The new FIA President has backed F1 Race Director Michael Masi and expanded his powers
The FIA has confirmed Michael Masi has the race director for the 2022 F1 season despite there being a huge outcry over the race director’s role in the contentious end to the 2021 F1 season. Generally, ever since Masi took over after the unfortunate demise of Charlie Whiting, the F1 paddock has been unhappy with inconsistent decision-making by the Australian and the team of stewards that adjudicate over the races. Interestingly, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the new FIA president has expanded the powers of the race director.
“In almost all sports there is a single referee per game, who is the one who makes the decisions and they are not subject to appeal. Maybe we should take this path. This would significantly speed up the imposition of penalties, instead of having to wait to transfer a fact to sports commissioners and for them to investigate and decide. It cannot be that hours after a race the result varies,” said Ben Sulayem, in a decision endorsed by the members of the FIA World Motor Sports Council.
This decision came after Suleyman’s predecessor Jean Todt, who was in charge till earlier this month also indicated that the FIA had to be stricter with the teams when they challenged their decision-making in public. Suleyman has also not ruled out penalties for Lewis Hamilton who missed the mandatory attendance at the F1 season finale gala which he didn’t.
There could be modifications coming into the international sporting code in wake of what happened in the 2021 F1 season. One of the changes that have already been tabled is the tightening of communications between the teams and the race officials. Two-way communication will be replaced with one-way communication coming directly from the race director. Ben Sulayem also has his eyes on post-race time penalties and time penalties as a general.
“The five seconds of punishment that are customary to be imposed are often ineffective. The sanctioned man has a free hand to try to recover that time on the track, as Lewis Hamilton did in Silverstone. On the contrary, if the sanction is a ‘drive-through’ or is met at the pit stop, then one or more positions can be lost, which the sanctioned must then recover,” an FIA source told SoyMotor.com.
Also, the process of giving back race positions is also being looked at and the FIA also wants to avoid situations like the one seen in the Saudi Arabian GP where Verstappen slowed down to handover position to Hamilton just before the DRS zone where he could recover it because of the slipstream and extra horsepower boost thanks to D ₹