Bayer. “That was just too much.” The FIA is also looking into emulating the teams’ ‘mission control’ facilities to give remote support to the race director.

Masi took over as F1 race director at short notice when his predecessor, Charlie Whiting, passed away on the eve of the 2019 season. Bayer praised the job he had done but admitted the possibility of replacing him is being considered.

“Michael did a super job in many ways,” said Bayer, adding, “we definitely don’t want to lose him. We told him that, but also that there is a possibility that there could be a new race director. I can only make suggestions to the World Council and they will definitely include Michael.”

Bayer also emphasised that Masi’s desire to ensure the race did not finish behind the Safety Car had the backing of teams. “We also asked the teams whether their request not to finish a race under SC was still relevant, which they all answered in the affirmative.”

However the practice of allowing team principals to speak to the race director during a grand prix, as Mercedes’ Toto Wolff and Red Bull’s Christian Horner both did in Abu Dhabi, will end.

“We will abolish the ordeal of the race management and make massive changes,” said Bayer. “The team bosses will no longer be able to tune in on this channel. In future, the race director will be able to concentrate on his task and will no longer be distracted.”

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Keith Collantine
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130 comments on “FIA indicates Masi may not continue as F1 race director”

  1. Translation: get ready to hear that Lewis “will be ready to race in 2022” after getting Masi fired.

    1. @joshgeake Couple things on that. It doesn’t sound like Masi will be fired, but rather given help, along with some changes to some procedures. Nor would this be a case of LH ‘getting Masi fired.’ LH is an innocent bystander and the aggrieved party in this but it ends there. The rest is in FIA’s hands. As to LH, we don’t even know if he blames Masi, or is it the system…FIA in general, who knows.

      I’m convinced LH is going to race this year and that he is not waiting for some resolution before he commits. Why do I say that? Because imho we would have heard of TW being on the hunt for his replacement as the onus would be on LH to give TW enough lead time to set someone else up in that seat. In other words imho LH has already told TW he will honour his contract. There’s no way, after all they’ve done together, that LH is waiting until the cusp of the season when some theoretical satisfactory-to-LH resolution is announced, to then tell TW what he is doing. LH will be racing this season. Or, we’ll hear very very soon, as it would be too hard to keep secret, that TW is on the hunt to replace LH. But realistically with a mere small numbers of weeks to go before they start testing? No way.

      1. on that note, though, it’s entirely possible that Wolff has Bottas in stand by and ready to step in at any time. No hunting would be needed

        1. @robbie @alfa145 Tend to agree with stefano, by this point, either Lewis has confirmed to TW that he’s racing and they’re just maximizing the pressure on FIA, or TW has told him to take his time deciding but has a replacement already lined up. The longer it continues, the more likely it seems LH will race in F1 this year. But still possible he walks away. I just hope he doesn’t go for the sabbatical option, almost always a bad move…

          1. @david-br @alfa But then surely we’d have heard of Alfa looking for a replacement for VB. No, I think it will have been the best kept secret in the history of F1, lol, if indeed LH has told TW he’s leaving and TW has already sorted a replacement. Not even that LH is still undecided therefore TW has sorted an emergency replacement. Not that I pour over all things F1 but for there to not even be articles speculating on what TW is doing for a contingency plan is telling. Seems like most have little real concern that LH is leaving.

            Another aspect to this…as I opined in 2019/2020 when LH and TW were seeming to take forever to agree a contract extension and then the talk became that perhaps LH was going to make 2021 his final season, since at the time the contract extension was only for one year…there’s no way LH is the type to just walk from F1 without a lot of advance notice so he can enjoy his final season with all the accolades and attention that will inundate him. He’ll want to go out with a bang and have every race being promoted as ‘LH’s last race at this venue and that.’ No way he’ll do a KR and just half way through the season say ‘by the way this is my last,’ let alone just decide in the coming weeks to leave, and he’s never seen again at an F1 venue. No way.

          2. @robbie It would be naive to suppose that TW hasn’t been fielding a few ‘inquiries’ behind-the-scenes from drivers/agents offering to take up LH’s place if he retires. A lot of money is involved in LH’s contract and, by the same token, Mercedes would have money released by him leaving to ease through another contract. I get what you’re saying about Lewis doing a ‘final tour season’, but it’s discounting any sense of disillusionment he might have over Formula 1 as a viable racing competition. Understandable given you naturally downplayed what happened in Abu Dhabi, as a MV fan, but maybe missing the point somewhat. The ‘final tour’ full of accolades only really works if the Mercedes is competitive. If something disastrous (for the team) happens and they’re stuck in the midfield, it would be a fairly painful swan song I think. So if he stays, surely it has to be a 2 or 3 year deal to ensure Mercedes have time to bounce back, if necessary, and deliver a car in which LH can have a good season.

          3. @david-br For sure it would be understandable if as you say TW has made inquiries, and of course they do have drivers within their program, but I’m just surprised there hasn’t been a single leak about anything, nor does any media seem to be digging for evidence, nor failing finding anything, at least speculating on who will be in that car if LH quits.

