In the round-up: The CEO of Motorsport Australia, Eugene Arocca, says that former FIA race director Michael Masi is an “elite talent” and would consider him for a role in Australian motorsport.
Motorsport Australia chief defends Masi after losing F1 race director role
Arocca told Speedcafe that he was upset to see the backlash Masi had received after his late Safety Car decision at the end of last December’s race.
“It’s really easy to be a critic on the sidelines thinking what he went through when he was making those decisions,” said Arocca. “There would be other people that would be completely paralysed in exactly the same circumstances. He made the call. That is the first character trait of a strong leader.”
Masi was an “elite talent”, Arocca says, and would be welcomed back to a role at Motorsport Australia, the organisation in which he worked prior to joining the FIA.
“We would love to tap into his knowledge at any level,” Arocca said. “He’s just an elite talent that would be wasted to the sport if he’s not used in some capacity, and so we’ll keep an open mind.”
Szafnauer will bring “unique leadership” to Alpine – Rossi
Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi says he believes the team will “gel” around new team principal Otmar Szafnauer as he begins his first season with Alpine in 2022.
Szafnauer has joined Alpine from Aston Martin, where he had been team principal for over three years after the team known as Force India were taken over and rebranded as Racing Point. Rossi says that Szafnauer will bring “unique leadership” to the team.
“He’s going to bring his technical expertise, for sure – he’s an engineer by trade”, said Rossi, “but he’s also going to bring his unique leadership.
“He’s been very successful in the past with Racing Point and other teams – getting a fourth position with one of the lowest budgets in the paddock. So certainly he’s going to bring us very valuable expertise. He’s also a team builder and that’s quite important because the team really needs to gel around the team principal and to aim for the same goal.”
FIA confirms session start times for sprint weekends
The FIA has adjusted the session start times for the three sprint race weekends in this year’s Formula 1 season.
There will be three sprint races held this season, at Imola, the Red Bull Ring and Interlagos. For the two European rounds in Emilia Romagna and Austria, first practice will be held half an hour earlier than other European races, before the traditional qualifying session begins at 5pm local time on Friday evening.
The three sprint races will begin at 4.30pm local time for all three sprint weekends, around half an hour later than the usual Saturday qualifying sessions would begin.
Get all the 2022 F1 race weekend session details plus test and launch dates on your mobile device using the RaceFans F1 Calendar
Expanded RaceFans team ready for 2022
A quick word from the editor on the eve of the new Formula 1 season:
With the new season almost upon us, I’m excited to share new details of how the RaceFans team has expanded again to enhance our coverage of this year’s world championship.
I am extremely pleased to welcome Claire Cottingham as our F1 correspondent for the new season. Claire’s motorsport experience spans a range of championships including F1, which she has covered for the BBC, plus Formula E, W Series and more. Joining us fresh from her stint at Eurosport covering the Winter Olympics, she is heading off to the Circuit de Catalunya today to begin bringing us coverage from the paddock throughout 2022.
As many of you will have spotted, Claire’s arrival marks the third addition to our team in the space of three months. Following Will’s move into the assistant editor role at the end of last year, we have also welcomed Alto Ono as a new contributor to our technical coverage. On top of that, Hazel and RJ will continue to supply their expertise in Formula E, junior series and IndyCar throughout 2022, and expect to see more from other familiar names too. And of course I’ll continue to scribble the odd bit here and there as well.
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I hope you all enjoy the new season of racing, and with that, now back to the round-up!
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Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:
— F1 Miami Grand Prix (@f1miami) February 21, 2022
Enough training, time to jump into the real thing this week! 💪🏼🌶
— Carlos Sainz (@Carlossainz55) February 21, 2022
F1 Winter testing this week, fancy a sneek peek into the accommodation for one of the divers!? 🏎🏎 pic.twitter.com/f63EnMgxN0
— rob garofall (@robgarofall) February 20, 2022
Get ready to see something very cool 👀 pic.twitter.com/MIlpzbwMv3
— Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN (@alfaromeoorlen) February 21, 2022
- Find more official F1 accounts to follow in the F1 Twitter Directory
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Happy birthday to Rich!