Masi’s return on the cards as FIA president wants three race directors

FIA President Mohammed ben Sulayem has already dealt with a lot in his short tenure, however, he remains open to Michael Masi making a controversial return to the sport.

New FIA President Mohammed ben Sulayem has said he has “inherited a lot” since taking charge of the FIA, which he did the week after the 2021 Formula 1 season finale.

Already, Ben Sulayem has had to deal with the controversial season finale inquiry, what to do with Michael Masi, Lewis Hamilton’s absence from the prize-giving gala and now Hamilton’s refusal to take-off his jewellery.

The first-ever non-European FIA President, won the vote comprehensively, taking home 62-per-cent of the votes.

“I inherited a lot of things. I will not run away. I have to confront them to go forward,” ben Sulayem said in an interview with

In the FIA’s 117-year history, ben Sulayem is the first non-European president, making cultural change in motorsport a top priority for the 60-year-old.

The president is planning on appointing an Equality and Diversity Officer, to ensure all demographic groups are well represented and are offered the same opportunities as others.

Ben Sulayem has made his feelings over the 2021 season finale known, with the president believing the report into the race didn’t go far enough to solve the issues.

“I don’t think what’s [being instituted] for Race Control is a cure. We put a bandage for the time being in the aftermath of Abu Dhabi.”

Since taking on his role, Michael Masi has been removed from the role of F1 race director, and replaced by Niels Wittich and Eduardo de Freitas.

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It was decided that the role and responsibility shouldn’t be left down to one person, as was the case with Masi.

The 2022 season has so far only seen Wittich hold the role of race director, however, going forward these responsibilities will be rotated with Freitas.

Freitas’ first Formula 1 event as race director will be at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

“We have Niels [Wittich] and Eduardo [de Freitas], they are good, but what if something happens to either of them?” questioned Ben Sulayem,

“Niels had Covid [in the run-up to Miami’s race] and thankfully he’s [now] healthy and strong, but the pinnacle of motorsport should not rely on one person, it should run automatically.

“The federation should not run because of me, but [because] of the whole team. This is something I’m looking into. It is doable, but takes hard, smart work.”

Ben Sulayem recently told the Daily Mail, “I would like to see a minimum of three race directors, ideally by the beginning of next year.”

This opens the door to Masi to make a highly controversial return, one that wouldn’t go down well with the Mercedes F1 Team.

It’s believed that Masi is currently back home in Australia, but still on the FIA payroll.

Whilst his return to the sport would raise a number of questions, there is actually no reason as to why he can’t return.

READ: Robert Kubica to make appearance at 2022 Spanish Grand Prix

Masi was found not guilty during the investigation into last year’s finale, meaning that there is no barriers stopping the Australian from reclaiming his role as Formula 1 race director.

Away from Masi, whilst talking in his exclusive interview, ben Sulayem explained how he wants to make sure that FIA championships leave a legacy in the countries they compete in.

“We are not a circus, to go to a country and do something, then leave it and we don’t leave an impression or a legacy. It is not right.”