Michael Masi was fired from his role as Formula 1’s race director on Friday morning NZT.
The decision stems from protests by the Mercedes F1 team regarding how Masi controlled the contentious 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi.
An official investigation was launched by the FIA following the race. Those results have not been published.
Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, race directors of the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) and World Endurance Championship (WEC), replace Masi and will share the role at alternative races.
Additionally, radio communication between race officials and teams will no longer be broadcast live on the TV feed.
While popular with some fans, the FIA believes having these conversations shared with the world put the race director under unnecessary pressure.
A virtual race control will also assist the sport’s new crop of referees.
You could think of it as a TMO in rugby or the third umpire in cricket. The virtual race control will work in real-time with the directors and focus on rule infringements. Race directors can then focus on other issues, namely safety.
“The combined moves of a VAR-type system and taking away direct communication between teams and the race director should serve as enough of a buffer to shield officials from in-race influence,” The Athletic’s Jeff Gluck said.
Next week, the overhauled race management crew will get their first trial run during pre-season testing.
Masi looks set to remain involved with the FIA.
President of the governing body Mohammed Ben Sulayem praised the Australian for stepping up in the wake of former director Charlie Whiting’s passing. However, Masi will be offered a new role.
“[Masi] accomplished a very challenging job for three years as Formula 1 race director following Charlie Whiting,” he said.
Sulayem also noted there have been revisions concerning safety car procedures and how lapped cars can un-lap themselves.