Masi replaced as Formula 1 race director

Michael Masi

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has confirmed Michael Masi will be replaced as Formula 1 race director from the start of pre-season testing this year.

The announcement comes following a meeting of the F1 Commission on Monday at which teams were presented with, and unanimously voted in favour of, a number of changes.

That includes the implementation of a virtual control room to assist the race director and further assistance to those in that role.

Ben Sulayam also confirmed that Masi will be offered another position within the FIA, with the race director role set to be shared going forward.

“During the F1 Commission meeting in London, I presented part of my plan for a new step forward in Formula 1 refereeing,” Ben Sulayem explained in a video posted by the FIA.

“I proposed an in-depth reform of the organisation of refereeing and race direction it was unanimously supported by the F1 CEO and teams principals.

“Firstly, to assist the race director in the decision making process, a virtual race control room will be created, and like the video assistant referee VAR in football, it will be positioned in one of the FIA offices as a backup outside the circuit and real-time connection with the FIA F1 race director.

“It will help to apply the sporting regulations using the most modern technological tools.

“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,” he added.

“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.

“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 advisor.

“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.

“I presented this complete plan to the members of the world motorsport council and the Senate who gave their full support.

“With this plan, FIA opens the way for a new step forward for 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.”

The FIA announcement came moments after the launch of the Ferrari F1-75 concluded, which had the sport’s media attention.

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