Ted Kravitz questions why Michael Masi returned to F1 paddock in Australia

Henry Valantine
Michael Masi back in F1 paddock at Australian Grand Prix. Melbourne 2023

Ex-FIA race director Michael Masi back in F1 paddock at Australian Grand Prix. Melbourne 2023

Former FIA race director Michael Masi was back in the paddock in Australia at the weekend, but Sky Sports’ Ted Kravitz questioned why he would return.

Masi was at his home event in Melbourne in his new capacity with the popular Supercars series in Australia, which appeared on the Formula 1 support schedule at the weekend.

But the former race director’s presence was noted for the controversial circumstances in which his final race in charge proved to be.

The fall-out surrounding the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the way in which the Drivers’ Championship eventually ended up being won by Max Verstappen still rumbles on to this very day.

An investigation into the late Safety Car and processes surrounding lapped cars overtaking came, along with an appeal into the outcome of the title by Mercedes, before Masi stepped away from the role and Formula 1 altogether.

He now chairs the V8 Supercars Commission in Australia, but was spotted catching up with former colleagues in the Formula 1 paddock at Albert Park at the weekend, in his first appearance at a grand prix weekend since Abu Dhabi in 2021.

Kravitz mooted that there were rumours that current race director, Niels Wittich, had been seeking advice on the role and Formula 1 were looking to bring Masi back to the sport in some capacity, but the Sky F1 pit lane reporter was baffled by the Australian’s presence.

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“Michael Masi, the ex-FIA race director, has been in the paddock for the first time since that fateful day in December 2021,” Kravitz said during his Ted’s Notebook programme on Sky Sports F1.

“And he’s been saying hello to drivers – he hasn’t been saying hello to Mercedes people.

“I don’t really… well, I do want to get into it, you know I do, but I won’t. What’s he doing in Australia? He’s in charge of the V8 Supercars, the Australian Touring Cars, now. But what’s he doing coming back into the Formula 1 paddock?

“There are some rumours that Formula 1 want him back because Niels Wittich needs some help on the FIA race direction side, but that’s not going to happen. What’s Michael Masi doing in the paddock?”

Sky commentator David Croft later challenged the viewpoint of Kravitz on Masi’s presence in the paddock when his name came up during a session in live commentary, with Croft saying: “No matter what your allegiances where in 2021, you have to remember he’s still a human being.”

Alongside his role with Supercars, Masi also took up a directorship role with Karting Australia last year, having left the FIA completely in the summer of 2022.