FIA confirms replacement of Masi and changes to race control after Abu Dhabi row

2022 F1 season

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The FIA has confirmed Formula 1 race director Michael Masi will not continue in the role following its investigation into the handling of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The F1 race director role will be shared by World Endurance Championship race director Eduardo Freitas and DTM race director Niels Wittich as of next week’s pre-season test.

In a video issued by the sport’s governing body, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem also announced a raft of changes to race control, including revisions to the unlapping procedure which was at the heart of the controversial end to the 2021 world championship.

The FIA will also introduce a new virtual race control room which Ben Sulayem likened to the video assistance referee (VAR) used in football.

Ben Sulayem’s announcement followed a meeting of the F1 Commission in London earlier this week at which the outcomes of its inquiry into the Abu Dhabi debacle were discussed.

“During the F1 Commission meeting in London, I presented part of my plan for a new step forward in Formula 1 refereeing,” said Ben Sulayem. “Drawing conclusions from the detailed analysis of the events of the last F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and from the 2021 season, I proposed an in-depth reform of the organisation of refereeing and race direction.”

Ben Sulayem said his plan “was unanimously supported by the F1 CEO and team’s principles.”

“Firstly, to assess the race director and the decision making process, a virtual race control room will be created,” he explained. “Like the video assistant referee, VAR and football. It will be positioned in one of the FIA offices as a back-up outside the circuit. In real-time connection with the FIA F1 race director it will help to apply the sporting regulations using the most modern technological tools.

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“Secondly, direct radio communications during the race, currently broadcast live by all TVs, will be removed in order to protect the race director from any pressure and allow him to take decisions peacefully. It will be still possible to ask questions to the race director, according to a well-defined and non-intrusive process.

“Thirdly, unlapping procedures behind safety car will be reassessed by the F1 Sporting Advisory Committee and presented to the next F1 Commission prior to the start of the season.

“And finally, 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 the race director, assisted by Herbie Blash as permanent senior adviser. 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.”

Ben Sulayem, who replaced former president Jean Todt last December, said the plan “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, organisers, 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.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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202 comments on “FIA confirms replacement of Masi and changes to race control after Abu Dhabi row”

  1. Niels Wittich, the race director in the ONLY series in the world that had a more farcical title decideder than F1, DTM, to be co-race director? What a joke.

    1. Bringing Herbie Blash out of retirement also stinks of sticking plaster on a leaking warhead. Temporary, poor fix.

    2. This is just a punitive exercise. Masi is being punished, regardless of whether suitable replacements were available, and not on merit. Whether that’s fair or not is in the middle.

      1. Can’t disagree with you there.

      2. i am wondering if even Masi himself wanted to continue as race director after last season. Must have been an immerse pressure on him just based on the radio messages broadcasted. There must have been more. Maybe he also got a few not so nice messages from fans, similar to Latifi..

        1. Constantijn Blondel
          17th February 2022, 14:14

          Good point …

        2. Indeed, if I was Masi I’d resign.

        3. Certainly could be and good for him if that’s the case.

      3. So 2 laps earlier, not 3. And if it were 2 laps left, according to the rules, unlapping would have been during lap 57 and then the SC would be called in at the end of the next lap. Right?

        1. Obviously misplaced comment… Sorry

      4. It’s pretty clear the FIA’s integrity is on the line here and Masi was just part of the problem. He had to go.

      5. @hahostolze months before that race, the teams are reported as having collectively informed the FIA that they were deeply unhappy with Masi’s governance and made an explicit request that Eduardo Freitas was given Masi’s job instead.

        Between complaints about inconsistent advice to the teams, contradictory information during drivers briefings and major concerns about the safety breaches at races such as Imola in 2020, where we had the near miss between the marshals and drivers, the teams are reported as having collectively informed the FIA more than once last year that they were rapidly losing trust in Masi and that he either needed to split his role or should be removed from his role altogether.

        Even without Abu Dhabi, it seems that the teams had already lost most of their confidence in Masi’s ability to safely and consistently manage races. As such, it sounds like it was more of a matter of when, not if, Masi was going to be replaced – Abu Dhabi seems to have just brought forward what seems to have been an inevitable change due to major questions being raised about his competence and suitability for that role in the first place.

        1. Nice to know.

          It would be nice to have those details in the open instead of misinforming only to generate the clicks.

        2. Can you provide a link to those “Reports”?

          I read far and wide and I haven’t seen anyone reporting that. There is heaps of he said she said about he might have said this and they might have said that, but I have never heard any suggestion anywhere that all the teams came together to say this.

          The teams couldn’t come together to agree on the colour that the sky is let alone anything to do with the race director. If Ferrari said one thing, Red bull would just automatically say something else on principal. That leads me to believe this is made up news.

    3. Well Mercedes now have a race-director in place who will favor them, just like DTM in 2021.

      I agree Masi should be replaced as he made too many mistakes over the whole 2021 starting racing 1 and finishing in style the last race.

    4. FlyingLobster27
      17th February 2022, 15:59

      Not only the DTM race director, but the WEC race director too. So we have guys from both series that I absolutely avoid like the plague because team orders are so common.
      To be fair though, that’s a team/manufacturer culture, not a race control culture. Race directors can’t do anything about it, unless there’s a rule that allows them to report it to the stewards. DTM has just decided they’ll have a rule to ban team orders (it’s taken them 23 years to make a stand, good job), but we know how enforceable that’ll be. Yeah, I’ll stay away for now.

      As I’ve said before, I don’t think F1 needed a new race director, but it needed a better one, someone with a firm grip on elementary procedures and capable of rebuking team principals. That could have been Masi if he’d promised to set his mind to it, but he’d have kind of been on probation had he stayed on, so I get it. Freitas sounds like a solid choice, he was quite a revelation for his clear style of communication in running of WEC races in its early years and has a good chance of stamping some authority on the field. Don’t know anything about Wittich.

    5. So you can feel the mercedes influence on this decision.
      They already threw Masi for the bus earlier..
      So Mercedes probably likes the way DTM races are run..

      1. How is this Mercedes influence or the FIA trying to restore some confidence in their adminstration.

        1. Mercedes got Masi sacked and received the best Mercedes Race director they could have wished for.

      2. Still here 😘

    6. I don’t think you can blame the DTM race director for their finale in the same way you could for F1. I think DTM was a case for the stewards to consider, I don’t think the rave director could, or should, have done anything differently.

    7. Too bad for Masi. It must be hard to deal with being fired for doing the job that you were hired to do perfectly.

  2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    17th February 2022, 13:27

    Ok boys the Ferrari has released the Ferrari has released!
    Send the press statement go go go!!!!

    1. It is very cheeky and the kind of move you usually see in politics.. :/

    2. Haha my thoughts as well, Ferrari bosses must be (rightfully) angry that the media attention is immediately stolen from them. And it’s not like the FIA didn’t have a free day yesterday with no car reveals to announce this.

