After more than two months the FIA has finally made its first tangible move regarding the untangling of the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix situation.
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has announced today that race director Michael Masi will be removed from his duties ahead of the 2022 season.
Although the FIA did not openly state what it was that Masi did wrong, more and more mainstream media outlets are openly talking about the rule breaking that happened in Abu Dhabi.
In his report of the Masi news, ESPN’s F1 Associate Editor Nate Saunders says the FIA’s move is basically an admission of wrongdoing.
“Masi botched the finish of the title decider between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton last year,” Saunders wrote.
“The race was settled by a one-lap sprint, which saw Verstappen pass Hamilton to win the title after the safety car restart rules were incorrectly applied by Masi.
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“Masi effectively forced that last-lap showdown when he only let a certain amount of lapped cars overtake Hamilton, moving Verstappen right up behind him on brand new tyres before restarting the race one lap before the regulations said he was supposed to in that situation.
“On Thursday, new FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem confirmed that Masi had been removed from the position and replaced by an overhauled system of controlling and officiating F1 races.
“The decision is effectively an admission by the FIA that the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix should not have been restarted in the way it was,” Saunders concluded.
It is interesting that the FIA made this announcement just a day before Mercedes’ 2022 car launch. Similarly, back in December, they announced their Abu Dhabi inquiry a day before the deadline for Mercedes’ appeal.
It will be interesting to hear Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes’ comments tomorrow.