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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Former F1 Race Director Michael Masi Lands Motorsport Managerial Role for 2023

The disgraced former F1 race director was sacked in 2022 by the FIA

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Aditya Saikrishna
Aditya Saikrishna
I am 21 years old and an avid Motorsports enthusiast.

AUSTRALIA: Michael Masi, a former FIA Race Director, has been given a new job for the motorsports season in 2023.

Michael Masi has focused on securing roles on the Australian motorsport scene since returning to his home country after leaving the FIA earlier this year.

Michael Masi bags new position for motorsports 2023

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Masi was fired as FIA Race Director for 2022 because FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem made significant changes for this season. Masi was the driving force behind the contentious Abu Dhabi GP decision, which handed the 2021 F1 championship to Max Verstappen.

Masi returned to Australia in July after leaving the FIA. There, he took a new job as chairman of the Supercars Commission, which is in charge of the sporting and technical rules for the illustrious series. He also joined the South Australia Motorsport Board.

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Along with commercial lawyer Melissa Holzberger, Masi will join Karting Australia’s board of directors in 2023. He will be one of two new directors. On January 1, 2023, Masi will join the board as a director.

Karting Australia welcomed Masi and highlighted his experience as a motorsport administrator, which dates back to his time as a sporting manager for the same organization. 

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Michael Masi then became Deputy Race Director in Supercars and studied under Charlie Whiting before becoming F1 Race Director for the FIA.

Masi’s position became untenable after the controversial end of the 2021 season in Abu Dhabi, in which a late Safety Car intervention altered both the race’s outcome and the title fight.

Michael Masi deployed the Safety Car after Nicholas Latifi of Williams crashed, giving second-place Max Verstappen a chance to go into the pits and try new tires.

Verstappen resumed his position in the safety car queue behind title rival Lewis Hamilton. However, he still had a challenging climb ahead as the laps of opportunity ticked away, and five lapped cars remained between him and Hamilton.

However, seemingly in violation of the terms of the Sporting Regulations, Masi would move these lapped cars—and only these lapped cars—out of the way and restart the race with one lap remaining.

Verstappen snatched Hamilton’s lead on the final lap and won the championship. Mercedes protested the decision immediately, and the FIA began extensive investigations into how Masi and Race Control followed the decision-making process.

It was clear that Masi’s position as the authority overseeing Grands Prix had become untenable, and President Ben Sulayem sacked Michael Masi, replacing the disgraced Aussie with Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas on a rotational basis for the 2022 F1 season. 

Michael Masi escaped any claims of wrongdoing because of a vaguely worded regulation that handed complete control over the Safety Car procedure to the Race Director.

Also Read: Formula 1 Braces for Rains at Interlagos ahead of Sao Paulo GP

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