    3. You are spot on.
      I posted the very first comment criticizing Masi on this platform, before his first race.
      My first critique was that f1 had lost the opportunity to revamp Charlie’s “office”. You can’t replace Charlie with a Mikey.
      I often compared fia’s comms with wec’s, where the race director addresses everyone at the same time.
      Now back to Masi.
      After a slew of massive mistakes much more important than Abu dhabi followed, Masi finally got the sack.
      Masi’s sausage kerb placement almost killed a couple drivers and his handling of a driver with a broken neck is probably his worst offence. Meanwhile spa f2 happened. Spa f1 also happened and the whole 2021 season happened.
      I think it is a shame that Masi got replaced as a result of the aftermath of his bravest decision, and perhaps the only time Masi corrected a call of his.
      The mistake of announcing prematurely that lapped cars would not be allowed to unlap and thus sealing mercs title was not going to look good, especially after many merc favouring calls throughout 2021. On the other hand he would have lived. Now, bravely bodging this bad premature call generated a far worse look. Sporting wise I rather have the finale we had than the original call. I don’t think having the whole field unlap instead of a few cars would have mattered for public opinion.
      Masi went against merc, he went against the establishment.
      The message to take here is that if you make a mistake, deny it, blame it on someone else or pretend it never happened.
      Farewell Masi and thanks for not totally ruinning 2021.

      1. “The mistake of announcing prematurely that lapped cars would not be allowed to unlap and thus sealing mercs title was not going to look good, especially after many merc favouring calls throughout 2021. On the other hand he would have lived. Now, bravely bodging this bad premature call generated a far worse look. Sporting wise I rather have the finale we had than the original call. I don’t think having the whole field unla” it doesnt matter if its look good or not, all it matters he follows the rules to the letter.

      2. Masi did not prematurely tell cars not to unlap, the car on the track was on fire and hence needed marshalls to attend it, you can’t release lapped cars to get out of the way while there is still clean up going on.

        The correct process as per the rules should have been the safety car to come in as soon as possible and with a decision made for lapped cars to be allowed to pass or not.

        If lapped cars were to be allowed to pass then that should have been done as soon as it was safe to do so and then the green flag should have been given on the next lap after that instruction. If you decided to not unlap the cars then you could green flag the race a lap sooner.

        What we got was not written anywhere in the rule book and had no precedent in what was arguable the most important moment for the championship battle of the year. Whenever you do not follow the rules in a sport there will always be an outrage. What we got was a shocking sporting injustice perpetuated for the show with little regard for the reputation of the sport. I’d have said the same had the result been the other way round too.

        1. 100%

        2. It wasn’t in the rule book but in the end it didn’t change much.

      3. At least he corrected somehow, but yeah that’s what happens when you go against the establishment.

  3. Yeah positive changes, I feel for Masi as he was handicapped by an old school, unfit for purpose race directing framework and operational processes. Add the pressure of having teams on the phone to him constantly, that was always going to be a challenge. I still think the decision to let the cars between Lewis and Max was the right one, they should tweak the regulations to allow for that.

    1. I still think the decision to let the cars between Lewis and Max was the right one

      While leaving the rest? I’d like to know why you think so?

      1. Funnily enough, I think cherry-picking some unlapped cars to unlap and other unlapped cars not to… was very much a wrong, inherently unsporting and ratings-thirsty decision. Enshrining it in the regulations would give the RD unchecked power to manipulate the result whenever they saw fit, which is precisely what all the uproar is about in the first place.

        1. Apologies, was trying to respond to the OP.

      2. No problem. Needless to say, I completely agree with you.

    2. What about the decision to bring the SC in a lap earlier than the regulations stated?

    3. Funnily enough, I think cherry-picking some unlapped cars to unlap and other unlapped cars not to… was very much a wrong, inherently unsporting and ratings-thirsty decision. Enshrining it in the regulations would give the RD unchecked power to manipulate the result whenever they saw fit, which is precisely what all the uproar is about in the first place.

    4. Masi made the wrong decision, one the rules say he shouldn’t have made, and did it straight after Red Bull suggested he did so.

      He’s lucky if he ever works again!

      1. I really hope they don’t give him the WEC Race Director’s job ….

        1. What with up to 3 safety cars to control? God I hope they don’t also.

      2. @sonnycrockett
        If what you’re implying about Masi being biased towards RBR is true then he might land his next job with them.

      3. and did it straight after Red Bull suggested he did so.

        Come on, @sonnycrockett.
        If I tell you to eat breakfast, and then you eat breakfast, you’ve only done it because I told you too….?


        1. The way it happened, it certainly did appear that he was following Horner’s suggestion and denying Wolff’s.

          1. @freelittlebirds
            That’s because he also followed Wolff’s suggestion earlier in the race when he blatantly told him not to bring the SC but some seems only to remember the situations that goes well with their narrative.

          2. @tifoso1989 sorry but the Horner-Masi conversations almost seemed like lovebirds. Wolff felt like a third and very unwanted wheel :-) That’s the way things appeared to me.

          3. That’s the way things appeared to me.

            Given all the other things you post here, that doesn’t come as a surprise at all, @freelittlebirds.

      4. @sonnycrockett I think you are well aware that we never get radio comm live, so you are making a big assumption not only with your ‘right after’ suggestion, but you are also being highly insulting towards Masi in suggesting he was biased in RBR’s favour. Biased towards not having the season end under caution perhaps, but biased towards one team? There’s nothing to support that other than out of bitterness.

        1. Masi wasn’t biased per se, and yes we don’t get live radio comms and this was all helped along by the “agreement” teams want a to finish under a green flag

          However, the comms are delayed and this made the timing pretty close to what happened on track that’s it’s not a good look at all for Masi.

          Look, as has been said on many a opinion o this. For RB fans its very hard to argue against all without sounding bitter. It’s far, far from that. If you don’t think Masi did anything wrong then there is bias, not not in the place those fans think.

    5. @pmccarthy_is_a_legend that should not be on the rules but I agree that the decision of going back on the initial call of, prematurely, calling that unlap cars would not be allowed to overtake was correct.
      @sonnycrockett masi made his initial call just after merc rang him saying there was not enough time to restart the race.

  4. Well I think that was the only reasonable outcome. No offence to Masi but whatever happened at that last race was a monumental cock-up and will be argued over for years to come. First race of the season you could overlook, but deciding the title like that is just not great for anyone, even for Max.

    1. So are you saying that the 1st race of the season is less important for the championship than the last? In my opinion the title is decided not in just 1 race but in all of them.

      1. @mcbosch Absolutely not – but I think many people would be able to hand wave it away easier at the start of the season.

      2. Simply put, it would never have happened in the first race of the season, it would have ended under the safety car (as it should have in Abu Dhabi). This is why the whole thing reeks – it should never have happened at any point in any race on the calendar – but because a grand finale was desired and there was an all-consuming desire force a final lap, rules were broken to crowbar it in.

        1. @effwon Sure but there is certainly no small number of fans that would also have a lot more understanding and patience for a race earlier on in the season ending behind a safety car, than for the last race. Just saying it isn’t just Masi and F1/FIA that would have preferred the season not end under caution. They do take license here and there and it is acceptable by most it would seem eg. some leeway given to the drivers in first lap incidents that would go punished if it happened after the first lap. Not speaking of AD specifically, but there is a notion of ‘let them race’ out there that the teams and millions of fans who don’t want to see everything adjudicated and decided in a room after the race, that is going to make for some shades of grey here and there, and I for one certainly do not want F1 to be black and white, cut and dry like tennis with it’s laser eyes on the lines. I don’t want to see drivers out there afraid to race for fear of endless penalties, and at the same time each encounter between drivers is unique.

      3. @mcbosch The race itself? No. Points are points.

        But decisions? Very much. Almost everything else is settled, the consequences of what you are doing is much better known.

