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Wolff welcomes 'very encouraging' FIA changes

Toto Wolff has spoken positively about the changes made by the FIA to their race governance structure.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has praised the "very encouraging" steps taken by the FIA to rectify weaknesses in how races are governed. With Mercedes calling off their planned appeals after the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix controversies, in light of the FIA's decision to closely investigate and analyse the events of the controversial race, FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem confirmed the initial steps taken during a special video address on Thursday. Ben Sulayem revealed that FIA Race Director Michael Masi, who made the controversial call to withdraw the Safety Car before the final lap in Abu Dhabi, will not continue in his position in 2022 . Instead, Masi will be given a new role with the FIA, with the Race Director role alternating between Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas – both men being ably backed by permanent advisor Herbie Blash.

FIA introducing a "Virtual Race Control" as extra support

On top of that, F1 will introduce a 'Virtual Race Control Room', using the latest technologies to provide further assistance to the Race Director. This will be similar to football's Video Assistant Referee technology. With the FIA taking firm action ahead of the 2022 season, Wolff revealed his support for the decisions taken. "I think it's very encouraging to see that action has been taken," he said at the launch of Mercedes' W13 F1 car. "There's a much more robust structure now and support structure for the Race Director. "The FIA has stated that there will be a virtual Race Control Room [with] state-of-the-art technology. And now we shall be going [with] the new guys [Freitas and Wittich] in place for the Barcelona test. And I think [they're] the right steps."

Wolff banishing Abu Dhabi GP "shadow"

With Mercedes and Wolff switching focus to the 2022 F1 World Championship as the team launched their new-look W13, the team boss said it is time to leave the past in the past and aim to add to their eight successive Constructors' titles. "There is no such thing as really coming back to full energy, but it's OK. We're looking forward to race; it's what we love to do," Wolff said, when asked if he feels refreshed after the short winter break. "It feels a little bit surreal that, as a team, we were able to achieve that [Constructors' title] eight times in a row. Obviously, there was this shadow with the Drivers' Championship, with Lewis' championship, [with] the Abu Dhabi situation, but let's look into the future. "Definitely, we want to continue where we started, but we have no sense of entitlement."

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