FIA’s newly appointed F1 head Peter Bayer has told Die Presse that Race Director Michael Masi has been seriously affected by the hostility in the press and social media. The motorsports body's single-seater head has revealed that the Australian will work with the FIA, although they are considering a new race director.
Talking about the effects of the backlash from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Bayer said:
“As a police officer, you rarely get any sympathy. What has become unbearable are the reactions on social media, which stop at nothing, as you saw with the death threats against Williams driver Latifi. Michael doesn’t have an account, but the hostility in other channels really hit him.”
Along with Masi, Williams driver Nicholas Latifi, whose crash brought out the safety car in the race, also received abuse and even death threats on social media. While the Canadian wrote an open letter addressing social media abuse and hatred, the Australian is not on any social media platform but does remain affected by the negativity and personal attacks on him after the Abu Dhabi GP.
Explaining Michael Masi’s situation in the FIA, Bayer said:
“In our conversations, I assured him of the support of the association and let him know: We want to continue working with you, but I also need your understanding that we do that subject to investigate.”
FIA’s ongoing investigation over the Abu Dhabi GP is being discussed with the teams and drivers. The regulatory body issued a statement recently saying no decision had been made and that the final decision would not be announced until March 18, 2022.
FIA’s Peter Bayer suggested Michael Masi could be replaced
The FIA F1 head defended Michael Masi’s job in the Abu Dhabi GP. He, however, revealed that they have had a conversation about the possibility of a new Racing Director for F1. Bayer said they will be making suggestions to the World Motorsport Council regarding the course of action for future seasons and that will include retaining Masi in the FIA.
Revealing his conversation with Masi, Bayer said:
“He did a great job.. We told him that, but also that there is a possibility that there will be a new race director. I can only make suggestions to the World Council, and they will definitely include him.”
While the FIA will present its detailed analysis and clarification over the Abu Dhabi events to the F1 commission on February 14, there will be no decision over the matter until the WMSC approves its findings on March 18.