            As to LH, any dissolution he will be feeling would be totally understandable, but I’m going to assume that he will be racing out his two year contract at a minimum, and I don’t envision him starting this season with some sort of permanent anger or scowl or what have you. That will only distract him. He’ll have heard the verdict on the last laps of the season, he’ll have to come to peace with whatever is decided, and he’ll have to move on and just take motivation from it. He probably has already done a lot of mental work to get past this and he’s prepared for whatever they decide, and then continue focussing on winning the next WDC, and that has to start with the minute he sits in his new car, if he wants to maximize his chances.

            I disagree about LH needing to go out with a competitive car or his swan song is ruined. He doesn’t have the luxury of time for that anyway. Odds are the car will be competitive, but if it is not that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. If he happens to not be in a Championship car for his final season, his fans will understand and will still be celebrating his record breaking career just as much, as each race weekend clicks by. His fans will be aggressively after tickets to fulfill their last chance to see him race in person, no matter from where on the grid. But sure, I can see him racing in 2024 if he hasn’t won his 8th and he senses better chances of doing that with a contract extension beyond his current one. Of course you are right that a competitive car would be ideal, but if it doesn’t happen that’s just racing. I have no doubt he will be in top 3 cars at a minimum, and in a series meant more for driver vs driver the rest will be up to him.

        2. @alfa145 A driver contracted to another team can’t really be a standby per se unless a given scenario involves the two RB-owned teams.

          1. Were Bottas to “get the call” I am sure that Alfa Romeo would be more than willing to do a swap, for a price of course.
            Bottom line, let The Hulk know that he should keep up the training.

    2. Blame the victim. Well done!

    3. Masi gift Masi fired, he should have followed the rules !

    4. Masi got Masi fired, he should have followed the rules !

    5. “Michael did a super job in many ways,” said Bayer, adding, “we definitely don’t want to lose him.”

      Translation: Masi will be race director (with added help) 7 weeks from now.

  2. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    28th January 2022, 16:13

    As if anyone else would’ve done it differently because their name isn’t Masi. It’s the same in football: the coach is always the first to go when the player mock it up. But hey, easy scapegoat for the FIA and F1.

    1. I’m pretty sure that few would have chosen to ignore all written procedure and make up a new one when there were perfectly valid methods written in the rules to deal with it while still meeting all unofficial agreements.

      While I don’t think “getting Masi fired” is the solution to current issues, I won’t be surprised or saddened to hear of it. If I caused the company I was working for the amount of bad publicity Masi has, I would be expected to leave. Bringing the company/organisation/sport into disrepute is a very serious matter, especially for someone in as high profile and senior a position as Masi.

      1. I’m pretty sure that few would have chosen to ignore all written procedure and make up a new one when there were perfectly valid methods written in the rules to deal with it while still meeting all unofficial agreements.

        That wasn’t the verdict of the Stewards. But I guess you know it better.

        Masi has been inconsistent throughout the season which is bad in any sport, but the rules allowed him to make those decisions.

        1. Salty Ham fans are exactly like Toto, they tell the version of the story that they think is true

          1. As opposed to those who want to believe Hamilton is controlling F1 events whilst sitting atop his mountain lair.

          2. You’re a bit of an i.diot, aren’t you.

          3. You’re a bit of a salty Ham fan, aren’t you? 😂

        2. That wasn’t the verdict of the Stewards. But I guess you know it better.

          Actually it’s exactly the verdict of the stewards, they just said he was allowed to do so.

          1. Speaking of allowing someone do something against the rules, can we also remember Lewis cutting the corner at lap 1 and not receiving a penalty?

          2. Lap 1 rules are always applied subjectively. Max caused Lewis to cut the corner, no further action needed.

          3. In fact, the stewards have given the Race Director unlimited power over the safety car. He can call it in while there’s a 15 car pile-up on the main straight– because he has final authority over the safety car the way 15.3 was interpreted by the stewards.

            Unfortunately, 15.3 merely give him the authority to override the clerk of the course– not to override the rest of the rulebook.

  3. Thrilled to hear the team bosses won’t be able to push their agenda on the race director’s channel.

    Also love the thought of not having to hear Massi’s voice.

    1. I have to admit I’m disappointed. I think its important for teams to have comms with the race director. It can be very good for both the teams and the spectators if used correctly.

      Bauer said that Masi was distracted by this and that, quite frankly, is on Masi. He should have the authority to either turn off the radio or delegate to someone else if he’s feeling the pressure. Make the comms sensible, don’t ban them completely.

    2. @reg Sporting directors can still talk to him, so just because TPs can’t doesn’t mean we won’t hear Masi’s voice during a race anymore.

    3. And Toto’s voice. Oh no, I kinda loved that ;-)

    4. “Also love the thought of not having to hear Massi’s voice.”