    2. Agree, but every race counts. Now looking forward to clarification of the safety car rules. Would be nice to also see the clarification of where the edge of the track is and see it enforced.

      1. well according to the FIA’s own rulebook the edge of the track is defined by the white lines… You would think it would be pretty easy to monitor and enforce that rule…

        1. @mcbosch Yet for decades and decades now we have seen that it is not so easy, so there must be a reason for that. For me the reason is that we can’t be asking these gladiators to go out there and race the pinnacle of cars in the pinnacle of racing only to be penalized for every little touch of a line. This is not tennis. These are complex machines and we are asking these drivers to be daredevils in them, and thrill us or we won’t watch, and that’s going to cause a lot of contentious interaction between drivers and teams. Just saying…if it was so easy, and desirable, they would have done it years and years ago, that’s how long this has been discussed. Personally I don’t want ‘my’ F1 to be so black and white squeaky clean that the drivers are afraid to race.

    3. Agreed. And unfortunately, now that this is official, it confirms that Max’s WDC will always be tainted.

  5. I couldn’t see Michael Masi doing another briefing before a race weekend with Lewis Hamilton sitting in the audience, after what happened in Abu Dhabi. I think it was inevitable Masi had to go, at least if the FIA wanted to show that they’re willing to make some change. Let’s see how this restructuring pans out.

    1. Ruben “I couldn’t see Michael Masi doing another briefing before a race weekend with Lewis Hamilton sitting in the audience, after what happened in Abu Dhabi.” That is a compelling way to put it.

      1. Easy solution: Sack the driver

  6. Man… So we should wait for F1’s VAR everytime there’s an incident?

    All Masi did wrong was not letting the backmarker drivers to passed safety car three laps earlier.

    1. 3 laps earlier – before the track was clear?

      1. It was clear at the end of lap 56.

      2. 3 laps is not correct, but one lap before he could have done it, the track was clear and no one could have said anything aboout it. Now he pays for his mistake and making something so simple , complicated.

        1. @cosan As far as I am aware, there were still marshals on the track a lap earlier, and it’s been agreed that the track is not safe for the cars to unlap until the marshals are clear. This is because there were a few close calls the last time the lapped cars were allowed through with marshals still on track.

          1. @drmouse
            At the end of lap 56 when the cars went through the accident it was clear that the track was clear and the marshals were already behind the guardrails off the track. That’s the moment when the call of lapped cars should unlap themselves should have been issued and a whole lap with start finish line and two long straights is more than enough for all the cars to pass by and the race to resume with Verstappen behind Hamilton.

          2. I just rewatched the video, they could have let the lapped cars through during lap 56

          3. I haven’t rewatched, because I don’t want to see that travesty again, so have been going by what others have said.

            If the track was clear, he should have done so, but it certainly wouldn’t be the first time there was a slight delay in getting things going again. Also, that still doesn’t excuse the rest.

          4. Actually….

            At the end of lap 56 when the cars went through the accident it was clear that the track was clear and the marshals were already behind the guardrails off the track.

            This means that you are suggesting they start unlapping at the end of lap 56. This would have meant the last car unlaps during lap 57. Given the regulations state the SC shouldn’t come in until the end of the following lap, that would mean finishing under the SC still. For a green flag finish following the written procedures with lapped runners allowed through, he would need to have had all lapped cars through before the end of lap 56.

            This may well have been the reason for his delay. Masi knew that, following the written procedures, allowing the lapped runners through would have meant ending under the SC. Not letting them through would allow a green-flag finish, something all the competitors had said they wanted.

            The problem is that, towards the middle of lap 57 IIRC, he suddenly changed his mind, threw procedure out of the window and invented something new.

    2. All Masi did wrong was not letting the backmarker drivers to passed safety car three laps earlier.

      While marshals were still on the track? I’m pretty sure that there was outrage when they did that a couple of years ago and there were a few near misses, and everyone agreed that this shouldn’t be allowed until all the marshals were clear.

    3. Agreed, I don’t think the VAR aspect is a good thing.

      Masi just needed some guidance on how to apply rules. I don’t think he deserved the sack. And now the FIA have cast doubt on the legitimacy of their own championship.

      1. Masi changed his mind after the RBR race director instructed him what to do? Agree he was like A rabbit in the headlights

      2. Which IMO is as it should be and the first step toward correcting the problems. IMO the farce of the Spa non-race was just as bad if not worse and was a part of the reason 2021 will always have an ‘*’ for me. Now on to the discussion of track limits…. ;)

    4. @ruliemaulana He also brought the SC in one lap too early, in direct contradiction to the regulations.

  7. So the conclusion is that the role of race director was a bit too much for one person, especially with the team bosses pressuring/persuading him to make (or not make) certain decisions in an already stressful situation. And they are going to fix that. I feel Masi was (as expected) scapegoated here. Mercedes and Hamilton might feel a bit of redemption (or revenge) for him to be removed, but otherwise it’s a bit of a hollow move from the FIA and some might even feel they’re listening too much to Mercedes/Hamilton.

  8. Remarkably for the FIA these sound like sensible changes, though of course the proof will be in the implementation. Having Freitas on board is a huge win in my book.

    1. IT’s also a huge loss for the WEC …

  9. Some positives here, and it makes me slightly more hopeful that they may be planning to clear up the RD’s “God Powers” in a way which I can accept, but I’ll need to see confirmation and much more detail.

    I do think they still need to release the actual report in full, though.

    1. @drmouse So far nothing mentioned fixes the root problem.

      1. @fluxsource agreed. There is enough here to keep me watching for what happens, waiting to see whether they do fix the root problems, but not enough to convince me that they will. It’s still a waiting game, for me, see what happens and decide from there.

  10. As close to an admission of guilt as you’ll ever get from the FIA.

    1. Exactly, 100% what I thought when I saw the news.
      Masi put he whole season at the highest level of motor racing into disrepute to prioritize spectacle. The damage he helped to create is way bigger than whatever trending topic F1 was or the next Drive to Survive audience.
      Masi should have been sacked unceremoniously before Abu Dhabi, but the shambolic end of the season was way worse that anyone could have expected.

  11. A good decision to replace Masi but in a sense he paid the price for the bad/appalling behaviour of Red Bull and Mercedes, pressurizing and bullying him from both sides until he effectively lost the plot at the most critical point of the entire season. Personally I think some intervention should have been made after the weird decision at Brazil to leave MV unpenalized, which is where it started getting really out of hand. (And if anyone thinks this is partisan, I’d suggest that the break point is when a critical mass of drivers from other teams start complaining that they have no idea what the racing rules are anymore.) Over the next few races, it was clear Masi was under increasing pressure and neither Red Bull or Mercedes relented in their unsavoury cajoling and whining on the radio, far from it. Really, if that’s what they’re like, OK, but I don’t want to hear it. Filtering the communication seems by far the best idea in this ‘package’ of measures, along with better tech and HR support for the race director(s).

    1. +1 I had temporarily forgotten about Brazil. That and Spa were just as problematic for me as Abu Dhabi in terms of race legitimacy.

    2. The problem is that most of those decisions were from the stewards, not from Masi himself. IIRC Max’s manoeuvre in Brazil, for instance, was refered to the stewards, but they decided no investigation was necessary.

