Michael Masi could be replaced as F1 race director, hints FIA's Peter Bayer
FIA executive director of single-seaters Peter Bayer added that F1's governing body were looking at splitting the responsibilities of the race director between multiple people.
Last Updated: 29/01/22 7:47am
The FIA has provided the clearest indication yet that F1 race director Michael Masi could be replaced following the contentious finale to the 2021 title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Masi has been heavily criticised over his handling of safety car rules on the final lap, with his decision to allow only cars between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to unlap themselves paving the way for the latter, on fresher tyres, to overtake the Mercedes driver and clinch his first world title.
An official inquiry was subsequently launched by the sport's governing body, led by FIA executive director of single-seaters Peter Bayer.
"Michael did a super job in many ways. We told him that," Bayer told Austrian newspaper Vorarlberger Nachrichten. "But also that there is a possibility there could be a new race director."
- Time of the essence in F1's new-look weekend schedule
- AlphaTauri, Alpine latest to confirm F1 car launch dates
- Mercedes explain new F1 car 'landmines' and 'painful' predictions
The FIA is in the process of consulting with F1 teams on issues off the back of Abu Dhabi before reporting back at an F1 Commission meeting next month.
Bayer added that the governing body is looking at a new structure for race control with a view to spreading Masi's responsibilities between multiple people.
"(We are looking at) dividing the various tasks of the race director, who is also sports director, safety and track delegate," said Bayer.
"That was simply too much. These roles are divided between several people. This reduces the burden on the race director."
Bayer also confirmed that communication between team principals and the race director would be scrapped after Masi cited Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and Red Bull boss Christian Horner pleading their cases on various issues over mid-race radio.
"The team managers will still be able to - they have to be able to ask questions," Bayer said. "We want to build in a buffer with an employee who accepts these requests.
"In the future, the race director will be able to concentrate on his task and will no longer be distracted."
Hamilton is yet to confirm his F1 future as he waits on the outcome of the FIA's inquiry having admitted he had lost faith given the manner in which he missed out on the title.
Mercedes saw their protest against the result rebuffed by stewards before opting against appealing the decision.
"Had the Mercedes protest gone to the Court of Appeal, after being rejected by the stewards, what would have happened?" Bayer continued. "I think the judges would have said 'It's different in the regulations, he decided that way, so we could just void the result'.
"But even then - if it were cancelled - Max Verstappen would have been world champion. The situation was far from perfect and that's why we're working on it. It's also about having respect for the race director.
"My job is to look ahead, how can we improve things?"