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FIA axed Masi "to take pressure and stress from him" - Ben Sulayem

FIA axed Masi "to take pressure and stress from him" - Ben Sulayem

FIA axed Masi "to take pressure and stress from him" - Ben Sulayem

FIA axed Masi "to take pressure and stress from him" - Ben Sulayem

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has revealed Michael Masi was axed from his role as race director to remove "the pressure and stress" from his shoulders.

Masi paid the price for what has been described in the FIA's inquiry report as "human error" that occurred during the closing stages of last season's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Although the report also stated Masi had "acted in good faith" with his decisions, Ben Sulayem felt it was incumbent on the FIA to ultimately make changes.

Asked as to Masi's role now, Ben Sulayem said: "To take the pressure and the stress from him, because really he went through a lot, and we are grateful for the three years that he invested with us and he put his time in.

"Now we are negotiating with him, of course, to stay in the FIA. He is an important figure to us. So our people are negotiating, I would say, not a job, but another place for him within the FIA.

"Now we want to move on, we have finished with the race analysis, now we have a new race in Bahrain, the beginning of the 2022 [season], with all the new cars, all the excitement.

"We should enjoy it, leave that behind us and make sure we have a good new year."

FIA opted for two race directors due to "human fatigue"

The FIA has appointed two new race directors in Niels Wittich, who is overseeing this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix, and Eduardo Freitas, supported by Herbie Blash, with a sporting director due to be taken on in the future.

A virtual race control room, F1's equivalent of the video assistant referee, is also now operational.

Explaining the reasoning behind the changes, Ben Sulayem added: “Formula 1 is such a hi-tech and dynamic sport that we cannot run race control like we used to.

"A race control director cannot be just one director. That’s the reason we brought some of our staff back like Herbie, for example, to support the race director.

“On top of that, we also have to do rotations, not just one. Because if you talk about 23 races, human fatigue is there, you’re talking about travels, so that cannot be so. This is also a solution."

FIA has delivered not just promised

As for the VRCR, Ben Sulayem said: “The idea came to me in January when I made a visit to some of the Formula 1 teams and we went to one of the launches.

"I said ‘What’s that? It looks like a theatre?' And they said ''This is actually a race control, but virtual'. I said ‘Why don’t we have one?’ I asked if we had one, and they said no.

“So we have invested in it and it’s actually working [since Friday]. So we didn’t promise, we are delivering.

“So they [the VRCR] will have another race control director, officials, they will have the legal department, they will support it.

"But the virtual race control will not be running the race. The race will be run from the country itself.”

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