      Almost all of the controversial and confusing decisions were made by the stewards. Spa and Abu Dhabi were both Masi’s calls, and they were 2 of the most shocking, but none of this is addressing the massive increase in inconsistency of stewards decisions this year (and that’s in a sport where, for years, the most consistent thing has been the stewards’ inconsistency…)

      1. The problem is they sacked masi but did not solved the real problem.
        The stewarding is and always will be very inconsistent in this system.
        Did Max benefitted by the masi decision , lewis had a lot more inconsistent stewarding calls that seem to go unnoticed by the ham fans. It started with 29 times crossing the tracklimit with aprox 0.3s gained each time, until Verstappen did the same..
        So for now it still is a face if only Masi is seen as scapegoat.

      2. @drmouse I’m not so sure. If you listen to Masi’s comments, it sounds like a collective ‘we’ about not investigating the incident, not just the stewards. That gives me the impression that there is some kind of discussion between the race director and stewards on whether they should investigate – basically a joint decision, which Masi may therefore influence heavily (noting, in passing, that he repeated the Red Bull line about ‘let them race’). If the stewards decide to investigate, then it’s entirely up to them. Does that sound about right? This is Masi:

        “You judge the incident on its merits and you have a look at all of it. And let’s not forget, we have the overall ‘let them race’ principles, and looking at it all, with all of the angles that we had available, it was that philosophy was adopted.”

        1. @david-br Just to be clear though ‘let them race’ is hardly new nor hardly just a Red Bull thing. This has been discussed many many times over the years, usually when it has started to feel like the stewards were being too policey and teams and fans were expressing frustration at everything (or too much) being decided in the stewards’ room. Let’s not pretend ‘let them race’ is a phrase coined by Horner and thus repeated by Masi. Masi said it because all the teams talk about it and have for years. Further to that of course it usually takes a contentious rivalry throughout a season for that to become more frequent, significant and/or noticeable, ‘that’ being the concept to just let them race. Eg at Mercedes in 2016 there were incidents between LH and NR that the stewards decided to let TW deal with and were thus deemed racing incidents, rather than the stewards deciding how to deal with two combatant teammates.

          1. @robbie No it’s a good point I accept in principle, we should favour ‘let them race.’ However, we know that teams will push literally any envelope available to them and in this case it simply wasn’t (in my view and that of many or most people) acceptable that MV forced LH off track by going well wide himself. My point was that Masi did, no doubt unintentionally, repeat what he’d just heard from Red Bull, almost unthinkingly given the context (in my view). As for LH and NR, it’s not the same, sorry. Drivers on the same team are treated differently as the teams don’t intervene to pressurize the race director for referral to the stewards. So it’s easier to allow a ‘let them race’ response.

          2. No it’s a good point I accept in principle, we should favour ‘let them race.’ However, we know that teams will push literally any envelope available to them


            “Let them race”, taken to extremes, becomes a free-for-all with no rules. There must be a point at which things are deemed unacceptable and penalties are handed out, and when they do the recipient will cry “But I thought you were going to let us race”.

            This is why there need to be limits which are understood by all participants, and preferably also publicly available. In most sports, these are called “rules”…

  12. Sad, I think he had to make huge decisions under immense pressure and did the very best he could. Not fair that he’s been singled out in this witch hunt. Still doesn’t change that Max was the deserving and rightful champion.

    1. How is Max “the deserving and rightful champion” if the rules were not followed by the race director who wrongfully allowed only the 5 cars to unlap between Max and Lewis?

      1. it still was a fair fight on track. Only the bad strategy by Mercedes killed lewis chances there..
        ( and listen again to the radio, Lewis knew it the moment Latifi chrashed)

        1. Ah, but would “the bad strategy by Mercedes killed lewis chances” had Masi followed the procedures laid out in the rulebook, instead of making up something brand new, unseen and impossible to predict?

          Note I would say it was just bad luck had correct procedures been followed and we had that final lap as it was. It wasn’t a bad call by Mercedes, though: They were in a lose-lose situation with strategy. Had they pitted Lewis, Max would have stayed out. Then:
          – If the race had ended under SC, Merc would have been derided for throwing the championship away
          – If the race had gone green, Lewis would have needed to overtake Max with very little tyre delta, in 1 lap, in a situation where Max had nothing to lose (if both crashed, he wins)

          Lewis, of course, knew that he was done for if the race restarted with Max right behind him on new tyres. However, he would also have known how difficult a win would be even if the race hadn’t ended under SC but he’d pitted and been behind Max. He will have been massively disappointed that all his work was thrown away by a late safety car and, no matter what he did, his near certain victory had changed to even odds at the very best.

        2. “A fair fight on track”? Utter nonsense.

          It’s appalling the lengths people are prepared to go to in order to defend the indefensible. Max Verstappen was gifted the opportunity to overtake Lewis Hamilton by race director Michael Masi who took instructions from Red Bull team manager Jonathan Wheatley. Mr Wheatley told Mr Masi what to do and Mr Masi’s response to Mr Wheatley was: “understood”.

        3. “a fair fight on track”
          With all due respect, this is nonsense.

    2. I’ll go halfway on that one. As much as I vehemently dislike his driving style, I think Max as a deserving champion in 2021. I’ll disagree on “rightful”. All this season when I see his car on track there is going to be an imagined ‘*’ after the number on his car.

  13. Unsurprising, not that I never necessarily hoped for Masi’s ousting, though.
    No more broadcasted team-RD comms, nor can TPs contact RD anymore, unless I’ve slightly misinterpreted something.
    Oh well, I’m indifferent about the former, while the latter is a good move.
    I’m looking forward to finding out how the unlapping procedure will change.

  14. Congratulations to Max Verstappen on his WDC. 1*

    1. Congratulation to England on the 1966* World Cup

      1. funny guys :)
        (whereat I believe that Wembley 66 was even harder of a call for the referees)

    2. +1000! Couldn’t agree more. :)

    3. *, the most intense battle in F1 in a decade.

  15. De Fretas will be a huge loss for the WEC.

  16. A lot of people here only focusing on what happened in Abu Dhabi – the reality is Masi had a series of poor decisions over the season and looked out of his depth from the get go.

    1. I agree, and said so after Brazil. He made too many errors during the season and got steadily worse. Finally the Brazil T4 error, the word salad he came out with as justification, and the fact he had lost the (drivers briefing) room by the following race did it for me.
      When the ‘ref’ becomes the story, it’s time to move then on.

    2. This is 100% true. Abu Dhabi was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    3. Abu Dhabi was the most egregious of his mistakes but as you say he made a series of poor decisions during his time in the role.

  17. This what we’ve been discussing here on this proper forum since the start of the hybrid era, too much power for Mercedes and Toto. They literally hijacked F1. The FIA president is already showing poor leadership skills as he has chosen the easy path of scapegoating Masi and not engaging in a war with them so he can keep his image intact and be out of trouble.

    As for Masi, I hope he rejects the FIA’s new position and land a job elsewhere. If I was CH I would immediately sign him and put him in the pit wall to even more annoy Toto. The FIA have set a precedent now, every team will have the right to request the firing of the race director if they thought he didn’t apply the procedures as per the rules. Now Masi is gone, do we expect that the race direction and stewarding will improve ? I suspect it will get even worse with VAR…

    1. Well you probably won’t have too long to wait for CH and RB to react. It clearly states the plan, which includes the Masi issue, had unanimous support from the TPs. So we can expect a statement shortly from RB that they did not support it. And if they don’t do that can we assume, given your take on the matter, that CH, Mateschitz and RB are all in Toto’s pocket?

