Ex-F1 race director Masi leaves FIA to return home

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Former Formula 1 race director Michael Masi has left the FIA to return home to Australia, it has been confirmed.

Masi is synonymous with his decision to only allow those lapped cars between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to unlap those behind the Safety Car in the final laps of last year's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

That decision essentially cleared the way for the Red Bull driver to overtake Hamilton on fresher, softer tyres on the final lap to take the win and the championship.

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Since then, Masi has been vilified for his actions and he was removed as race director before this season.

An investigation into his handling of the Safety Car restart later concluded he made a "human error" in Abu Dhabi, albeit in "good faith" to ensure the race ended under green flag conditions.

Earlier this year, new FIA president Mohamed Ben Sulayem didn't rule out Masi returning to F1 in some capacity.

However: "The FIA confirms that Michael Masi has decided to leave the FIA and relocate to Australia to be closer to his family and take on new challenges," a statement said.

"He oversaw a three-year period as FIA Formula One Race Director and Safety Delegate following the sudden passing of Charlie Whiting in 2019, carrying out the numerous functions he was tasked with in a professional and dedicated manner.

"The FIA thanks him for his commitment and wishes him the best for the future."

Wittich Freitas

During this season, Masi's role has been handled by two race directors, Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, while a new remote Race Control was set up to assist race officials at the circuit

However, the drivers are still far from pleased with how races are being managed with Sebastian Vettel given a suspended 25k Euros fine after storming out of the Drivers Briefing without permission.

George Russell has also called for a return to one race director and less alternating of stewards to improve consistency in decisions over racing matters.