BREAKING: Masi fired over Abu Dhabi GP controversy, VAR to be used in Formula 1

Michael Masi will be offered a new position within the FIA, according to newly appointed President Mohammed ben Sulayem.

Michael Masi has been fired as the race director of Formula 1 following the highly controversial 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

FIA President Mohammed ben Sulayem announced the move on Thursday, and said that the Australian will be offered a new role at motorsport’s governing body.

Effective from the upcoming Barcelona pre-season test, Masi will be replaced by Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, while Herbie Blash will serve as permanent senior advisor.

“I would like to inform you that a new race management team will be put in place starting in Barcelona for the test session,” ben Sulayem said.

“Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas will act alternatively as race director, assisted by Herbie Blash as permanent senior advisor.

“Michael Masi, who accomplished a very challenging job for three years as Formula 1 race director following Charlie Whiting, will be offered a new position within the FIA.

“I presented this complete plan to the members of the World Motor Sport Council and the Senate who gave their full support,” the newly appointed FIA president added.

Continuing, ben Sulayem revealed that Formula 1 racing will start being policed by a virtual control room that will be similar to VAR.

“To assist the race director in the decision-making process, a Virtual Race Control Room will be created.

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“Alike the Video Assistance Referee (VAR) in football, it will be positioned in one of the FIA Offices as a backup outside the circuit.

“In real-time connection with the FIA F1 race director, it will help to apply the sporting regulations using the most modern technological tools.”

He added that in-race radio communication between teams and race control will be banned “to protect the race director from any pressure and allow him to take decisions peacefully.

“It will still be possible to ask questions to the race director, according to a well-defined and non-intrusive process,” he noted.

“Unlapping procedures behind safety car will be reassessed by the F1 Sporting Advisory Committee and presented to the next F1 Commission prior to the start of the season.”

It is currently unclear what new role at the FIA Masi will be offered, and it remains to be seen if he decides to accept the new position.

What happened in Abu Dhabi?

The Australian sparked controversy and criticism at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after he seemingly gave in to pressure from Red Bull and allowed the five lapped drivers between Sir Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to overtake the Safety Car.

This allowed the Dutchman, who had just pitted for a brand-new set of Soft-compound tyres, to overtake Hamilton on the very last lap of the 2021 season to seal his maiden F1 crown.

Mercedes team principal branded the end to the race “so not right” on the radio, while Hamilton claimed that the grand prix had been manipulated in favour of Verstappen.