      1. In F1, when multiple teams agree on anything – there’s always the question of: What are they getting in return?

    2. If Mercedes were that powerful, Masi wouldn’t have dared manipulate that race. I don’t understand your reasoning tbh – in your opinion, people should not be held accountable for their mistakes if those mistakes hurt a powerful entity?
      (And to be clear, yes – I’d support any team calling for the sacking of a RD if that RD so blatantly robbed them of a championship)

      1. you just proved Masi did not manipulated the race ;)

    3. Now Masi is gone, do we expect that the race direction and stewarding will improve ? I suspect it will get even worse with VAR…

      It’ll certainly be less satisfying and more frustrating.

      As much as I often disagree with the Race Director’s decisions and approaches – I’ve always enjoyed and respected that F1 was one of the few sports left that didn’t rely completely on computers, cameras and nameless, faceless minions hiding behind them to make sporting decisions.
      F1’s just become even less a sport than it was before. Sport is about humans, not perfection. Imperfection is beautiful.

    4. I can’t agree that Mercedes hijacked anything. But I wish that the FIA had, besides making RD/team communications non-public, sent a message to team principals that the whining and bullying on the radio has to stop, even if they didn’t call out RBR and Mercedes specifically. I also worry that making it private will create more fear and conspiracy theories about who is winning behind the scenes litigation of track calls. We don’t want a Star Chamber.

      1. They now have the best DTM race director Mercedes could think of…
        Look at his actions…

  18. Often with these statements it’s the things that are not said that can be the most telling. In this case Masi had to go, he repeatedly made mistakes that he couldn’t blame on an external process/factor. Setting up the equivalent of a ‘New York’ set up to what the NFL has makes sense, the rules are complicated and sometimes it needs people in a low pressure environment to be able to check/confirm decisions made in the moment at the circuit.

    The people not mentioned are the stewards. Isn’t it their role to be the reference point for the rules/regs? Masi repeatedly referred to them when talking to teams to check on processes/rules/regulations and they sit there with access to everything, supposedly being the calm voice well versed in the rules. With this effectively moving that to FIA HQ, we should be asking what will the stewards be doing? Who will have overall authority between HQ and the stewards at the circuit? Who will the people be making judgements at HQ? Will they perhaps need people with driving experience there also? There’s lots we need to be asking.

    I think it’s the correct course of action as the stewards are there to support the race director and at a number of races last year they were found wanting, leaving the race director open to criticism from all sides. Although the headlines will be that Masi is gone, it’s the potential replacement of the stewards that I think is the real story here.

    1. I agree.

      Many of the Masi errors were in fact him attempting to explain stewards’ decisions. The stewards cannot be absolved from the debacle that was 2021. Perhaps this VAR room will also check the stewards decisions.

      1. Or in the case of Brazil, going the other direction and allowing the stewards to look the other way and and obvious and egregious penalty.

        1. Exactly. This was a team effort. They (RD and Stewards) both made shocking decisions and post decision back patting / covering.

    2. @alec-glen Thing is though, you can’t just stop the race to review every incident like you can in football or the NFL, so the FIA’s VAR room isn’t going to have any less time pressure — at least, if its advice is going to be taken into account and the whole thing isn’t just for show. The existing stewards already have access to all the replays and telemetry, so I’m sceptical that adding more voices into the mix is really going to improve the quality of decisions.

      I think fundamentally, the stewarding process needs to be streamlined, not bulked up. The principles of what constitute fair racing need to be simpler to apply and understand, and perhaps there needs to be fewer people in the room, as well.

      I honestly think F1 would be better off if the entire stewarding panel were simply a couple of respected drivers with recent race experience and a clear vision of should and shouldn’t be allowed. Sometimes, applying general principles swiftly and firmly—even if there is an element of subjectivity—can speak with more authority when a rulebook inevitably falls short in covering every possible scenario.

      1. @markzastrow I don’t disagree although rulings aren’t made in real time now either. The existing process requires a review, referral and subsequent investigation whilst the race continues. The way I look at this is that they’re taking the view that the stewards failed in their role so they’re bringing it into the FIA centrally where they can have as much brain power as they need without being subject to the teams and cameras at the circuit.

        Streamlining would be ideal but in the first instance they need to ensure that they’re making the right calls or at least that they’re in a position to make correct calls which they’ve been unable to do recently.

        Agreed, more drivers, people who’ve raced more recently and understand the current dynamics rather than the current band of ‘jobs for the boys’ from the old boys network that are more than happy to make everything look a certain way.

        1. @alec-glen Actually, the existing process doesn’t require a review or a referral — the stewards have been empowered to act independently and investigate incidents on their own for several years now. And I think the sport would be better off if the stewards did so as standard practice, and asserted their authority over proceedings a bit more swiftly. Instead, we get situations where the race director claims the power to negotiate position swaps with teams to “protect” them from a stewards investigation. But if the offence is so clear-cut, the stewards should be prepared to issue their own ruling just as quickly.

          Having said that, the more I read about the proposed FIA support room, the more it sounds like a group to support the race director in running the race, instead of making stewarding calls. So if that means more eyeballs to spot cranes where they shouldn’t be and that sort of thing, that makes a certain amount of sense to me.

  19. This speaks volumes about Masi’s failure, some may say that he’s the scapegoat, but I hope he won’t be offered a position where he can influence races, that will be a bigger mistake than Abu Dhabi itself.
    Also these decisions didn’t really give a clear cut judgement, or report, that assesses what happened in the finale, “transparency” would have required the FIA to say either “we messed up big time” or “move along, nothing to see here, we know what we’re doing”.

  20. You can swap/change/job share the Race Director (RD) around but the fact of the matter is that the rules, the lack of clarity and the obtuseness of them, were more to blame than Masi. I will accept what Masi decided was evidently the incorrect decision and that his actions/decisions must have consequences but if the same situation happened again there is nothing to stop the new RDs making the same incorrect decision. And the FIA will soon be running out of RDs to find at this rate. I will wait for the FIA’s verdict and the changing of the rules regarding the last stages of the Abu Dhabi GP but you can change the rules because of the last five laps but the last 5 years have been a shambles for the FIA/F1 rulebook.

    The creation of a secondary RD, a Video Assistant, or whatever it will be called, is only a sticking plaster over the main problem. So what if the RD at the track makes one decision, the VAR makes another, then which one do you follow? In football/cricket the secondary one has priority. So therefore, the at track RD can be overruled. Will teams start appealing for reviews? Will said teams tell drivers to not give back a position until there has been a review? Will the classifications and/or penalties take even longer now that two sets of RD/Stewards need to look at it? I will give the benefit of the doubt until it has been implemented and tested of course but I am confused as to how this will reduce errors and streamline an already bloated process.

    The removal of a direct line is perfect. It shouldn’t have been there in the first place. I hope however that us fans will still get the broadcasts and explanations regarding the appeals/decisions. Either that or put the text/transcript up for the viewer to understand.

