Peter Bayer, the FIA secretary-general for motorsport, has revealed that the governing body is not ruling out the possibility of replacing Michael Masi as F1 race director. Bayer is currently heading the governing body’s investigation into the controversial safety car restart at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Speaking of the investigation’s progress during an interview with Austrian journalist Gerhard Kuntschik, Bayer said:
“Michael 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.”
Since the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, when Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton on the last lap of the race to clinch his maiden F1 title, a large section of the F1 community has been calling for Masi’s sacking.
The Australian’s actions as race director during the final laps of the Grand Prix were widely considered to have influenced the championship. Particularly, Masi’s decision to bring in the safety car on the second-to-last lap of the race, while only allowing select cars to unlap themselves, was particularly controversial. He was accused of disregarding the rulebook and taking decisions that were against the F1 sporting regulations.
In the immediate aftermath of the race, Mercedes protested the race director’s actions and demanded that the final race classification be reverted to the lap before the last lap.
The race stewards, however, rejected Mercedes’ protests and stood firm with Masi. As calls for accountability from the FIA started to increase in the weeks following the race, pressure on newly elected president Mohammed ben Sulayem also mounted.
The governing body duly came to an understanding with Mercedes to prevent the latter from going to the International Court of Appeals and promised to investigate the events of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
FIA considering reorganizing its structure, including “breaking up” F1 race director role
Peter Bayer has revealed that the FIA is considering reorganizing its organizational structure to better manage Grands Prix weekends, including “breaking up” the role of race director into several smaller and “manageable” roles.
Speaking in an interview with Austrian journalist Gerhard Kuntschik, Bayer said:
“(We are considering) dividing the various tasks of the race director, who is also sports director, safety, and track delegate. That was simply too much. These roles are divided between several people. This reduces the burden on the race director.”
Also ReadArticle Continues below
While Masi could lose his position as race director, Bayer has hinted that he might still retain a position with the stewarding team, possibly heading a “team of managers”.