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FIA admit: Masi could be replaced as Race Director

The FIA have, for the first time, confirmed that Michael Masi's position as Race Director might not be secure for 2022.

Formula 1 could have a new Race Director in 2022, as the FIA's Peter Bayer has admitted that there is a possibility Michael Masi might be replaced. Masi's decision-making at last year's title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has resulted in an uproar, with his handling of the Safety Car restart procedure having a direct impact on the outcome of the championship. The FIA, under newly-elected President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, have begun a detailed investigation into the events of the race, with the final report due to be released on 18 March. On the same day that an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council has been confirmed for next week , Bayer said that Masi could be replaced. "Michael did a super job in many ways. We told him that," Bayer, Single-Seater Manager and Sports Secretary at the FIA, is quoted as telling Gerhard Kuntschik of Austria's Salzburger Nachrichten. "But also that there is a possibility there could be a new Race Director." Acknowledging just how thinly-stretched Masi had been during the course of the 2021 season, Bayer explained that the role could be split amongst several appointees. "[We are looking at] dividing the various tasks of the Race Director, who is also Sports Director, Safety and Track Delegate," he went on to comment. "That was simply too much. These roles are divided between several people. This reduces the burden on the Race Director."

Are the Safety Car rules set to change?

Masi is understood to have chaired an FIA meeting of the Sporting Advisory Committee last week regarding the use of the Safety Car and how it is used in the future. Bayer confirmed that different options are being evaluated on how to proceed with Safety Car interventions. Referring to NASCAR rules, he said: "If neutralisation is necessary in the last two laps of the race, the lap counting ends and the laps are added at the end of the Safety Car phase. "This could cause a fuel problem in F1, which is why it is being looked at more closely. "We also asked the teams if their requirement not to finish a race under Safety Car was still relevant, to which they all agreed." In addition to that, Bayer confirmed that contact between the teams and Race Control during a race will be restricted to select employees of the outfit. "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."

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