      Are you kidding? Masi’s “It’s called a motor race. We went car racing” radio message to Toto was the best broadcasted message of 2021. And that’s with some stiff competition from the plethora of “that’s some dangerous driving” messages coming from Hamilton’s in car radio.

  4. I don’t think he was the perfect fit anyway, 2021 was ra eal parody in term of how races were handled, consistency was just an excuse to bend the rules many many times.
    Under Masi rules were a moving target, I’m not surprised if Mercedes tried to appeal, you manage your race based on written rules, that Masi interpreted sometimes very strangely to say the least.

    1. Most of the inconsistency was caused by the stewards, not Masi.

      1. Except when Masi chose to make a deal with a team instead of referring the matter to the stewards as he said he had the authority to do. Who gets to make a deal and who gets to go to the back of the grid is sort of important.

        1. The deals happened before anyway – not just Masi – but the broadcast of the conversation is new

      2. Yes and no, the stewards are indeed ultimately the ones who hand out penalties and they can also decide to investigate incidents to their own without Masi asking them to. However, the race director has a huge role in how the game is played – and the stewards are aware of that.

        You’re not going to have a steward investigate every instance of a driver crossing the white lines if it’s a long standing tradition among F1 race directors to claim that this is all just fine and OK. Maybe F1 would be better off if the stewards took a bit more power for themselves, but that’s not how it has worked so far.

  5. Not any excess is good. Obviously Masi made lots of mistakes last season, and not only in Abu Dhabi. But hopefully whoever comes as a new director makes things better and in a fair way, and not fearing a witch hunt by Mercedes. It would be terrible that once again we see the Mercedes drivers be left with no penalties at all for shortening the track at the start (like Mexico some years ago) or let them mix the tyres without applying the supposed penalty (Bahrain 2020). Rules should be fair for everything and everyone. Last year was a mess-up since the very first race (and hopefully the new race director states once and for all that the only track limits are the white line, and stop the policing of some turns only).

    1. Don’t ever tell Mercedes fans that most of the times their drivers weren’t penalized for things they should have been penalized, fia and every race director has always been against mercedes in every way possible

      Forget the Mexico 2016, the in in in in, the first lap in Abu Dhabi

      1. Ahah, that one became a meme!

      2. the in in in in

        Sorry to ask but what am I missing here?
        Outrageous decisions favoring you know whom have been par for the course since Hungaroring 2007. How could Charlie Whiting look at himself in the mirror after the Hockenheim crane, I’ll never understand. But I have no idea what’s that “in in in in” about.

    2. @omarr-pepper Applying a penalty for the tyre mix-up was unnecessary as Russell pitted on the earliest possible opportunity, i.e., the next time he reached pit entry. A different story had he continued.

      1. So no penalty for breach of the rules, then @jerejj.
        Doesn’t matter what they did to remedy it or when they did it. The action of breaking the rules is what penalties are for, not the results.

        Do you want consistency or not?

        1. Funny they say the exact opposite thing when a non Mercedes driver is penalized in similar circumstances

          1. ^——- Expected reply is expected. Thanks for being consistent about one thing, at least.

  6. I’m not too upset about this. We as fans don’t know exactly what went on behind the scenes but what happened in Abu Dhabi was absolutely shocking and if the FIA have decided Masi was to blame then it is right that he should go.

    Now the far more important thing that needs to happen is the scrapping of the absurd agreement that says the Grand Prix should finish under green flags if at all possible, which was also to blame for the shambles in Abu Dhabi, but I am concerned that that will continue into 2022 and there will be more stupid red flags for minor incidents in the final few laps, whoever the race director is.

    1. Now the far more important thing that needs to happen is the scrapping of the absurd agreement that says the Grand Prix should finish under green flags if at all possible

      Looking at the article, I don’t think that’s going to happen. Nor does it look like the rules are going to be tightened around when the race director can ignore the rules and make up new ones.

      Personally, I would say that, as the teams all want to “finish under green flags”, the agreement needs to be replaced with defined rules to ensure this happens wherever possible. Probably the easiest way would be to force a red flag if the SC isn’t going to leave a green lap at the end, but there are other methods which would achieve the same result. Anything would do, as long as it is codified in the rules with a defined procedure which everyone knows and understands in advance, and not just left to someone to improvise on the spot.

      1. Exactly. Teams agreed to finish under green flag conditions where possible. They certainly didn’t agree for Masi to make up whatever rules he wanted to ensure it happened.

      2. is the scrapping of the absurd agreement that says the Grand Prix should finish under green flags if at all possible

        Seriously? I can’t think of many things worse than finishing behind a SC.

        I agree that the Red Flag rules (not the use of it) are bad for the sport, but It would be easy to adjust those rules to make them fairer to all competitors.

        1. I don’t really care either way (, but if we want to avoid finishing under SC, there need to be rules to cover this. We shouldn’t have people improvising new and unseen procedures. Put in place written rules and procedures to fit this situation, and then everything is known in advance unquestionably above board and reputable.

