Michael Masi quits FIA with ex-race director relocating to Australia after Abu Dhabi drama

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MICHAEL MASI came under fire from fans, drivers and team bosses after his handling of F1 last season.

Michael Masi quits FIA with ex-race director relocating to Australia after Abu Dhabi drama

Michael Masi has left the FIA (Image: Getty)

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Michael Masi has decided to leave the FIA months after he was sacked as F1’s race director following last season’s controversial Abu Dhabi season finale. New FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem had promsied Masi would be reallocated following his dismissal. 

However, Masi has instead decided to return to Australia to “take on new challenges”. A statement from the FIA read: “The FIA confirms that Michael Masi has decided to leave the FIA and relocate to Australia to be closer to his family and take on new challenges. 

“He oversaw a three-year period as FIA Formula 1 Race Director and Safety Delegate following the sudden passing of Charlie Whiting in 2019, carrying out the numerous functions he was tasked with in a professional and dedicated manner. The FIA thanks him for his commitment and wishes him the best for the future.”

Masi was replaced as race director after a controversial end to the world championship at last season’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Former DTM race director Niels Wittich and World Endurance Championship director Eduardo Freitas took over the role in a dual capacity for 2022. 

READ MORE: Christian Horner admits Michael Masi ‘made mistake’ in Abu Dhabi

Masi’s dismissal came after he was criticised for his handling of the race after Nicholas Latifi crashed into the wall with just a handful of laps remaining, bringing out a safety car. 

However, Masi restarted the race allowing only the lapped cars between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to overtake. An FIA report into the finale said Masi had “called the safety car back into the pit lane without it having completed an additional lap as required by the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations.”

Hamilton went on to miss out on his eighth world title despite dominating from the start. The drama saw many fans slam the FIA and F1, with many branding the sport a “fix”.

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Michael Masi quits FIA with ex-race director relocating to Australia after Abu Dhabi drama

Michael Masi was demoted from race director ahead of this season (Image: Getty)

The FIA again pointed their finger at Masi by blaming “human error” for the controversy in their report after the race. But, they did claim Masi was still acting in “good faith” and to the “best of his knowledge”.

They said: “The process of identifying lapped cars has up until now been a manual one and human error led to the fact that not all cars were allowed to unlap themselves.”

“The report finds that the race director was acting in good faith and to the best of his knowledge given the difficult circumstances, particularly acknowledging the significant time constraints for decisions to be made and the immense pressure being applied by the teams.”

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