Surer: Masi only dropped because of ‘outside pressure’

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

Former F1 driver Marc Surer believes the FIA should have shown support for former race director Michael Masi.

As part of a Race Control restructuring by the FIA following the controversial 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Masi has left the race director role which will now be shared and rotated between two people, with a virtual Race Control also to be set up comparable to VAR in football.

But while many believed Masi’s position was untenable, Surer thinks the FIA could and should have backed him – but instead gave in to outside pressure.

“I think it was an over-reaction of the FIA to get rid of Masi,” he told Formula1News.co.uk.

“Because overall, over the whole season and over the last years, he did not do a bad job.

“I think [the FIA] needed a new organisation to take pressure from the race director but they didn’t need to replace him, because I think a lot of decisions are made under pressure and you have no time to decide and you have the team managers in your ears trying to influence you. That was just too much. I can imagine why all this happened.

“So why replace Masi? It was because of the pressure from the outside and not because he did a bad job. He made maybe some bad decisions yes, but not a bad job.”

 

The new race director duo will be made up of World Endurance Championship race director Eduardo Freitas, alongside Niels Wittich who recently departed that role in DTM.

The pair will be assisted by Charlie Whiting’s former deputy Herbie Blash, which Surer feels is the main positive to come from this restructure.

“The good thing is they re-organised the management and I am very happy Herbie Blash is back,” he confirmed.

“We should not forget that with Charlie Whiting, he was always praised for his good decisions but a lot of the time there was always Herbie Blash alongside him.

“So to hear he is back is the best message.”

Masi, it is believed, will take up a different position within the FIA moving forward.

 

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