FIA’s ‘structural changes’ hint at Masi’s exit

Michelle Foster
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.

Declaring there will be “structural changes” in their action plan, it is being reported that Michael Masi’s time as FIA race director is over.

The 2021 season ended in controversy when Masi all but dictated the result of the race, and the championship, when he made the call to allow the cars between Lewis Hamilton and second Max Verstappen to unlap themselves.

It’s a “motor race” were his words to Mercedes after Verstappen took the win and the title, but it was one that was set up by an unprecedented call, one that was not in the F1 rule book.

The FIA informed the FIA Commission on Monday about its findings into the Abu Dhabi race, although as yet those details are being kept private barring a short statement from motorsport’s governing body.

“Feedback from the Commission on matters raised will be incorporated into the president’s analysis and he will publicly present news of structural changes and action plan in the coming days,” read the statement.

Those structural changes have Sky Sport’s Craig Slater reporting that Masi’s days as FIA race director are about to come to an end.

“Structural changes would suggest a change in personnel, potentially with regards to the race director,” he said.

Two new names have been mentioned with the role with WEC race director Eduardo Freitas and former DTM race director Niels Wittich possible contenders.

While initially it was thought the two would be support for Masi, Sky claims they are in line to become race director, potentially a two-man job.

As for Masi, the Australian will remain with the FIA in a new safety role.

Slater continued: “Is it now set for Michael Masi to perhaps move position within the FIA?

“There have been significant suggestions from insiders I’ve spoken to that he might take on a safety role and perhaps other individuals will look after the race direction itself.

“If that (Masi being removed from the role) were to be confirmed in the coming days, that might be the material change that perhaps Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton were looking for.”

Several drivers have spoken out in support of Masi during the pre-season interviews, Sebastian Vettel saying: “It’s not the easiest sometimes to be in the shoes of the referee or Michael’s shoes, but I think he’s done a great job, especially after filling in after Charlie passed away so suddenly.

“He really has been very focused and determined to do a good job. I don’t know either what is his future, but I hope he sticks around because I think overall he did a very good job.

“There’s a lot of controversy for the last race, but there shouldn’t be – I think if you look at the bigger picture, he’s done really well.”

McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo believes Masi “should stay” as he doesn’t feel “one event should be the picture of everything.”


His team-mate Lando Norris added: “I support Michael and I think a lot of other things he did were great last season, or the past few seasons we’ve been working with him.

“A lot of things are good. It’s just ironing out these small things which can have a big impact.”


PlanetF1 Verdict


Has the FIA hinted that Masi is out?

Has the FIA hinted that Michael Masi has already left his race director role?