George Russell and Valtteri Bottas demand FIA returns to Michael Masi approach

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has confirmed that multiple race directors will once again be appointed for the 2023 season.

After Michael Masi was sacked in 2021 following the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem decided to split the race director role between two alternating officials.

Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich will both be replaced after only a year in the role after catastrophic errors from both race directors last season.

Freitas was the man behind the highly controversial Japanese Grand Prix, where drivers were left outraged by the decision to deploy a recovery crane on the circuit where Jules Bianchi tragically lost his life, in extreme wet conditions.

After this incident Wittich was given control over the rest of the season and incorrectly informed Haas that they had one hour after the US Grand Prix in Austin to lodge a complaint against Fernando Alonso and Alpine.

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Alonso was initially slapped with a 30-second post-race penalty for driving an unsafe car but his finishing position was quickly reinstated when it became apparent that Haas actually only had 30 minutes to launch an appeal, making their case invalid.

After Mohammed Ben Sulayem confirmed earlier this week than another two race directors would be appointed to replace Freitas and Wittch, F1 drivers have come together to voice their discontent for the shared role.

“We believe that having the rotation isn’t the best thing for a sport, for that consistency,” said Mercedes driver George Russell, via The Mirror.

“We’ve never had a steward from a previous event at the following race to talk about and certain decisions, I believe.”

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The man who Russell replaced at Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas, has echoed the Brit’s thoughts, suggesting that consistency would help to improve the sport.

“One would be better than two or three, that’s my feeling,” said the Alfa Romeo driver.

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“The same person in each race, you always have the same person to discuss with if he’s been in all the races before and taken all the feedback and kind of knows our view.”

This disagreement between F1 and the FIA is another one to add to the list in an increasingly tense relationship.

The FIA have recently encouraged the expansion of the F1 grid with Andretti-Cadillac keen, despite F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali previously shutting down suggestions that an extra team could join the sport in the coming years.