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FIA ends race director rotation after Japanese GP crane report

The rotating race directors in Formula 1 races will come to an end after the FIA released its report into various incidents in the Japanese Grand Prix.

The FIA has announced that it will no longer have rotating race directors at Formula 1 races as the report in the Japanese Grand Prix crane incident has been released. After Carlos Sainz Jr's first lap shunt at Suzuka, a recovery crane was sent out onto the track to recover the stricken Ferrari - as the field snaked past behind the Safety Car. Fernando Alonso has admitted he did not even see the crane - while Pierre Gasly sped past nearly at racing speed having pitted for repairs at the end of Lap 1. The Frenchman was spooked as he wasn't told the crane was on the track, reminding some of Jules Bianchi's death in similar conditions at Suzuka in 2014. A panel formed by the FIA has now admitted it was wrong to deploy the vehicle - with race control having missed the fact that Gasly was in the pits - and steps will be put in place to ensure a repeat in rainy conditions cannot happen again.

No more rotating race directors

In the aftermath of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Michael Masi was sacked as race director, with Niels Wittich (below, left) and Eduardo Freitas (below, right) sharing the role on an alternating basis. Freitas was on duty as race director in Japan - but the FIA's statement has now revealed that the Portuguese will not be taking up the position at any of the remanning four races. Wittich will assume control in the United States, Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi - supported by the race control team. Drivers have been unhappy at the rotation between the two - with Wittich and Freitas holding different opinions about issues like track limits which change from race-to-race depending on who is on duty that weekend.

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