FIA president floats potential F1 return of Michael Masi

Mohamed Ben Sulayem said he will deploy the former F1 race director as and where he sees fit.

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Michael Masi could be set for a return to Formula 1 over two years after his controversial decisions at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, according to a statement from the president of the FIA, Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

Masi, who was heavily criticised by Mercedes in 2021, resigned from his role as F1’s race director after his incorrect enforcement of safety car procedure cost Lewis Hamilton a record-breaking eighth drivers’ world championship title.

“I always apologise, but I cannot apologise for something which was done before my time,” Ben Sulayem told Associated Press. “OK, I will do the apology, but I will bring Michael Masi again. Do you think that is right?

“The poor guy is a person who has been attacked and abused. Michael Masi went through hell. Hell! And if I see there is an opportunity that the FIA needs, and Michael Masi is the right person, I will bring him.”

After Masi’s departure from the role, the spot as race director was shared between Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich, with the latter joining from DTM. They had Herbie Blash serving as a special advisor but now only Wittich remains in the job.

Wittich also serves as the race director for the World Endurance Championship alongside his duties in F1.

Masi after F1

After Masi lost his spot in the FIA’s flagship sport, he departed the organisation and instead moved to the position of “independent chairman of the Supercars Commission” in his native Australia, where he was spotted in the paddock at the 2023 Australian GP.

He also assumed a spot on the board of directors of Karting Australia in December 2022.

Masi further said that he sought out mental health support due to online abuse he received at his actions at the Abu Dhabi GP and due to the strain of relocating back to Australia from Europe.

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