Controversial Aussie quits motorsport after Formula One debacle

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·Sports Reporter
·2-min read
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Former F1 race director Michael Masi (pictured) during an interview.
Former F1 race director Michael Masi (pictured) has left his role at FIA seven months after being sacked from his previous role due to the conclusion of the season at Abu Dhabi. (Getty Images)

Former F1 race director Michael Masi has left his role at the FIA to head back to Australia after a turbulent few months.

Masi made worldwide headlines at the conclusion of the F1 in Abu Dhabi when he made the controversial call to allow drivers between championship leader Max Verstappen and second place Lewis Hamilton to un-lap themselves during the introduction of the safety car.

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Verstappen, on fresh tyres, passed Hamilton, who was on used rubber, to take the title on the final lap.

The FIA said Masi "acted in good faith and to the best of his knowledge" but conceded he performed a "human error".

F1 sacked Masi after the huge controversy, but was offered a new role within the organisation according to president Mohammed ben Sulayem.

However, seven months after being sacked from the role of race director, Masi has left his position at the FIA.

"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 read.

"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."

Michael Masi's F1 conclusion controversy

While Mercedes were left fuming at the conclusion of the 2021 race, Hamilton was graceful in defeat.

However, Mercedes team lodged and then dropped their appeal against the result in a reported agreement that Masi would be removed by the FIA - an accusation the Silver Arrows have strenuously denied.

Before his sacking, Masi received the backing of a number of drivers - notably four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and British driver Lando Norris.

Lewis Hamilton (pictured) waves to the crowd at the Austria GP.
Lewis Hamilton (pictured) lost the 2021 Championship to Max Verstappen after a controversial ending in Abu Dhabi. (Photo by Gongora/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Verstappen accused the FIA of "throwing Masi under the bus" after he was stood down.

Masi was replaced by Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, but the appointments have not been met with universal approval.

with AAP

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