      3. @drmouse A standardized stoppage for a late-race SC neutralization (for show’s sake) would be overkill.
        I agree with @f1frog & @mmertens.
        This obsession with finishing a race under racing conditions at all costs has to stop.
        Races ending under neutralized conditions on rare occasions isn’t bad, so people should stop being unreasonable.
        The most recent race, finishing with SC coming in on the last lap, is the 2015 Chinese GP, which happened forever ago in F1 terms.
        People didn’t make a fuss at the time, Canada the season before, nor even Brazil in 2012 despite that race being a WDC-decider, but something changed post-2019.
        A red-flag stoppage should be a resort only when truly necessary & justifiable on safety grounds, not for something manageable under SC like pre-2020.
        For instance, Kubica’s 2007 Montreal shunt – yes, that would’ve led to red in the last two seasons, but proves how unnecessary most (or all bar Grosjean’s fiery exit) within the last two seasons were.

        1. @jerejj I agree, for me, it isn’t a big deal to finish under the SC.

          However, there are a large number of people who think it should be avoided. If it is to be avoided, it should be done by a set, defined procedure, not by allowing officials to make up something each time.

    2. I for one agree that the best would be to stop all these unnecessary red flags, it feels like cheating. Red flags in my view should be used only to major safety issues, not to finish a race under green. It’s clear that regulations need to be amended to better cover all possible scenarios and have clear guidelines for the future. Also, if red flag continues to be employed at large as currently is, the least they could do is to avoid the mega gimmick standing starts and also not allowing tire changes under red flags (unless for safety reasons; and let everyone do if so). And even if it’s not “entertaining”, races should be allowed to end under SC. Maybe anti climatic, but at least this will maintain the sporting integrity.

  7. He was only doing what he was paid to do. Now Liberty are going to scapegoat him?

    1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      28th January 2022, 17:40

      Masi did what the teams asked him to do, he used the discretion given to him by the rule book to finish the race under green flag condition.

      Only because Mercedes went into extreme sore loser mode, went completely overboard and way too far in their aggressive anti Masi PR campaign is FIA now blaming Masi.

      If Masi gets fired, Mercedes will continue their negatieve campaign rather than accept that this is racing and that they themselves are too blame for leaving Hamilton out on very old tires.

      1. @jelle-van-der-meer He played god by using his discretion right for entertainment purposes rather than something truly justifiable, i.e., safety.
        Furthermore, a green-flag finish didn’t even require unlapping, as starting the last lap with all lapped drivers in the mix was equally possible.

        1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
          28th January 2022, 18:24

          How is that any different that a referee giving a penalty or not
          How is that different than the stewards penalizing someone or not

          It is Masi’s control to oversee and control the safety car including ending it. So just did his job and followed the unanimous agreement from all teams that he should do all he can to avoid a behind the safety car finish.

          His only real error was his first call “lapped cars may not overtake”, all would have been fine if that had said “lapped cars may overtake”, this was during lap 56. Because the initial wrong call and delay, all had to be rushed during lap 57.

          1. @jelle-van-der-meer always comes out with this very biased viewpoint. I bet he would not be saying this if the roles were reversed and it was Lewis who caught Max on the final lap on old tyres.

            The rules or guidance were quite clear. He should have let all of the lapped cars unlap themselves or none of them. Not half and half. OK he needed to make the decision quickly and he was under pressure, incorrectly in my view. However, he was watching the race. He must understand how cars and their tyres work. If he had only thought about it for a few seconds, he must have realised that Lewis was going to be a sitting duck for Max, on old tyres. Basically, and not deliberately I think, in effect he just handed the WDC to Max.

            A very bad error and I think it’s correct that his personal role in race management should be reconsidered. This is what the FIA are doing.

          2. “So just did his job and followed the unanimous agreement from all teams that he should do all he can to avoid a behind the safety car finish.”

            the teams did not agree that avoiding SC finish must be done by breaking the rules. The rules are clear, as Mr Masi said: “there’s a requirement in the sporting regulations, to wave all lapped cars past” and the other requirement is that SC can come in only 1 lap after that.

          3. However, he was watching the race. He must understand how cars and their tyres work. If he had only thought about it for a few seconds, he must have realised that Lewis was going to be a sitting duck for Max, on old tyres. Basically, and not deliberately I think, in effect he just handed the WDC to Max.

            And you state that other people are biased…..

            You are saying that if Masi knows about cars and tyres, then he should have given an unnecessary and very unusual advantage of having lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen?

            What Masi did was make a (legal and agreed upon by all competitors and the FIA) decision to resume the race as quickly and fairly as possible regardless of their tyre condition.
            There’s sporting integrity right there, if that’s what you want.

            Or do you just want Hamilton to win instead, regardless of what’s right?

          4. @ S

            I don’t think the state of the tyres should have been considered.

            However, given that there was a written and precedented procedure which allowed the race to restart, he should not have used his “god powers” to invent a brand new, unseen procedure which ignored all written procedures and granted a massive advantage to one car on the grid.

