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Michael Masi sacked by FIA with two new race directors appointed

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The FIA has sacked Michael Masi as Formula One race director in the aftermath of the controversy in last season’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has named the Australian’s successors in a major shake-up ahead of the 2022 campaign.

As part of a statement on Thursday, Ben Sulayem confirmed Masi has been replaced as race director by Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, who will alternate in the role, with Herbie Blash to offer support as senior adviser.

It read: “I would like to inform you that a new race management team will be put in place starting in Barcelona for the test session.

“Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas will act alternatively as Race Director, assisted by Herbie Blash as permanent senior advisor.

“Michael Masi, who accomplished a very challenging job for three years as Formula 1 race director following Charlie Whiting, will be offered a new position within the FIA.

“I presented this complete plan to the members of the World Motor Sport Council and the Senate who gave their full support.”

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Ben Sulayem hopes the changes will act as a ‘new step forward’ in F1 officiating after the 2021 season was marred by Masi’s late call costing Lewis Hamilton a record-breaking eighth world title.

He continued: “With this plan, FIA opens the way for a new step forward in Formula 1 refereeing. Without the referees, there is no sport. Respect and support of the referees is in the essence of the FIA.

“That is why these structural changes are crucial in a context of strong development and the legitimate expectations of drivers, teams, manufacturers, organizers, and of course, the fans.

“I warmly thank all those who contributed to this reform. These changes will enable us to start the 2022 Formula 1 season in the best conditions, and our sport will be even more loved and respected.”

READ MORE: Ross Brawn has alarming F1 message for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton

Masi’s new role in the FIA remains to be seen, but two new names will be directing the 23 races throughout the new season in a race control revamp.

Niels Wittich, former DTM race director, was already announced as Masi’s deputy for the 2022 F1 season.

The 49-year-old will now alternate in the role with Eduardo Freitas, who has spent over 20 years as an FIA race director.

He most recently refereed at Le Mans 24 Hours, FIA WEC, ELMS and Asian LMS.



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Ruud van Nistelrooy makes next job decision as Man Utd plan coaching appointment

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That decision failed to pay off, however, with the Red Devils sacking Moyes after just 10 months in charge.

After the current West Ham boss came Van Gaal, who arrived with big things expected due to his past success at the likes of Barcelona and Ajax.

Giggs was hoping to get the Red Devils job himself, which was why he stayed, but both ended up leaving nearly six years ago.

When Jose Mourinho took over, he opted to maintain his close relationship with Rui Faria – who had previously worked under him at clubs such as Real Madrid and Chelsea.

Fair departed in the summer of 2018, though, with Michael Carrick then given a place on Mourinho’s bench.

Carrick stayed to work under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the Norwegian also regularly picking up the thoughts of Phelan and Kieran McKenna throughout his spell in the dugout.

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