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Masi future on hold as F1 to only stage three sprint races in 2022

Masi future on hold as F1 to only stage three sprint races in 2022

Masi future on hold as F1 to only stage three sprint races in 2022

Masi future on hold as F1 to only stage three sprint races in 2022

The future of FIA race director Michael Masi remains on hold following a meeting of the F1 Commission during which a number of other issues were resolved.

The findings of an FIA inquiry into last season's final grand prix in Abu Dhabi were presented on Monday to the F1 Commission, which includes motorsport's governing body, F1 and representatives from all 10 teams.

The FIA was forced to act given the controversial events at the Yas Marina Circuit where Masi seemingly failed in his duty to correctly apply the regulations, as well as being apparently influenced by radio messages during the furore that unfolded.

Williams driver Nicholas Latifi's late crash sparked a safety car and decisions from Masi that played a definitive part in Red Bull driver Max Verstappen winning his first F1 title after overtaking Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton on the final lap to deny the Briton his eighth crown.

Uproar followed, forcing Mercedes to launch a protest that was subsequently rejected by the stewards, and while the team threatened to appeal, it opted to withdraw on the understanding major changes would be made.

It is understood an update is due from the FIA later this week with regard to "structural changes", with the race director set to be supported in a role that has too many functions to be overseen by one man.

A joint F1/FIA statement read: "The FIA president [Mohammed Ben Sulyaem] led detailed discussions of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

"Feedback from the Commission on matters raised will be incorporated into the President’s analysis and he will publicly present news of structural changes and action plan in the coming days."

Imola, Austria, Brazil to host sprint in 2022

The F1 Commission has agreed to stage only three sprint races this season, the same as last year when the event was trialled albeit only half as had been hoped for. The hosts this year will be Imola, Austria and São Paulo.

Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari had all argued for an increase in the budget cap to accommodate the extra number of sprints, an idea that pitched them in opposition against the remaining seven teams, F1 and the FIA.

The compromise is again three races, with further discussions to take place over the coming year in a bid to increase to six next year.

There will be additional points scored, however, with the top eight now scoring as opposed to only the top three last year, with the winner claiming eight points down to one for eighth.

It has also been determined that for the pole position record books, it will be awarded to the driver fastest in qualifying on Friday and not to the driver who wins the sprint on Saturday.

However, the driver who finishes first in the sprint will start from top spot on the grid for the grand prix.

The joint statement added: "Following a review of the three sprint events that took place in 2021 and a recognition by all that the format created positive benefits for the sport, three sprint events were proposed for 2022, acknowledging this as a sensible number in light of the pressures already on the teams for this season with the introduction of major changes to the regulations.

"The Commission unanimously approved the three sprint events for the coming season, incorporating a number of updates to the format based on the feedback of fans, media and teams."

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