          5. It didn’t “grant a massive advantage” to one car though, @drmouse.
            It allowed racing to resume – as previously agreed with the teams and the FIA – and the team who was best prepared for that won the race. The other team, who had declined two (2) opportunities to pit for fresh tyres, did not win the race due primarily to their own preference for track position.

            You can keep saying the rules were broken all you want to (although the rule-makers and administrators themselves disagree with you) – but that doesn’t change the fact that Mercedes simply chose the wrong strategy.
            I have 100% confidence that Masi didn’t care what the results would be, only that he was ‘required’ (under those circumstances above requested by the teams and the FIA) to get the race going again for a competitive final lap to finish under green.
            That’s totally different to your view of handing someone an advantage.

          6. Yes, he did.

            At the point he made the call, there was an option, following written procedures and previous precedents precedents, to allow the race to finish under green flags: not allowing lapped cars through. This would have left Max needing to pass the lapped cars before being able to attack Hamilton. He would have done this pretty quickly, but it would have allowed Lewis time to build a small gap and warm his tyres before having to defend.

            The other option available using written procedures and previous precedents would have left the race finishing under the safety car.

            Instead, a brands new, unseen procedure was invented which removed the lapped runners. That is a massive advantage over either written procedure. It allowed Max to attack Lewis from the very first corner.

            In fact, it even gave him an advantage over lapped cars being all cleared earlier, as it left lapped cars between him and Sainz, protecting him from any possibility of attack from behind.

            How can you say that this didn’t hand Max an advantage?

          7. Note that, as I’ve said several times, I don’t think he purposely acted to hand Max the win. However, what he did categorically handed Max a massive advantage over all written and previously seen procedures.

      2. He is not supposed to do what the teams asked him to do. He is supposed to follow the rule book.

  8. Mark my words. We are going to miss Masi. The new FIA boss has its own agenda hand by hand with Liberty. Liberty wants an US-centric F1. The money spent in racing in the US (and in entertainment in general) is bigger than anything else, and it is the real target. Soon we are going to see F1 development centers in the US, US rules, US gimmicks to attract US audience. This requires an US referee. How soon? I don’t know. But it is the path.

    1. @f180 so Mazepin and Haas champions this season?

      1. Nikita was not an US citizen last time I checked

  9. This is interesting…

    “We will abolish the ordeal of the race management and make massive changes,” said Bayer. “The team bosses will no longer be able to tune in on this channel. In future, the race director will be able to concentrate on his task and will no longer be distracted.”

    1. The team principals will then start hacking to bypass this limit and lobby the race director!

    2. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      28th January 2022, 17:42

      Yeah just ban Toto all together, he adds only negativity and controversy.
      He is a bad PR image for the sport and his frequent outbursts are a horrible example for the younger fans

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        28th January 2022, 18:00


        But he’s good for sales of headphones and tables :-)

        I personally love his outbursts! It’s nice to have team principals with a personality.

        The Horner/Abiteboul moments in Drive to Survive are some of the best moments of Reality TV.

        Also seeing Gunther Steiner receive a swear jar from a fan is going to be a classic.

        1. “But he’s good for sales of headphones and tables :-)”

          Bose doesn’t seem to agree with you. They pulled their sponsorship.

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            29th January 2022, 14:47

            Did they really? Seeing Toto smash those cans was probably the most iconic and emotional moment involving a pair of headphones.

  10. RandomMallard
    28th January 2022, 16:56

    I’m going to say this appears to be an encouraging start, but will certainly be cautious not to read too much into this.

    I’ll start with the obvious positives, particularly ending Team-to-RD radio. My understanding is that the teams will still be able to contact the FIA, but not the RD themselves, it would go to someone else to deal with (I think). Additionally, I like the idea of an FIA ‘mission control’ to allow individual people to focus on their own individual tasks and to support the RD, and definitely think the RD role should be split further. That’s the thing about the RD role now: Charlie grew that role, and grew with it, but it grew to the point where one person could not take over all of it. And I know they (quite rightly) split off the technical side to Tombazis, but I do think that Bayer’s idea of splitting Sporting, Safety and other responsibilities in the right direction.

    So for now I would say I’m cautiously optimistic.

    1. The teams already have a nominated person to talk to the RD. The Mercedes man is Ron Meadow, and all of them have an understanding of the rule book.
      The Team Boss/Masi thing was driven by the entertainment factor. Team bosses, Brawn, etc admitted immediately after AD that it was a bad idea and should go.

      1. RandomMallard
        28th January 2022, 18:36

        Sorry I didn’t phrase that right at my end. I meant my understanding is that there will now be someone at the FIA (other than the race director themselves) whose job will be to listen to and respond to the team radio, so that the RD isn’t constantly getting bombarded by the teams (whoever is on the teams’ end of the line).

