The controversial Formula 1 race director Michael Masi is set to be sacked from his position, a decision that may pave the way for Sir Lewis Hamilton’s participation in the 2022 season. This was after it became increasingly evident that Sir Lewis had lost faith in the FIA and was reluctant to commit to his racing future until Formula 1 governing body made the findings of its inquiry public.
A report by BBC quoted Peter Bayer, the newly appointed FIA’s head of F1, as saying, “Michael (Masi) did a super job in many ways. We told him that. But also that there is a possibility there could be a new race director.”
Bayers also currently heading the inquiry, which was launched by the FIA in the aftermath of the global outrage over Masi’s controversial decision during the Abu Dhabi race. The Australian race director’s decision helped Max Verstappen to win his first-ever World Championship title while preventing Sir Lewis from winning his record eighth title.
The latest report over Masi’s future came just days after it was reported that there was ‘widespread acceptance across the sport that race director Michael Masi failed to follow the rules correctly during a late safety-car period in the title-deciding race.’
However, FIA issued a brief statement saying that no decision on Masi’s future had been taken yet. It read, “At this stage, no decision has been taken on the outcome of the detailed analysis currently underway into the events of the last Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“As previously announced, the findings of this detailed analysis will be presented at the F1 Commission meeting in London on 14th February after an open discussion with all F1 drivers and then finally have to be approved at the World Motor Sport Council meeting on 18th March in Bahrain, under the authority of FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem.”
Masi was found to have broken the FIA rules in two different ways in Abu Dhabi. First, his handling of lapped cars was hugely controversial followed by the timing of the restart of the race after the deployment of the safety car.
In Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Sir Lewis Hamilton had led the race for 57 out of 58 laps until the race director, Michael Masi, controversially decided to ignore the FIA rules and allowed Max Verstappen to win his first World Championship title. Many believe that the race was fixed to stop Hamilton from being the all-time great. Had Sir Lewis won the Abu Dhabi race, he would have become the only race driver to win a record eight world championship titles.