Duo named for potential Masi support role

Jamie Woodhouse
FIA race director Michael Masi at the Spanish Grand Prix.

FIA race director Michael Masi on his phone at the Spanish Grand Prix. May, 2021.

WEC race director Eduardo Freitas and former DTM race director Niels Wittich have been named as potential support for Michael Masi in F1.

While Formula 1 is very much now preparing for the 2022 season to get underway, the future of race director Michael Masi has been a major talking point ever since the conclusion of the 2021 season in Abu Dhabi.

Max Verstappen passed Lewis Hamilton on the final lap to snatch the World Championship, following Masi’s controversial decision under Safety Car conditions to only clear the lapped runners between Verstappen in P2 and Hamilton who led at the time.

A review of Abu Dhabi is ongoing with changes set to be proposed to the structure of Race Control, which it is believed will involve a support system around the F1 race director.

And according to Motorsport.com, two names have been linked with the potential vacancies.

Formula 1 race director Michael Masi pointing. Portugal, October 2020.
Formula 1 race director Michael Masi, with the FIA logo on his jacket, pointing. Portugal, October 2020.

First to be mentioned is Freitas, who serves as the race director in the World Endurance Championship and is respected for taking a no-nonsense approach.

Indeed, one of the biggest defences for Masi in Abu Dhabi was the pressure being placed on him by Red Bull and Mercedes over the radio, interactions that in 2021 were broadcast on the world feed for the first time, and are expected to be banned as of the 2022 season.

The other individual linked to this Race Control reinforcement is Wittich, who departed the DTM race director role towards the end of 2021.

Crucially, the report states that Masi is expected to continue as race director, something that throughout the winter has been far from certain.

As for how Freitas and Wittich would help, Motorsport.com state that Wittich could support Masi at an “operational level”, while Freitas does so from a remote location, “possibly from Geneva”.

This lends credibility to recent reports that Formula 1 could introduce a system similar to VAR in football.

The report also names Scot Elkins as a potential option, the current Formula E race director who has now also taken over the DTM reins from Wittich.

 

Motorsport.com conclude by stating that both the written and unwritten rules in Formula 1 are being reviewed, with a view to removing the lack of clarity that plagued not only the conclusion to the title race in Abu Dhabi, but also served as a recurring source of frustration across the 2021 campaign.

 

PlanetF1 Verdict

 

WEC race director linked to Masi support role

WEC race director and former DTM race director linked to Michael Masi support role.