Michael Masi recovers from Abu Dhabi controversy as he takes on new role

Michael Masi was dropped as Formula 1's race director following his controversial handling of the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP.

Michael Masi will be taking on a new venture starting in 2023, with the Aussie having been announced as a new director on the Karting Australia board, along with commercial lawyer Melissa Holzberger.

The duo will begin their new rules at the start of January, which is, of course, just a couple of weeks away.

Masi appears to be doing extremely well since having returned to his homeland following his departure from the FIA, which came largely as a result of his handling of the 2021 season finale.

For the entire 2021 season, Masi ensured that Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen would be able to battle, with the pair having gotten away occasionally with actions that nowadays would invoke a penalty.

READ: Red Bull rush to clarify Max Verstappen comment

His handling of 2021 in particular was commendable at times, especially given how heated the titanic battle was towards the end of the campaign.

However, what he did at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix wasn’t in line with the rulebook, after he opted to break multiple rules regarding the Safety Car.

With just a handful of laps remaining, a Safety Car was needed after Nicholas Latifi crashed heavily in the final sector, which saw Hamilton’s lead vanish.

There were several lapped cars in between Hamilton and Verstappen, who ran one and two for the majority of the race at the Yas Marina Circuit.

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Controversially, though, Masi opted to only release the lapped cars that were between the two rivals, rather than all the lapped drivers throughout the field.

As well as this, he opted to bring the Safety Car period to an end a lap earlier than he was supposed to, meaning the final lap of the season was when racing returned to green flag status.

Hamilton labelled the race as “manipulated”, with the seven-time World Champion having been overtaken on the final lap by Verstappen, which resulted in the Dutchman claiming the win and the title.

Following an investigation by the FIA, they came to the conclusion that Masi had made a ‘human error’, one that Hamilton, and Masi, will likely never forget.

Masi officially left the FIA in July to take up a role as Chairman of the Supercars Commission in Australia; he also became a member of the South Australia Motorsport Board.

It appears that his new role with Karting Australia will be in addition to the positions he currently holds, where his “world level” experience will be most welcomed.

READ: Lewis Hamilton addresses ‘problems’ with George Russell

“Michael’s experience in the world of motorsport in Australia, and on a world level, is exceptional, and we’re delighted that he has decided to accept the invitation to join the Board,” said Karting Australia Chairman Kevin Davis.

“Melissa is well versed in the way in which Karting Australia operates and brings great business expertise and adds further experience to our already well-credentialled Board of Directors.

“To have two more highly credentialed people like Michael and Melissa join our Board adds further strength, stability, and experience for Karting Australia.”