    I still stand by though that the rule book is more to blame than a human individual. If different track layouts mean a different interpretation of the rules that is a problem. If every team can read the same rule book and come up with something different that is a problem. If the RD cannot be consistent with the rulebook that is a problem. It needs to become black/white, cut/dry so that if X happens Z is the punishment. Not if X happens but lifted for 0.1 microseconds therefore he shown remorse and guilt therefore his punishment is Q. Track limits at every track should be set out before the season and that the white line (and including the white line) is the edge. Run on the kerb but two wheels have to be on the track. Safety Car within last 5 laps means a substantial accident that cannot be fixed within 5 laps. Red Flag, park on the grid, safety car restart. No car/tyre changes. All cars to remain in position. If you’re quicker get round them.

    I apologise for the weighty tome but what has taken the FIA months to come up with still won’t fix the issues. Good luck to the new RDs because you’ll need it.

    1. if the same situation happened again there is nothing to stop the new RDs making the same incorrect decision

      Precisely. New race directors, more support, remote race control, review of unlaping procedures… None of this really makes any difference as long as the regulations are left in a state which allows this kind of controversy to occur again. While ever a dozen different people could come up withy a dozen different interpretations of exactly the same rule, you’re going to have problems. While ever a rule specifically allows the race director unlimited scope to ignore large parts of the rulebook, you’re going to have problems. Whenever an incident is handled completely differently to a near-identical one in the same race, you’re going to have problems.

      1. While ever a dozen different people could come up withy a dozen different interpretations of exactly the same rule, you’re going to have problems.

        A problem which may be exacerbated by having two different RD as well as a Decision Review system so instead of one, often questionable decision, you may now have two or three. I hope that the two new RD will work together and create at least a semblance of consistency with the rules. As @drmouse said ‘if an incident is handled completely differently to a near-identical one in the same race, you’re going to have a problem’ these changes still allow that ambiguity but one which may be exacerbated by having two people interpreting the same flawed rules.

    2. Looking back, there are two main incidents that lead to contested stewarding decisions: 1. When a car has taken an inside line to the corner and is sufficiently ahead to force the outside car off track as they are visible and ‘owning’ the corner, in the sense that they’re ahead and ‘already there’. Whether the inside car is attacking or defending, the issue always revolves just how legitimate forcing another car off track is, and whether the consequences of being forced off matter (e.g. whether there is just tarmac off track, or high kerbs, or gravel or grass, or even a wall). These questions seem intrinsically debatable and contestable – in other words, I don’t see how ‘clearer regulations’ will resolve them. Stewards are needed to make a judgment call based on many more variables than a rule book can ever adequately map. However, it was clear to me until Interlagos 2021 that going off track yourself to defend (or pass) was a no no. Of course, the excuse was ‘we both went in too fast to make the corner’. But that can’t be an excuse – otherwise drivers will just dive bomb every corner, which is more or less the tactic Verstappen was using in increasing intensity in 2021. Also it’s usually unlikely that the outside car was going to fast to make the corner, but it inevitably remains a hypothetical. 2: When a car trying to defend or pass on the inside is behind and the nominally faster car outside turns in and is caught. The issue then is always whether the inside driver left enough room or was ‘too ambitious’. Again this seems a call that has to be made by stewards, no amount of rule clarification is going to solve every instance.

      1. I agree that there must be a little judgement, but a clear, written, publicly-published framework would help make this more visibly consistent.

        There was, for instance, talk of an internal document available to teams which described what was acceptable and what wasn’t, the position drivers needed to be in to claim they “owned” a corner when on the inside and outside, etc. If this, or something like it, were made available publicly, and was used as the core of decisions on such matters, then the consistency of the stewards decisions could be fairly evaluated by third parties.

        Similarly, if there was a publicly-available guidance document on what penalties should be given for which offences, including guidance on when more harsh penalties could be assigned and when they could decide not to penalise in spite of an infraction, we could more fairly evaluate the consistency of penalties.

        Instead, all we have to go by is the rulebook and past precedent. Given the apparent inconsistency of past precedent and the wide variety of interpretations of the rulebook available, we are always going to get a lack of perceived consistency, which is damaging to the sport.

      2. My broken record is that we need to get rid of the rule and practice that the car on the inside can just run the one on the outside off the road. I’ve been watching 90s F1 races to tide me over this winter, and it’s remarkable how the cars could just race into and out of a corner without one either just giving way or going into the fence. Or you can watch sportscar racing from now. F1s approach to passing rules are a relatively novel exception and a problem. (That said, I just re-watched Senna hit Mansell at Portugal in 1989 in a very Hamilton/Verstappen at Silverstone -esqe incident. Maybe anything involving Senna from the past is not a good example.)

      3. I HATE this new idea that a car has to ‘own’ a corner. The new rule in my view seems to be just throw it up the inside run yourself and/or the other car wide, and carry on as long as at the apex you were deemed ahead. Just because you were ahead doesn’t mean you’ve legally made an overtake. That’s not an overtake that’s nearly causing an accident. I know it’s me being a purist/snob/boring but that’s not an overtake. If you throw it up the inside, put the anchor down, and make the corner then that’s perfect. If you throw it up the inside, put the anchor down, and make the corner BUT the other car has to avoid a missile or avoid an accident then that isn’t an overtake. Obviously this leads to our favourite ‘grey area’ which the overtaken car might go wide and complain about being forced out so that needs to be sorted.

        Personally, I think the onus has to be on the faster car doing the overtake to do the overtake but make it so both cars are able to stay within the track limits. If there isn’t a justifiable area for your rival to remain then you’ve not made an overtake. The slower car cannot just move out the way. If both cars leave the track then its null-void and race positions go back to before the breaking point. If defending car has to leave the track then it reverts back. If the attacking car leaves the track it reverts back.

  21. For all those that are saying that Masi was scapegoated are just plain wrong. Yes, it is/was a hard and stressful job that requires quick decision making. Because he did a poor job of it on multiple occasions throughout the season is why he was rightfully sacked. He wasn’t up to the job. That isn’t meant to imply he was biased in any way or a bad person. He was simply put into a job that didn’t match his talents and skills. It happens all the time throughout the business world. He just couldn’t handle the pressure of the job and make good sound decisions when it mattered. He needed to be replaced, even before the incredibly bad decisions he made in the final. Don’t believe me? Go back through the comments on this site throughout the entire season. I bet the frequency of complaints about the poor and inconsistent race direction from Masi equal the complaints about the driving of Lewis or Max. Heck, even Horner was after Masi’s head until he made the ill fated decisions in the final that directly decided who won the WDC.

    He lost his job because he wasn’t good at it. He is better suited for a job that doesn’t require good decision making under time pressure.

  22. 1. Everyone happy now?
    2. Do you think all the existing problems will actually go away now?

    1. Only half of what needs to happen has happened and so I am 50% happy because the person who ruined a record breaking Championship has been rightfully sacked. I will be 100% happy when the 2021 WDC trophy is in the hands of the true champion, Sir Lewis Hamilton.

      1. I will be 100% happy when the 2021 WDC trophy is in the hands of the true champion

        solved: already done!

    2. It’s a step in the right direction that needed taking.

    3. 1. No, not happy, but no more unhappy than previously. The massive problem which has not been addressed yet is the power of the RD to ignore several sections of the rulebook whenever he wishes. Until that is solved, it doesn’t matter whether Masi, Freitas, Wittich or Putin serve as Race director, there is still the possibility of this travesty repeating itself. If they can fix that, I’ll be happy.
      2. No, I doubt any of the other problems in F1 will be fixed by this.

