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FIA to introduce its own version of football's VAR

FIA to introduce its own version of football's VAR

FIA to introduce its own version of football's VAR

FIA to introduce its own version of football's VAR

The FIA has announced it is to introduce its own version of football's video assistant referee [VAR] into F1 as part of a major shake-up of its race control.

The news has formed part of a major announcement from FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem who confirmed in his address following the conclusion of a long inquiry into the events of last season's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix the sacking of Michael Masi as race director.

Masi is to take up a new position within world motorsport's governing body, while race control will now be overseen by Niels Wittich, who has served as DTM race director, and Eduardo Freitas, the WEC race director.

The duo will be assisted by Herbie Blash, for so long the late Charlie Whiting's right-hand man, who will serve as a permanent senior advisor.

But one of the major new elements to aid the cause of Wittich and Freitas during F1 grands prix will be the introduction of what Ben Sulayem has described as a "virtual race control room".

The new president, who took over from Jean Todt in December, has likened it to "the video assistant referee in football".

In addition to removing Masi, it is a statement move from Ben Sulayem in a bid to add a level of certainty to the decision making from race control given the inconsistency from the Australian last season that was heavily criticised.

Ben Sulayem claims the VRCR, if we are to call it that, "will be positioned in one of the FIA offices as a backup outside the circuit".

He claims it will provide "real-time connection with the FIA F1 race director... to help to apply the sporting regulations using the most modern technological tools".

It is an added element to decision making the FIA will need to get right from the very start to appease drivers, teams, fans and media.

Following its implementation, VAR was heavily criticised - and remains so today on occasion - due to the length of time it takes to make decisions.

Those in F1 will want to see speedy resolutions to incidents, but more importantly a clear and consistent interpretation of the rules with the aid of its new tool.

A new era of F1 beckons this season on track with the cars designed to heavily revised aerodynamic regulations.

Following Masi's time as race director, the FIA is also determined to usher in a new era behind the scenes as it seeks to emerge from under the shadow cast by what took place at the Yas Marina Circuit on December 12, 2021.

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