Ben Sulayem admits Michael Masi “made a mistake”, but will remain with F1

© Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem admits Michael Masi’s Abu Dhabi decisions were a “human error” on his part, but the FIA did not “get rid” of him.

Back in February the World Motor Sport Council removed Michael Masi from the position of race director, after they determined he made a “human error” in the last race of the 2021 season, which allowed Max Verstappen to become the champion.

In a new interview with Sportsmail, FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem says this does not mean Masi will be completely removed from the FIA and Formula 1.

“I didn’t get rid of Michael,” Ben Sulayem said.

“He had a personal overload – safety delegate as well as race director. He made a mistake. It is not as if we said it is the end of Masi with the FIA.

“I don’t do that sort of thing. Even people who didn’t vote for me, I embrace. We don’t think of individuals. We think of the operation itself.

“I don’t know Michael very well. The decision fto remove him from the position of race director] was made by the World [Motor Sport] Council. It was human error on Michael’s part.

“I spoke to him two days ago, I have no personal issue [with him]. I don’t hate anyone. Michael is there and we might use him.

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“I didn’t say we were getting rid of him. I said we might use him. He may be in a good place to use. We are open to everything.

“Our race structure was wrong organisationally. And though we have brought in two new race directors, I wouldn’t say we have got it all right yet. We need to clean the stables.

“It’s not like going to a supermarket and asking for some more stewards. You need firm and fair people, tolerant people.

“I am thinking, for example, of bringing in rally co-drivers, who have plenty of multi-tasking skills that are required, and training them up. We need a recruitment drive.

“This lack of people in the FIA needs to be addressed. I would like to see a minimum of three race directors.

“Ideally by the beginning of next year,” Ben Sulayem concluded.

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