  23. Whilst I agree with Masi being ‘sacked’, I’m still mightily surprised that the FIA took such action.

    In doing so they’ve made it very clear that what he did was wrong, the implication being that Verstappen won the Championship because of Masi’s actions.

    Most of us with eyes in our heads know that to be the case but this forever leaves the lid open on the box that is the 2021 F1 Drivers’ Championship.

    If they’d relieved Masi of his duties over a period of time (him sharing Race Director duties with someone else maybe) then the link with the events in Abu Dhabi would’ve been weaker.

    As it stands it’s very easy to argue, just by pointing to the FIA’s actions, that whilst Verstappen might have been a worthy winner, he wouldn’t have won the Championship had the rules been properly followed and therefore should not be Champion.

    1. Correct, but irrelevant, as Max is the champion. Should or should not has never mattered in F1, just the result.

      1. You used too may words there. You could have, equally vacuously, written “it is what it is”. If everyone had that attitude no one would ever be called to account for anything.

    2. It’s not like that was the only moment where alternative interpretations of the rules (again: the stewards said it was fine) are possible. For example, the FIA Code says it’s explicitly prohibited to crowd people off track, and it’s also prohibited to fake-prepare for pitstops. Just taking those two things can lead to a whole lot of changed race outcomes.

    3. he wouldn’t have won the Championship had the rules been properly followed

      This is maybe a bit of a stretch, I would agree that he was certainly aided by Masi in Abu Dhabi. We don’t know who would have won the championship if no cars were allowed to unlap, nor if all cars were allowed to unlap. As a fan of the sport, not any specific team or driver, I do sympathize that the rules had not been properly followed. That will tarnish the championship and the image of the sport my my eyes, regardless of the FIA’s announcement today.

      1. We know exactly who would have won. The rules stated very clearly that the SC would come in at the end of the following lap. If it had done so, Hamilton would have won.

        All this focus on the lapped cars is a bit of a red herring – yes it was wrong, but the result from that would be unpredictable. The same is not true of bringing the SC in early.

        1. But it would have been perfectly legitimate for Masi to do as he had been planning, leaving the lapped cars out and restarting the race then. Had this happened, Max would have had a reasonable chance of overtaking those lapped cars (as they leaped out of his way) and catching Hamilton (probably in the last few corners), which would have given him a good shot at the overtake and the win.

          The difference is that Masi’s call changed it from a decent chance for both to a near-certain win for Verstappen. It’s like starting off with a coin flip, but then saying “Actually, we’ll flip 10 coins, and if any of them come up heads Max wins”.

    4. @sonnycrockett

      he wouldn’t have won the Championship had the rules been properly followed and therefore should not be Champion

      Keep telling that to yourself. At the end of lap 56 the track was clear and the marshals were already behind the guardrail, the call for the backmarkers to unlap themselves should have been given at that moment and the outcome will be exactly the same : Verstappen beating Hamilton as he did throughout all the 2021 season on track fair and square.

      Masi was sacked not because he didn’t follow the procedure but because the new FIA president who has the same amount of charisma as my underpants (zero) didn’t want to start his mandate engaging in a war with a dangerous politician like Toto.

      1. Not so. As mentioned above, if he started letting cars unlap at the end of lap 56, the last wouldn’t have been through until some point in lap 57. The regs clearly state that the SC should come in at the end of the following lap, which would have been the end of lap 58… i.e. the end of the final lap, so the race ends under SC conditions.

        1. Tifosi doesn’t seem to know that rule. Or he’s being wilfully obtuse.

          1. Emma,
            How about the rule that says that race director have full power over the restart procedure. If Mercedes – that is lead by arguably the most sour loser manager in the history of the sport – have had the slightest chance legally speaking to win their protest, why they didn’t proceed to the end despite bringing Britain’s most brilliant sporting lawyer to the season finale ? Oh wait… who’s being wilfully obtuse in this case ?

          2. How about the rule that says that race director have full power over the restart procedure.

            And now he’s been sacked for exercising that “full power”. That says it all, doesn’t it?

      2. Tifoso

        You are being quite clearly intentionally obtuse.

        There is no rule giving RD full control over the SC restart unless it is safe to do so which is the point of the regulations stipulating precisely how the SC procedures are to be implemented.

        The RD absolutely does not under any circumstances have the right to ignore the procedures, implement part of one and then, and here is the important bit, implement a completely made up on the spot procedure whispered in his ear by the RB Race Director.

        A procedure that enabled someone to win a race and championship that until that point in time he was legitimately losing. And emphatically so.

  24. Not that it will matter in the long run, but removing Masi as race director completely (rather than keeping him as a co-race director, and giving him access to the improvements around support network and rule clarifications) does risk sending a clear message that he was responsible for unfairly altering the Championship.

    I don’t think Masi did a good job last season as a whole, but figured they might bolster the team around him and share out the responsibilities, to minimise the narrative that Max is an unworthy Champion etc (obviously he is not unworthy at all).

    Though if the changes seem to work, it’ll become old news quickly. Onwards to the 2022 season.

  25. Good news everyone 👏
    Amazed it wasn’t covered up as a big misunderstanding or whatever other excuses they could find.

  26. I think this is a good move, if done right. Masi did take the blame for some stuff that wasn’t really his fault (for example, I feel Brazil was more on the stewards than the RD), but he had made too many mistakes over the last couple of years, Abu Dhabi just being the final nail I’m the coffin if you ask me. Getting Freitas onboard is a huge win for F1, and as others have said, a huge loss for WEC. Don’t know enough about the DTM guy to comment though.

    The other reforms can be positive if implemented correctly. Having the secondary RD is a good idea, but it can’t take forever like VAR does in football. Restricting and regulating (but not completely outlawing it because it can be important) team to FIA communication is a good move I think, as is stopping that being broadcast (which is implied, albeit not confirmed). Hopefully it will work out in the long term.

  27. Wow, they got it done. Mistakes Were Made but it was nobody’s fault. They did sack, sorry, plan to promote, Masi, so that is one sign of accountability.

    I should say, on the one had I feel sorry for Masi, because I think Horner and Wolff made his life hell and stepped over so many lines in dealing with him, and a lot of the attacks on him were by team partisans. On the other, no one made him go full l’etat c’est moi in the last race of the season.

    1. Yes I feel sorry for Masi.
      Questioning the team principal influence, the Mercedes way is “don’t do the wrong thing stick to the rules” and the Redbull way is, “how can we bend the rules”
      Masi himself sometimes appeared to have a split personality.

  28. I’m comfortable with this.
    Masi may well have tried his best but he made silly mistakes and strange (bordering on dangerous) decisions all through the season.

    I wish him well in his future endeavours and look forwards to having someone new to complain about next season ;)

  29. So by demoting Masi the FIA has admitted that the final race of last season was improperly managed and that Hamilton lost the championship under circumstances where the rules were not correctly applied. Will the FIA at least apologize to the 7.999 times world champion or compensate him in some other way, as would be the case in most other walks of life where someone looses out as the result of someone else’s negligence?

  30. Sad that they will no longer broadcast the communications. Now we’ll never see how ridiculous Red Bull and Mercedes are on the radio to the RD

  31. If the final race had been the only issue Masi would likely still be the Race Director. Onto new & different, which is hopefully fairer application of the rules.

    Wishing Masi good luck in his new position.

