‘Take the pressure and stress from him’

MICHAEL MASI was axed from his role by the FIA “to take the pressure and stress from him” according to the organisation’s new president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

The Australian has been hung out to dry following his failure to follow safety car rules in the Abu Dhabi GP, costing Lewis Hamilton the title.

Michael Masi was sacked as FIA race director following the Abu Dhabi drama

Michael Masi was sacked as FIA race director following the Abu Dhabi dramaCredit: Getty

Masi has kept a low profile since the incident but it is understood to be upset by the lack of support he received from F1’s governing body given the abuse following Max Verstappen’s controversial win.

The FIA have now fudged their report into the handling of the final few laps at the Yas Marina Circuit and Masi has been removed from the role.

When asked as to what his new position will be within the organisation, Ben Sulayem said: “To take the pressure and the stress from him, because really he went through a lot, and we are grateful for the three years that he invested with us and he put his time in.

“Now we are negotiating with him, of course, to stay in the FIA. He is an important figure to us.

Lewis Hamilton's F1 title chances all-but written off after ONE race by Wolff
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“So our people are negotiating, I would say, not a job, but another place for him within the FIA.

“Now we want to move on, we have finished with the race analysis, now we have a new race in Bahrain, the beginning of the 2022 [season], with all the new cars, all the excitement.

“We should enjoy it, leave that behind us and make sure we have a good new year.”

It is evident that the FIA are desperate to move on from the debacle – although fans are still upset at the outcome of the 2021 season finale.

The FIA has appointed two new race directors in Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, who will be supported by Herbie Blash.

A new virtual race control room, F1’s equivalent to the video assistant referee in football, has also been set up.

Ben Sulayem added: “Formula One is such a hi-tech and dynamic sport that we cannot run race control like we used to.

“A race control director cannot be just one director. That’s the reason we brought some of our staff back like Herbie, for example, to support the race director.

“On top of that, we also have to do rotations, not just one. Because if you talk about 23 races, human fatigue is there, you’re talking about travels, so that cannot be so. This is also a solution.”

World champ Max Verstappen chatting to new FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem

World champ Max Verstappen chatting to new FIA president Mohammed Ben SulayemCredit: Getty

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