  11. It’s probably for the best for Masi to step aside and let somebody else try to follow into Charlie Whiting’s footsteps. Michael Masi has damaged his reputation too much towards the end of last season, not just with his wrong calls, but also with the lack of authority he seems to show.
    Dividing the position of race director into two or three roles seems inevitable to me: one main race director who focuses on running the race smoothly and safely, a co-race director who handles all the communication with team bosses/sporting directors and the stewards, plus a consultant who knows every rule and every exception in the sporting regulations.
    Let’s hope for the best, but I’m not overly optimistic the FIA will find a decent solution.

    1. “The various tasks of the race director, who is also sports director, safety and course delegate, will be divided up,” said Bayer. “That was just too much.” The FIA is also looking into emulating the teams’ ‘mission control’ facilities to give remote support to the race director.

      Seems that the recollection was that Charlie Whiting perform these multiple tasks with minimal fuss and complaints.?
      Dividing up the rolls will likely result in 2, 3 or 4 people and one to oversee the lot. That should be fun.

      1. @rekibsn
        Charlie was one of a kind. A racer, politician and a lawyer all at once. It could only go wrong with Michael Masi, who seemed overwhelmed with all the tasks and issues he needed to manage as race director.
        Dividing the tasks will be crucial, but the FIA should make sure it doesn’t get too complicated. We all know they’re great at keeping things simple ;)

        Two or three people are definitely enough to handle this challenge. I fear the guys at the FIA are already approaching this matter in an unnecessarily complicated way, before they even did anything.

  12. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    28th January 2022, 17:11

    Surprise, surprise!

  13. Unpopular opinion it might be, but the man doesn’t deserve to lose his job over this. Removing him essentially justifies the opinion that what happened in Abu Dhabi was incorrect, down to his choice or mishandled and if that’s true then the question of why the result is allowed to stand is valid and would obviously call into question the legitimacy of Verstappen’s title. This opens an enormously dangerous and enormously unfair can of worms.

    The role of the race director needs adapting. No more lobbying from team-bosses and arguably considerably more support and assistance than it was given. But the guy should not lose his job, not at all.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      28th January 2022, 17:34

      @rocketpanda as Mercedes said, the result could not be overturned.

      As for lobbying, Horner led us to this mess as his conversations with Messi resembled a politician trying to strong-arm a subordinate or someone who’s compromised.

      Masi had to go because if he wasn’t acting on someone else’s behalf, then the only other possibility is that he was compromised and couldn’t do his job as race director.

      The sport couldn’t take a chance with him in 2022. I suppose they could have a second person there to veto Masi’s calls but if you’re doing that, why not replace him and what’s the point of having a race director who’s 2nd in command?

      He hasn’t lost his job – if anything, he stands to double his income as at least one party needs to hire him so he won’t spill the beans.

      1. Toto (on lap 37): “Mikey, please no safety car. Interferes in the race. Please not”.

    2. @rocketpanda As @freelittlebirds says, he doesn’t need to lose his job and surely wouldn’t. There needs to be some quality control in the race director position and FIA/Liberty need to be able to move the person ‘aside,’ allocate them to a different role, if they mess up too much.

      Maybe the real issue is the double job that was given to Masi: his primary concern, overriding, should be the safety of everyone at the race track. His secondary concern should be to ensure fair application of the regulations. However, pressure was clearly applied for him to ‘spice up’ the racing where possible. And that mandate has too frequently been at the cost of the first two concerns over recent seasons.

    3. @rocketpanda when you say that “Removing him essentially justifies the opinion that what happened in Abu Dhabi was incorrect, down to his choice or mishandled” – Bayer himself has made subsequent comments indicating that, if Mercedes had continued with their appeal, the panel of judges might well have declared the entire race null and void on the grounds that Masi deviated sufficiently far from the regulations that the race was violating the FIA’s own regulations.

      If the FIA is saying that its own race director is potentially taking decisions that means that he is breaching the very regulations that they are meant to uphold, then you have a fundamental issue that really cannot be ignored – because it then means that you’re casting doubt on any race result from that point forward, given that the FIA itself has indicated that the judgement of its own race director cannot be guaranteed to be in compliance with its own regulations.

      1. “Bayer himself has made subsequent comments indicating that, if Mercedes had continued with their appeal, the panel of judges might well have declared the entire race null and void on the grounds that Masi deviated sufficiently far from the regulations that the race was violating the FIA’s own regulations.”

        And Max would have won the WDC on a countback. Problem solved.

      2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        29th January 2022, 14:59

        I think it’s crystal clear to the entire galaxy (not just planet Earth) that what happened at Abu Dhabi was incorrect. The word Masi is now universal code for a huge blunder. When we encounter a new civilization, we’ll be able to communicate with them using the word Masi :-)

    4. Masi had to go because if he wasn’t acting on someone else’s behalf, then the only other possibility is that he was compromised and couldn’t do his job as race director.

      Team A says: “We want X.”
      Team B says: “We want Y.”
      Race director has to make a decision – whichever one he chooses, and regardless of why he chooses it – somebody will inevitably say he was influenced or manipulated.

