Although he is sympathetic that Michael Masi has lost his job as FIA race director, Carlos Sainz says he “trusts” the changes that the FIA have announced.
As Ferrari launched their F1-75 on Thursday, FIA president Mohammed bin Sulayem took to the stage, and social media, to announce changes to this year’s race director role.
Masi, who courted controversy with his decision-making at the Abu Dhabi finale that all but decided the Drivers’ Championship, has been sacked, replaced by Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas.
The duo will rotate the role, assisted by Herbie Blash as a 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,” added Bin Sulayem.
There will also be a Video Assistance Referee (VAR) in place, as is used in football, and the teams will no longer be allowed to “pressure” the race director.
Today, @FIA opens the way for a new step forward in @F1 refereeing
Watch the video: https://t.co/EnPF0x7272 pic.twitter.com/sFzA0KrJTe
— Mohammed Ben Sulayem (@Ben_Sulayem) February 17, 2022
Sainz has wished Masi well for his future tasks in the FIA, and hopes the FIA’s new plan ensures that the race director is properly “supported”.
“I personally would like to wish Michael all the best in his new role,” he said at the launch of the F1-75.
“I’m sure he will be given a lot of responsibilities because we, as drivers, and for me at least I trust him in whatever he’s done lately and he’s done for the benefit of F1.
“I also welcome the new race directors and I’m sure they will have a very difficult task to complete.
“We saw the last few years in F1, it is a very difficult role, especially filling in the shoes of the late Charlie [Whiting], you know, that we all definitely miss.
“But we also accept that this role needs to be done properly. It needs to be done and supported, like the FIA is planning.
“So I actually like what I see on the ideas from the FIA. Hopefully we can keep improving as a sport and the ruling of the sport can keep improving to give more clarity to all the F1 drivers, but also for the fans and teams.”
Sainz was one of the drivers who didn’t benefit from Masi’s call to allow only some cars to unlap themselves in Abu Dhabi, the Spaniard left with backmarkers between himself and Max Verstappen.
He finished the race third, not given the opportunity to attack the Dutchman.
His team-mate Charles Leclerc added: “I have a lot of respect for Michael and for everything he has done. He’s been in a particularly difficult seat for the past years, and especially in Abu Dhabi obviously.
“With an end like this, it was always going to be controversial. But the FIA has made a decision and it has a lot more information than I do here.
“So I fully trust that this is the right decision, and we’ll go forward with this.”
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