Race director sacked by the FIA ahead of 2022 US Grand Prix

Formula 1 have ditched the two race director rotation system for the rest of the season

It was hoped that following a controversial end to last season, starting fresh with two new race directors rotating on a race by race basis would bring more stability and clarity to the sport.

Michael Masi was removed from his position following his controversial decisions in Abu Dhabi.

The race director seemed to manipulate the rules, allowing only some of the pack to overtake the safety car, giving Max Verstappen a golden opportunity to snatch the title from Lewis Hamilton, with one lap of racing on fresh soft tires.

Arguably the race should have either finished under the safety car, or have been red flagged, allowing multiple laps of fair racing with everyone having the opportunity to change tires.

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is still outraged by the decision almost a year on.

“It changed the result, and it would have made Lewis [Hamilton] an eight time champion and the best there ever has been,” he told Harvard Business School.

This season has, however, not seen an increase in confidence in the race directors, with last week’s incident with Pierre Gasly bringing forward some seething comments from drivers and pundits.

With all 20 cars still on track, in extreme wet conditions, the race director Eduardo Frietas dispatched a tractor onto the track to retrieve the stricken Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, rather than waiting for the red flag, or at least all cars to be bunched up behind the safety car.

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Gasly, who had pitted to repair damage, was catching up to the safety car when he passed the tractor on track, which due to the conditions he could not see, leaving the Frenchman outraged, with this being the same corner Sainz aquaplaned at a matter of minutes ago.

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An accident could have proved fatal and following outrage and statements on social media from drivers such as Lando Norris, Eduardo Frietas has been relieved from his duties as race director for the season.

“From the United States Grand Prix in Austin and the following races in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi, Niels Wittich [the other director in the rotation] will assume the position of race director with the support of race control staff,” confirmed the FIA.

With only four races left, fans hope that the season will end incident free, with the safety of the drivers and integrity of the sport being of the upmost priority.