F1 has 'key focus' on race support in 2022, says Christian Horner as Abu Dhabi inquiry rumbles on
F1 Commission meeting - where Michael Masi's future could be decided - is on February 14; ex-FIA president Jean Todt says he has remained in contact with Australian, speaking to him as a "human being"
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 08/02/22 6:24am
Red Bull boss Christian Horner says F1 are putting a "key focus" on supporting the Race Director moving forward following the controversial end to last season, with the sport's race-management structure set to change for 2022.
Michael Masi, F1's current Race Director, has been under immense scrutiny over his handling of 2021's title-deciding Abu Dhabi GP and the late Safety Car that allowed Red Bull's Max Verstappen to catch and then usurp Lewis Hamilton to dramatically seal the title.
While he remains in position for now, an FIA inquiry to Abu Dhabi is ongoing and the sport's governing body is expected to propose changes to how races are managed at the next F1 Commission meeting on February 14.
That could mean Masi is helped out in his role in the future, or replaced altogether within a new structure.
Horner, who like his Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff was putting pressure on Masi in the closing stages of the Yas Marina race, says whoever the Race Director is needs support.
"The new FIA president [Mohammed bin Sulayem] has put a key focus on this and I think there's a big drive to make sure the Race Director has better support," Horner told Sky Sports News at Sunday night's Autosport Awards.
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"The tools we have at our disposal are far in advance of Michael and his team.
"So I think there's been a lot of focus over the winter and I think you'll see that role better supported, which will hopefully enable decisions to be easier and swifter, but I think we've also got to look at the regulations to simplify them as well."
Ex-FIA president Jean Todt, meanwhile, says he has remained in contact with Masi since that Abu Dhabi GP finale and expressed his concern over the impact it has had on the Australian.
"I've been speaking with him, not specifically about what happened in Abu Dhabi, but about him as a human being," Todt, whose 12-year FIA presidency finished days before 2021's season-ender, revealed to SSN's Craig Slater.
"I hope he will be OK."
Brown: F1 will learn from Abu Dhabi
Among the other team bosses in attendance at the Autosport Awards was McLaren's Zak Brown, who said he was confident F1 would "regain its credibility" and has "learned from" last year's decider.
He also voiced his frustration about the delay in the FIA's inquiry, with the findings not set to be revealed until March 18, two days before the opening race of the 2022 season in Bahrain.
"It can definitely regain its credibility," said Brown. "It's not the first time we've had an ump or a referee make a controversial call.
"This one happened to be pretty big. But I think the sport will have learned by it.
"The only thing I'm a little bit disappointed about is that we might share those results at the first race of the year.
"It doesn't take that long to do an investigation. Let's get it done, let's go to the first race of the year talking about the first race of the year - not the last race of last year."