  32. Freitas usually does a good job, but is very eager to throw Full Course Yellows (which is why it was so surprising that last year’s Le Mans crash under yellow didn’t result in any penalties). Given that the two main Masi mess-ups involved the use of the safety car (in Belgium and Abu Dhabi), this isn’t necessarily an improvement. F1 doesn’t need more neutralization of races, but rather a proper enforcement of yellow flag procedure.

    Niels Wittich will be keen to make people forget about that highly dubious DTM finale.

  33. Glad he’s gone, he’s been appalling for 2 years and made far too many mistakes to have stayed in post. Brazil and Abu Dhabi alone should have been enough for him to go without all the other farcical decisions and a complete lack of control on the track limits issue.

    I think splitting the role between people is a great move although I’ll reserve judgement on the actual people until they’ve had some time in the role to settle in and effect some change.

    Moving forward I hope this means they put some serious thought into getting rid of cars manually “unlapping” themselves by simply switching up the order in the queue and then the computer resets the timing based on the leader once everyone is set in place. This could be done while the safety car is circulating then without a need to unleash cars at a faster speed. Also gets rid of the hot tyres advantage of those who get to unlap themselves. I do realise it means they get to do one actual lap less in the race but they have the fuel penalty of not having burnt that fuel and it feels a better solution than the current one.

  34. Removing Masi taints Verstappen’s championship. Funny how this news is on the same day as Ferrari’s super succesful high profile new car launch, to dampen the impact on red Bull?

    1. I’m surprised Verstappen overtook Lewis on the last lap. He should have just stayed behind and said “sorry guys, that’s not the way I want to win my 1st championship”. That would have been very inspiring. Essentially, he was given a way to cheat and grabbed it with both arms.

      It’s not a good look for sure.

      1. No cheating, just a brilliant pass on an unexpected lewis.
        Great stuff and a well deserved end of a year with lost of stewarding error to the benefit of Lewis.
        But 2022 is tarting..

        1. Oh he expected it. He knew his only chance was to try to tow back past Verstappen on the second straight and then drive wide as possible in the infield. If he let Verstappen past on the straights with the two it would be game over. He almost pulled it off but he had way too little grip in comparison to take that long corner at the end of the straight and Verstappen just drove away. If you watch the fan videos, it’s a stunning series of corners in that fight, and, as usual, the fan videos show the true speed and braking ability of cars much more than on TV.

      2. I highly doubt Verstappen had a full understanding of the situation. I can understand the argument, but I don’t think Max can take the blame here. He probably recognised that something odd was going on, but probably didn’t know the full ins and outs of whether it was illegal or not (and of course, no one would take the risk of not overtaking if it turned out it would have been legal). And that’s not how racing drivers work. It would be equivalent to Alonso pulling over in Singapore in 2008 (or Germany 2010). Max simply took advantage of the situation that was presented to him. You can’t blame him if that situation was deeply flawed.

      3. Oh, yes, because hamilton dove into the pits at silverstone 2021, let verstappen pass again in brazil 2018, I see….

      4. It’s not cheating, it barely makes up for half the bad luck he got in the rest of the season.

  35. Can you imagine being Lewis and sitting there seeing some cars unlap themselves and then not seeing the rest of the field unlap themselves? Surely, you’re wondering what on earth is going on. Then Max comes right next to you on fresh tyres right before the restart and it’s almost a drag race.

    I can’t believe it took 2 months for Masi to go.

    1. This is what I would like to see next year. Hamilton right alongside the safety car, occasionally putting his nose in front, and then taking the SC line through the corners where it can dominate the SC, and get away with no action taken.

      1. Yeah, restarts are going to be interesting. Everyone should be allowed to pull a Verstappen once or twice. They can’t start enforcing rules in the beginning of 2022 when it was the Wild West for Red Bull in 2021.

        1. you are not allowed to pass the car in front and of course the SC.
          None of both happened.. nothing special. Probably for lewis fans who noticed it influenced the mental state of lewis.
          You already could see that during the protocol where lewis did not dare to look Verstappen in the eyes..

          1. You honestly live on some other planet Erikje!

            At least you get to preside there, if only because you are completely alone.

  36. So, Masi still has a job, in the FIA, and on the paycheck, albeit washing out the whitewall tires on F1 cars making the shine appeals, for sure…

    1. @bullmello of course, he has a job – they said that they need to maintain the FIA’s integrity and he’s the key to maintaining that with his silence.

  37. I’m going to enjoy watching Verstappen and his fans try to defend the legitimacy of that number one now. Sham “champion”. Maybe he’ll start headbutting journo’s who keep asking him about it

    1. Nothing changed.. Masi created a race and the fight on track was fair.
      Championship was and is never in any danger.

      1. Blinkered and biased response as expected. Hamilton led 99% of the race distance until Masi, now proven incompetent, handed Verstappen a huge unsporting advantage having listened to a complicit Wheatley/Horner The awarding of the title is not legitimate, and I’ll have fun on here watching you try to legitimise Max’s “win”.

        1. I’ll make it simple: hamilton deserved to win abu dhabi, verstappen deserved to win baku and gain 8 points on hamilton (had FL too), hamilton didn’t deserve to win silverstone after taking verstappen out, verstappen deserved 2nd place in hungary (prob hamilton 1st), correct for everything, verstappen wins.

          Not even going to the imola red flag, cause it’s unnecessary, there’s plenty of points for verstappen to win either way.

          You’re gonna bring up monza? Situation originated from verstappen’s slow pit stop, should’ve never been in hamilton’s range.

          1. Referring to my comment to Erikje.

            I was mistaken.

            There would appear to be two on that lonely planet 🌏


      2. I mostly agree, but comparing Alonso at Singapore 2008 suggests Verstappen did have a full understanding of what went wrong. Yes yes, no prove, but Alonso is too smart not to have known. Verstappen might sometimes make moves that I don’t like to see on track, well really not all on track being the issue), but there’s nothing that suggests he’d be part in that.

  38. Michael Masi is ultimate cheat in F1. He destroyed people’s faith in F1.

  39. Fake unworthy champion Max masi who fixed the race to help him

    1. Masi helped hamilton by refusing the unlapped cars to unlap themselves. I wonder why you don’t say that.

  40. No more going to the track to do car racing :(

  41. Blinkered and biased response as expected. Hamilton led 99% of the race distance until Masi, now proven incompetent, handed Verstappen a huge unsporting advantage having listened to a complicit Wheatley/Horner The awarding of the title is not legitimate, and I’ll have fun on here watching you try to legitimise Max’s “win”.

    1. And if verstappen’s title is illegitimate, damn, there’s so many illegitimate ones around, hamilton’s 2008, robserg’s 2016, keke rosberg’s 82, the list goes on.

      1. Hawthorn’s 58!!

        1. I do not recall a single other championship being awarded by the RD inventing a new rule on the spot?

          Enlighten me.

  42. Leave it to the FIA to remove one piece of trash only to replace it with several other pieces of steaming garbage. Once again, you can count on the FIA to clean matters up thoroughly and concisely. Masi absolutely deserves this disgrace, but have they really ironed out the problem? It’s a complete and utter joke that you have a 200 million page rule book that when it matters most, that rule book might as well be toilet paper for a gorilla. Useless. Typical.

  43. So are they now going to press pause everytime they need to use VAR

    1. yeah, frame by frame, with a ruler. Two days later we get the official results of the jury.

      1. Last years Spa will look like a sprint after this ;)

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