Michael Masi, the Formula One Racing Director has been moved from his job following an investigation into his handling of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December.
Contrary to the rules, Masi erroneously allowed the title deciding race to be finished as a one-lap shootout. The transgression was allowing only some of the lapped drivers to pass the leading cars of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen before re-starting the race.
Masi was given the Race Director role on the eve of the 2019 season opening race in Australia when Charlie Whiting unexpectedly passed away. Since then, the 44-year-old has been a polarising character and his decision to race the final lap in Abu Dhabi was the overriding factor in Max Verstappen becoming the new world champion.
The decision by the FIA (The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) to shuffle their staff and move Massey to a new role does represents an admission that the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix should not be restarted the way it was.
Two New Directors and a VRC
In attempt to prevent further mistakes and ensure the rules of racing are diligently followed, the FIA have now given the Race Director position to two people: Nils Wittich – the current DTM race director – and current World Endurance Championship race director, Eduardo Freitas.
This pair will take turns in managing races in 2022. They will be assisted by 73-year-old Herbie Blush who had been Charlie Whiting’s right-hand-man but retired in 2016.
Other changes for the new F1 season ahead include the cessation of teams being allowed to send direct messages to the race director during a race.
Additionally, race officials will now be assisted by a virtual race control room. Described as similar to football’s controversial Virtual Assistant Referee (VAR) system, it will be housed outside the F1 circuit and will work in real time with the F1 race director using the latest technological tools.
Latest F1 Odds
With just over a month to the opening race of the season in Bahrain, here are the best F1 Drivers & Constructors odds currently available.
F1 Drivers Championship Odds 2022
- Lewis Hamilton – 6/4 Coral
- Max Verstappen – 9/4 bet365*
- George Russell – 11/2 bet365*
- Charles Leclerc – 12/1 Betfred
- Carlos Sainz – 22/1 Mansion Bet
F1 Constructors Championship Odds 2022
- Mercedes – 8/13 Betfair
- Red Bull – 11/4 Betfair
- Ferrari – 13/2 BetVictor
- McLaren – 28/1 bet365*
- Alpine 40/1 bet365*
* F1 odds correct at time of publication. Subject to changes.