F1 will continue to have multiple race directors, according to FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem

F1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan - Final Practice
Mohammed Ben Sulayem succeeded Jean Todt as the president of the FIA.

Formula One has been operating with multiple race directors since the controversial title decider in Abu Dhabi during the 2021 F1 season, where Michael Masi’s implementation of the rules became a big talking point.

The FIA, F1's governing body, had both Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas divide the race director duties between them in 2022. However, when Pierre Gasly drove past a truck that shouldn’t have been on track in Japan, the former took charge till the end of the campaign.

Despite ending the season with only one race director (Niels Wittich), FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has said that F1 will go back to the ‘multiple-director’ system from 2023.

In a media briefing at the Dakar Rally, he said:

“There is a process now and I have a team who is going through a proper process and training for stewarding, and for race directors. You cannot just have one race director and rely on them. I see that we should prepare the second role. We cannot rely in the biggest discipline that we have, or any other discipline.”

He added:

“What if something happened? If we are going to sustain motorsport, we have to be ready with training.”
Who would have imagined that having multiple race directors would result in such inconsistency throughout the season #F1 #FIA

The 61-year-old also stated that many talented officials were operating at the grassroots level who, with the right training, could go on to help manage F1 races. He stated:

“I am a big believer that there is, somewhere in the world, better race directors than anyone, better stewards. Now we are reaching to the ASNs and we are asking them to send us people for the training, and we have a proper team now for the training. You will get good [officials]. I promise this.”

“It was also his choice” - Mohammed Ben Sulayem on FIA parting ways with former F1 race director Michael Masi

Mohammed Ben Sulayem took charge as the FIA president not long after the controversial 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Criticism of race director Michael Masi's handling of the race led to an internal review and investigation, which ended with the FIA parting ways with Masi, among other things.

When asked why the FIA let Masi go, Ben Sulayem said that it was not just the governing body's decision. He said:

“It was also his choice. I’d been talking to him at the beginning. There were human errors there, and I felt that he also wanted to just not go further, because of what he got from the social media, the toxic social media. I spoke to him, and it was unfair also for him. The FIA was always supportive."

He added:

“This is the same thing that’s happening to Silvia [Bellot, FIA steward], again to some of our members: threats. I got some threats also, to reverse the results, but I didn’t take them seriously.”

He continued:

“But now we stand against the toxic social media that will affect our sport. I am a big believer that if we don’t take a stand, we might find the damage will be beyond repair for our sport in the future.”
🗣️ | FIA chief Mohammed ben Sulayem blames "toxic" F1 fans for Michael Masi's exit"I'd been talking to him at the beginning. There were human errors there, and I felt that he also wanted to just not go further, because of what he got from social media, the toxic social media."

Michael Masi currently works as a member of the Board of Directors at Karting Australia in Australia.

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Edited by Diptanil Roy
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