A month and a half after the conclusion of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship, the role of the current Race Director Michael Masi continues to hang in the balance. The Australian, heir to Charlie Whiting in the awkward position of F1 ‘referee’, became the scapegoat of the controversial race final he experienced in Abu Dhabi, when also thanks to his decisions under the Safety Car regime Max Verstappen managed to overtake Lewis Hamilton during the last lap, snatching the English world title. Mercedes in particular has been pointing the finger at Masi ever since, while the Federation has opened an investigation into the events that occurred in Yas Marina. Responsible for the investigation is Peter Bayerrecently promoted to ‘head’ of single-seater competitions by the Federation.
Interviewed by the well-known Austrian journalist Gerhard Kuntschick, Bayer also spoke about Masi’s delicate position, opening publicly for the first time to possibility of its removal from the role of Race Director. “Michael did a super job in many ways. We told him – declared the general secretary for sport of the FIA - but also that there is the possibility that there will be a new referee “. The Federation’s intention is to ‘unpack’ the tasks currently carried out by the race director, to allow him to concentrate more only on what is happening on the track.
“We are trying to divide the various tasks facing the referee – Bayer added – because he is also sporting director, delegate for safety and the track. All of this is just too much. These roles must be divided between different people. This reduces the burden on the referee “. The FIA man also discussed the opportunity – or not – to have a GP concluded under the Safety Car regime. The teams all agree that it is better to have a free race. For this reason, one is also being considered NASCAR style solution, with some laps added at the end of the race if the safety car enters during the last laps. The problem in this case for F1 cars, however, would be fuel management. For this reason the topic will be further explored.
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