      Once you accept that reality, everything makes more sense.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        29th January 2022, 14:50

        Not quite, Masi changed his mind. Clearly the Race Director shouldn’t care what a team wants. Every team will demand that they win the race but the Race Director can’t promote a Haas to P1 to make that happen.

        1. Not only did he not promote anyone to P1, @freelittlebirds, but he didn’t deny it from anyone either.
          They raced for it – and it was won with strategy and racecraft.

          1. With hindsight the best way mercedes had to prevent this was pitting during the VSC, probably would’ve slightly lost track position but they still had the fastest car, in any case it took 2 unlucky events for them to lose it.

  14. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    28th January 2022, 17:32

    A sad day that a F1 team determines who works at the FIA.

    Find it still odd that Toto’s angry out burst both vocally as physically has not been dealt with through severe punishment.
    Toto Wolff is a cancer in F1 and should be removed ASAP.

    1. If Toto controls the FIA, F1, Liberty, his two other Mercedes team partners, all Mercedes shod teams, etc. etc. as you seem to think, who is going to remove him?

      1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
        28th January 2022, 17:44

        Fair point but Toto has far too much power, too many roles and his fingers into too many pies.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          28th January 2022, 17:47

          @jelle-van-der-meer actually, this season has proven that Mercedes has zero control over the sport.

          Much less than Ferrari who owned F1 until a month ago. And definitely much less than Red Bull.

          If I had to break it by percentage, I would say:

          Ferrari 50%
          Red Bull 40%
          Mercedes 10% (and that’s generous)

          Mercedes probably are planning to get in line with the sport since clearly championships can be decided based on who you know, not how you drive.

          1. “Mercedes 10% (and that’s generous)”

            Put down the pipe. You’ve had enough.

          2. Absolutely false, mercedes is probably the team that has most influence, say 50.

        2. Mind you if Toto does indeed control 90% of F1 as you believe you would think he would have Masi in his pocket. Hopefully this season he will rectify that.

          1. Don’t try to talk sense to minds already made up :)

          2. He had most of the times. People that are crying over Masi handing the WDC to Verstappen forget that Hamilton was allowed to be in that position thanks to a “freestyle” interpretation of the track limits made by Masi in the first lap.

    2. I’m not a Toto fan, but calling him a cancer is very strong and not fair. He has build a very strong F1 team that has set the bar very high for the competition. With Hamilton in the car they build a legacy in past years.

      It makes the WDC for Verstappen last year shine even more.

      Don’t forget that, if you look back at these years in Formula 1 and the very hot rivalery between LH/Mercedes and MV/Red Bull, they made each other look great. With many battles on and off track to remember.

    3. Toto Wolff is a cancer

      Please don’t insult cancer

  15. This would make a great end-of-credits scene for Netflix…
    I can already imagine the last episode with Lewis giving an “exclusive” interview and then finishing off the season with the announcement that Masi was sacked.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      28th January 2022, 17:52

      @mantresx an exclusive interview with Lewis – wow, that’s hollywood gold there

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      28th January 2022, 18:04

      My son showed me that – Daniel’s grin, he nailed that ;-)

      1. Lol that’s great, thanks.

  16. Speaks volumes. Looking forward to the changes for 2022.

  17. Masi lost the plot at more than one point over the 2021 season, especially Brazil where he went with ‘nothing to see here’ when Max went a huge amount wide to defend against Lewis, an absurd decision, and of course the last minutes of Abu Dhabi. However, I’m opposed to organisations letting individuals take the blame when the problem is structural. So is it? Yes and no. I think (a) teams shouldn’t be able to harass the race director during races, there needs to be some kind of ‘buffer’ to filter their access and allow more unpressurized decisions, and (b) the director needs better support in general. The racing regulations could also do with clarifying. However, I don’t think that excuses Masi over Abu Dhabi and allowing just some of the lapped drivers to unlap, which was simply bizarre. There is no scenario in which that makes sense. He made that up and he did so knowing full well it passed a huge, virtually unbeatable advantage to Verstappen. That combination of intervening arbitrarily and knowing it favoured one driver to a huge extent was inexcusable and he should be replaced.

  18. Disallowing TP-RD communication is good, but avoiding an SC finish doesn’t require any unlapping, a fact people seemingly still fail to address.

  19. He really needs to be moved on and a new Race Director and new procedures put in place. If F1 continued to have dodgy decisions littered across the season much more then it truly would lose its appeal to me. I don’t really ever remember the stewarding and race control decisions ever being so constantly discussed before. Usually they were more or less spot on and made sense but it’s gone off the rails since the sad passing of Charlie Whiting. Hopefully they right the ship. We just want fairness and some level of consistency so everyone knows where they stand.

    1. @davidhunter13
      As far as I remember, while I don’t want to talk bad about those who left us, Charlie Whiting was equally involved in controversies for his actions as a race director. Charile was a pillar of the sport don’t get me wrong, a technical dictator that earned the respect of the teams even when they disagreed with him. Though he was far from perfect.

