Former F1 race director Michael Masi departs FIA

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The FIA has announced that former F1 race director Michael Masi has permanently left motorsport's governing body.

After the FIA confirmed Masi's ousting ahead of the launch of the 2022 F1 season in the wake of his mishandling of Formula 1's season finale in Abu Dhabi, the Australian was placed on the sidelines but remained employed by the institution.

In May, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem alluded to the possibility of Masi being attributed new responsibilities with the governing body.

But with no news forthcoming and Masi returning to his homeland, the consensus in the paddock was that F1's former chief steward would eventually depart the FIA. That speculation has now become fact.

"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," read a statement from the governing body released on Tuesday.

"He oversaw a three-year period as FIA Formula 1 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."

Masi, who had built his experience as an official on the Australian motorsport scene and especially in the Aussie Supercar series, was appointed F1 race director following the sudden passing of Charlie Whiting on the eve of the opening round of the F1 season in Melbourne in 2019.

During his tenure at the helm of F1's race control and as F1's safety delegate, Masi had earned the confidence of F1's teams and drivers.

But his botched management of the closing stages of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, when he overruled the standard protocol regarding the safety car procedure, led to Red Bull's Max Verstappen overtaking race leader Lewis Hamilton on the final lap and snatching from the Mercedes driver the world title.

The controversial epilogue and calls for his resignation led the FIA to oust Masi and undertake structural changes to F1's race direction.

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