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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Liam Llewellyn

Ex-F1 race director Michael Masi breaks silence after quitting FIA after Abu Dhabi drama

Former F1 race director Michael Masi claimed he was “thankful” for his time in this sport after opting to leave the FIA. The Australian became the most controversial person in the sport after his contentious decision cost Lewis Hamilton a record eighth world title in Abu Dhabi last December.

It saw him lose his job and seven months after that fateful day on the final day of the 2021 season, he has walked away from the organisation in order to relocate to Australia and spend more time with his family. Speaking publicly for the first time since that evening, Masi, 44, who did not address the contentious season finale, thanked those who have supported him.

"The personal support of my family, friends, and colleagues globally during this journey and particularly in the last few months can only be described as overwhelming and something that I will forever cherish,” he began. "It has been a pleasure and honour representing the FIA as the single-seater sporting director and FIA Formula One race director and safety delegate since Charlie Whiting's unexpected and tragic passing in Melbourne 2019.

"Having worked on various projects around the world with the Federation and its member clubs for over a decade prior to my appointment, I have now decided to leave the organisation and relocate back to Australia to be closer to my family and friends. I am proud to have worked in partnership for many years with the various FIA member clubs, Formula One Group, the competitors, promoters and circuit operators and my colleagues and team internally at the FIA.

"I will always treasure these lifelong relationships and friendships that I have developed throughout my journey to date. In particular, I am eternally grateful to Herbie Blash and the late Charlie Whiting for identifying me as a future successor in 2018, a role that I was looking forward to shadowing and learning from Charlie for many years prior to his shock passing."

He was replaced by Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas as race directors on an alternating basis for the ongoing F1 season, and Herbie Blash as Permanent Senior Advisor to the pair. Masi was then offered a new position within the FIA.

Michael Masi released a statement after choosing to leave the FIA and move back to his native Australia (Getty Images)

He concluded his statement with a special mention to FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem. "I also pass on my sincere appreciation for the support and guidance during my tenure of the former FIA president Jean Todt, Stefano Domenicali (F1 CEO), and my dedicated FIA Single Seater team,” he added.

"Thank you to the FIA president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem and his presidential team for their personal support since their appointment and I wish them the best for the future."

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