Michael Masi, who recently departed the FIA, has spoken out for the first time since the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix fallout.
Masi held the role of F1’s Race Director for three seasons, however he came under a flurry of scrutiny for his decision-making at last year’s race in Abu Dhabi that saw Max Verstappen triumph over Lewis Hamilton in the championship fight.
The Australian was removed from his post as the sport’s Race Director prior to the start of the 2022 campaign.
Speaking to speedcafe.com, Masi says that he has moved back to Australia to be closer to his family after several years working with the governing body.
“It has been a pleasure and honour representing the FIA as the single-seater sporting director and FIA Formula 1 race director and safety delegate since Charlie’s unexpected and tragic passing in Melbourne 2019,” Masi said.
“Having worked on various projects around the world with the Federation and its member clubs for over a decade prior to my appointment, I have now decided to leave the organisation and relocate back to Australia to be closer to my family and friends.
“I am proud to have worked in partnership for many years with the various FIA member clubs, Formula 1 Group, the competitors, promoters and circuit operators and my colleagues and team internally at the FIA.
“I will always treasure these lifelong relationships and friendships that I have developed throughout my journey to date.”
The statement continued: “In particular, I am eternally grateful to Herbie Blash and the late Charlie Whiting for identifying me as a future successor in 2018, a role that I was looking forward to shadowing and learning from Charlie for many years prior to his shock passing.
“I also pass on my sincere appreciation for the support and guidance during my tenure of the former FIA president Jean Todt, Stefano Domenicali, and my dedicated FIA Single Seater team.
“I extend my appreciation to the tens of thousands of dedicated volunteers and officials that allow motorsport to happen each and every day around the world, as the safety of the competitors and officials has always remained my highest priority.
“Thank you to the FIA president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem and his presidential team for their personal support since their appointment and I wish them the best for the future.
“The personal support of my family, friends, and colleagues globally during this journey and particularly in the last few months can only be described as overwhelming and something that I will forever cherish.”
F1 is currently rotating the Race Director role between Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas.