Theory debunked over futures of Masi, Tombazis

Date published: January 14 2022 - Jamie Woodhouse

Formula 1 race director Michael Masi pointing. Portugal, October 2020.

A new organisational structure chart released by the FIA reportedly does not spell the end for Michael Masi or Nicholas Tombazis.

Masi, Formula 1’s race director, is under heavy pressure following his call in the closing stages of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which seemingly went against the sporting regulations and directly impacted the result of the World Championship.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen were tied on points heading into their title decider, but after Hamilton had dominated much of the race and seemingly was on his way to a record eighth title, the Safety Car changed everything.

Masi originally indicated that lapped cars would not be allowed to overtake before a race restart, before deciding that only some could unlap themselves, though the sporting regulations say all lapped cars must pass the Safety Car if that order is given.

Ultimately, only the lapped runners separating Verstappen in P2 and Hamilton were cleared, and having stopped for fresh tyres under the SC, Verstappen passed Hamilton on the final lap, thus going on to claim victory and the title.

Hamilton has been silent ever since, also skipping the FIA prize-giving gala along with his Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.

Toto Wolff speaking with Michael Masi. Bahrain, March 2021.

The seven-time champ’s Formula 1 future remains in doubt, and the same can very much be said for Masi, and the FIA’s head of single-seater technical matters Tombazis.

An investigation is ongoing into the events of Abu Dhabi, with the findings set to be announced on March 18, the day of free practice at the 2022 season-opening Bahrain GP, and for a time it seemed as though we already had been given an indication of what the outcome would be for Masi and Tombazis.

The FIA uploaded a new document to their website, explaining a new organisation chart that had come into effect for 2022.

New FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem took his place at the summit having replaced Jean Todt, who stepped down after serving the maximum term of 12 years, but the names of Masi and Tombazis were nowhere to be seen.

 

However, SoyMotor.com report that this new chart is solely related to the change of president, rather than implying that a decision on Masi and Tombazis has been made.

They report that the main change below Ben Sulayem is that the FIA’s general secretary of motorsport Peter Bayer will now lead the single-seater department, filling a hole that had been present since former race director and F1 technical department boss, Charlie Whiting, passed away in 2019 on the eve of the Australian GP.

They add that while the chart does not show it, as it stands, Masi then works under Bayer on the sporting side, and Tombazis on technical matters.

 

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