Hamilton astonished by Masi’s return to F1

Hamilton astonished by Masi's return to F1

Lewis Hamilton is reportedly furious at the prospect of Michael Masi returning as race director after FIA President Mohammed ben Sulayem hinted at his return.

Masi was fired ahead of the 2022 season after the controversial 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi, in which a controversial Safety Car restart allowed Max Verstappen to overtake Sir Lewis Hamilton on the final lap to win his first world championship.

As a result of the investigation, Ben Sulayem who took over from Jean Todt said that Masi would be replaced by a combination of Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, who will alternate in the race director role.

After both of his successors were reported to have COVID-19, there was some anticipation that the Australian might be called up for the Miami Grand Prix, but Wittich was able to go to Florida and complete his duties.

After Masi’s decision last year, Hamilton and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff were claimed to be “disillusioned” with Formula One, and the Austrian recently labelled him as a “liability,” accusing him of being “disrespectful” to drivers and “abusing” event organisers.

Michael Masi still has a spot with the FIA, and ben Sulayem has confirmed that if the 44-year old is needed, he would be considered for a return to F1.

“Michael is there and we might use him,” FIA president, Mohammed ben Sulayem was quoted by the Daily Mail. “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.”

Masi was juggling his jobs as race director, director of sports, track delegate, and safety delegate at any given moment, and the “added pressure” of his “many roles” was cited as a major source of dispute.

“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,” Sulayem explained.

“It’s not like going to a supermarket and asking for 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.”

Another cause for the chaotic circumstances at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December was turnover of temporary staff on temporary contracts, and the 14-time East Rally champion would like to add more full-time employees, including another race director.

“We need a recruitment drive,” said ben Sulayem. “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.”

According to Sportsmail, Hamilton is “amazed” at the prospect of Masi returning to F1, while ben Sulayem apparently “does not want a fight” and “is only attempting to restore the FIA to its rightful status, nothing more or less.”

One may think that this is the cause for the sudden crackdown on jewellery after the regulation prohibiting it was implemented 17 years ago, but another source claims that it is about the FIA reminding the teams of their authority.

Typically, Formula One Management (FOM), the FIA, and the teams themselves are involved in the majority of the sport’s decision-making – and ben Sulayem wants to remind Wolff that he is not at the helm.

“Over the last few years the FIA has been marginalised and Ben Sulayem wants to return it to its old role,” the source told Sportsmail. “He doesn’t want anything himself, financially or in any other way.”

“He maybe feels that Toto has got a little ahead of himself. It’s not up to Toto to run Formula 1.”

After Niels Wittich presided over the first four races of the season, Eduardo Freitas is due to take over at the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend.

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