FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem reveals new F1 structure with Eduardo Frietas and Neils Wittich in race director role, while Michael Masi will be offered new work.
Masi has officially been removed as FIA race director in a raft of confirmed changes to come into effect from the first pre-season test in Barcelona, FIA President Sulayem has announced late on Thursday afternoon.
Included in the announcement is the confirmation of two new race directors, supported by former race director Herbie Blash, and a virtual referee system. The alternating new race directors will be Frietas from WEC and Wittich from DTM.
The changes come as the build-up to the long-anticipated 2022 season is beginning to ramp up after the controversial end to the Abu Dhabi season finale, in which Masi was widely slated for his interpretation of the rulebook concerning safety car restart procedures.
In the last FIA Commission list that they released, Masi was named as the F1 Safety Delegate but it hasn’t been made official by Sulayem yet. The President addressed the “new step forward” for the federation in a video and statement posted to the FIA website.
“A virtual race control will be created,I like the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in football, [so] it will be positioned in one of the FIA offices as a backup outside the circuit,” he said. “In real time connection with the FIA F1 race director it will help to apply the sporting regulations using the most modern technological tools.
“Secondly, direct radio communications during the race currently broadcast live by all TVs will be removed in order to protect the race director from any pressure and allow him to take decisions peacefully. It will be still possible to ask questions to the race director according to a well-defined and non-intrusive process.
“Thirdly, unlapping procedures behind safety car will be reassessed by the F1 Sporting Advisory Committee and presented to the next F1 Commission prior to the start of F1 season. And finally, I would like to inform you that a new race management team will be put in place starting in Barcelona for the test session. Neils Wittich and Eduardo Freitas will act alternatively as race director assisted by Herbie Blash as permanent senior advisor.
“Michael Masi who accomplished a very challenging job for three years as Formula 1 race director following Charlie Whiting will be offered a new position within the FIA,” summed up Sulayem, who noted that these changes were relayed to the F1 Commission too.
The story was written by Danny Herbert
Here’s F1 numbers from 2021
Here’s latest F1 Commission ruling
Here’s contract situation plus penalty points
Here’s F1 2022 start times
Here’s latest from FIA WMSC meet