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FIA president: 'Race direction could not continue as we were used to'

FIA president: 'Race direction could not continue as we were used to'

22 March - 16:57 Last update: 18:24


The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix brought about a lot of turmoil at the end of last season. The FIA made several changes to the regulations in response to the decisions of race director Michael Masi and Masi himself had to leave. FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem is pleased with the new approach.

Downside radio contact with race director

One of the changes this season is that team bosses can no longer contact the race director directly. Last season we heard especially Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff and Red Bull team boss Christian Horner regularly get on the radio to complain about the way things were going during the Grands Prix.

In an interview with Tom Clarkson on the Facebook page of the FIA, Sulayem reveals that this radio contact between teams and race control was used as entertainment for the fans, but had its downside. "The race control was bombarded with unnecessary messages," Sulayem said. "It put pressure on the race director and caused stress. That's over now." Incidentally, team owners still have the option of contacting the race director directly in case of an emergency.

Masi replaced by Wittich and Freitas

The main change in terms of race management is the replacement of race director Masi. After the controversy surrounding his decisions with the safety car in Abu Dhabi, he had to resign from his position. From now on, the position of race director will be filled by two people who will alternate, Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas. They will be assisted by former deputy race director Herbie Blash. According to Sulayem, the race management could no longer be carried out in the same way.

"Formula 1 is such a high-tech and dynamic sport that the race management cannot consist of just one person. That's the reason we brought back Blash, for example." In addition, with the ever-expanding calendar, it is no longer doable for one race director and the position will be alternated from now on. "There are 23 races, so you have to deal with fatigue with all that travel. This is a solution to that."

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