      I remember the non-sense drive through penalty he gave to Alonso in the 2010 British GP and his post race statements that pushed Ferrari to contradict him releasing the transcript of the conversation and of course the SC handling in Valencia the same year that pushed the FIA to improve the SC deployment procedure. Two episodes that costed Ferrari the WDC that year. Something you don’t expect from someone who has been involved in the sport for 3 decades at the time.

      The main reason why Masi was criminalized is that F1 is a British environment. Also the Mercedes PR machine with Mr “No Mickey no that was so not right” onboard played a significant role. If the victim of Masi’s actions was any other non British/Mercedes driver, no one would care. If Ferrari was involved they would have been slammed for making a disastrous strategic error by leaving their driver as a sitting duck on an old set of hard tyres…

  20. It was when I saw him on the Saudi track that weekend personally supervising track broom sweepers after (or maybe during) one of ill-fated F2 or F3 sessions, including showing them how to do it, when I realized this guy had lost the plot long ago.

    1. He’s the FIA safety delegate, Ed….
      He’s one of the FIA team who assesses the track design and build in the first place. OF course he’s going to make sure it’s safe for racing on.
      That’s his job.

  21. He should be paid more money, and then promoted to a job with a great sounding job title that isn’t anything to do with making decisions in Formula 1 or live races.

  22. I’m surprised there was no mention of Bayer stating that had Mercedes followed through with their appeal the courts would have ruled that Masi had failed to follow the rules. That’s a pretty damning admission.

  23. NeverElectric
    28th January 2022, 21:52

    Masi messed up. He has to go. Good that it appears he’ll be binned.
    With the ridiculous inconsistency and the snide remarks that are the hallmark of his time as RD, it will be good riddance.
    Dump him!

  24. “Noo Mikey noo! That was sooooooo not right!”

  25. Good news, but Masi is only part of the problem, the stewards in Brazil for example took to some mighty strange interpretations of the rule book. There needs to be more consistency all round.

    1. And Masi did the same in Brazil by not even referring the T4 excursion to the stewards, and his response to a legitimate question by Meadows on this was a word salad that had everyone inc. the commentary scratching their heads. Not forgetting at the following drivers briefing we had half the drivers inc. GPDA reps saying they had no clue where we were on the rule book anymore.
      Take AD out of the equation and Masi’s worsening performance since taking the job would still be a major issue.
      The problem with Masi staying is that he will now be the story every time we have an on track incident.

  26. I am firmly against firing people from making a mistake.

    Sure, if the mistake is part of a routine menial task with little significance, it indicates incompetence, but in a situation as this Michael is clearly not incompetent. The FIA will know more than we ever will about the pressures of running a Formula 1 World Championship showdown, and is clearly an exceptional circumstance.

    I don’t see the point in firing somebody on the basis of these scenarios, whether in F1, manufacturing, politics, whatever. These scenarios help find a way to do something new in a better way. Are you really going to get rid of the experience gained by that person and think another who doesn’t have that experience is going to do any better?

    Learn from the mistake and apply what you learned to your operations and support structures and move on. Don’t loose all that experience and know how just because an uneducated public demands it of you.

    1. Stop talking sense, @scottie.
      This site is a meeting place for the Masi lynch mob.

  27. I liked the guy, but after the last race… it’s over
    If he quits or gets ‘re-assigned’ it’s the same – it’s his fault, or the person who told him not to finish the race under safety car and that delivered Max the Championship…
    This is the biggest shame in F1 history. Other times it were drivers that provoque crashes… this time was the F1 organization itself…

    1. The teams said, before the race, to not finish the race under SC.

  28. Bold stand by the FIA, should we expect everyone that makes an error in the FIA to be fired now? You know, for consistency.

    1. Firing the leadership every year or two has worked so well for Ferrari – why not within the FIA too?

      Oh, wait a second….

  29. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    29th January 2022, 5:27

    @rinodina that’s because Horner had been talking to Masi more than Crofty on Sky sports over the season.

    1. I nominate @freelittlebirds as the most Mercedes/Hamilton-biased user on this site.
      I am truly impressed at the complete inability and unwillingness to even try to be centred and balanced, and the ever-present ability to make me wonder if the comments are actually genuine or just a joke.

      1. Yes, he’s probably the most biased, although there are a few who might be competitive in this metric.

  30. So the FIA is going to bend the knee to Toto and Mercedes?
    That’s a bunch of very very weak tea.

    Its also quite telling that these F1 teams speak about no blame culture, working together to prevent mistakes from happening and it being a learning process.
    The moment they get the bad end of the stick, they act like its the end of the world.

    Emotionally its at a kindergarten level, it might be very entertaining but still..

    1. No they are not going to bend their knee to Toto or Mercedes. In the same way they are not going to bend their knee to a few Hamilton fans on some F1 forum, or bend for some who can’t even get their moans on Twitter trending.
      But I do understand why you and others need to believe that sort of thing.

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