The FIA has confirmed its former Formula 1 race director Michael Masi has officially left, seven months after overseeing the controversial conclusion to last year’s world championship.
In March the FIA admitted errors had been made in the last-lap restart which decided the destiny of the 2021 world championship. Lewis Hamilton, who had led much of the race, lost the race and world championship after he was overtaken by rival Max Verstappen at the restart.
The FIA acknowledged “human error lead to the fact that not all cars were allowed to unlap themselves” at the restart. Only the lapped cars separating Verstappen from Hamilton were moved out of the way while others, including those between the Red Bull driver and third-placed Carlos Sainz Jnr, were left in position.
Masi also “called the Safety Car back into the pit lane without it having completed an additional lap as required by the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations,” the FIA noted at the time.
In a statement today the FIA said Masi “has decided to leave the FIA and relocate to Australia to be closer to his family and take on new challenges.”
“He oversaw a three-year period as FIA Formula 1 race director and safety delegate following the sudden passing of Charlie Whiting in 2019, carrying out the numerous functions he was tasked with in a professional and dedicated manner,” it added. “The FIA thanks him for his commitment and wishes him the best for the future.”
Mercedes held Masi responsible for Hamilton’s title defeat. In the aftermath of the race, team principal Toto Wolff said “the decisions that have been taken in the last four minutes of this race have robbed Lewis Hamilton of a deserved world championship.”
Verstappen’s Red Bull team principal Christian Horner initially defended his actions, saying the decision to replace him was “harsh”. However last month he acknowledged for the first time Masi had made a mistake by failing to allow all the lapped cars to un-lap themselves.
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