Michael Masi turns his back on the FIA, but could he still return as race director?

Michael Masi lost his role as race director after the dramatic finale to the 2021 season.

Former race director Michael Masi has left the FIA several months after his removal from his Formula 1 position.

Masi was the centre of controversy last season when he allowed a limited number of lapped runners to pass the Safety Car ahead of the final lap, leaving Max Verstappen to snatch the title from Sir Lewis Hamilton, who was cruelly denied his eighth crown.

The FIA stated in their report into the controversial finale that the result was “valid” and “cannot now be overturned,” before also confirming the announcement previously made by new president Mohammed ben Sulayem.

READ: Lewis Hamilton opens up on Abu Dhabi heartbreak as he was ‘robbed’ of eighth F1 crown

The Emirati replaced him with a combination of Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich – who themselves have come under fire this season – but a possible return was not ruled out after ben Sulayem suggested that there may even be room for a third race director.

There were suggestions that the 44-year-old may return in Miami when Wittich and Freitas both came down with COVID-19, but he was already thought to be in Australia at the time, so could not travel over at such short notice.

Motorsport Australia CEO, Eugene Arocca, previously called Masi an “elite talent” and a “strong leader,” so will keep an “open mind” as to bringing him back into the fold.

READ: Alonso admits ‘things are a little rough’ as he gives verdict on new FIA president

The world motorsport governing body has now confirmed that Masi has decided to move on, and he will move back to Australia to spend time with his family.

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“Michael Masi has decided to leave the FIA and relocate to Australia to be closer to his family and take on new challenges,” they stated.

“He oversaw a three-year period as FIA Formula One race director and safety delegate following the sudden passing of Charlie Whiting in 2019, carrying out the numerous functions he was tasked with in a professional and dedicated manner.”

The FIA made no mention in their message of the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

In their report, they acknowledged that he had been hampered by “multiple responsibilities,” as he served as safety delegate, track delegate, director of sports and race director all in one.

While Masi has for now turned his back on the FIA, if ben Sulayem’s previous comments are anything to go by, there is a decent chance the Australian could return as Formula 1’s race director in the future.