FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem says that Formula 1 will continue to work with different race directors, as was the case in 2022.
In the wake of the tumultuous season finale in Abu Dhabi in 2021, it was decided that the job of race director would be split between Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, who would take turns doing a number of races.
But that hasn’t stopped the controversy either. For example, there was the incident during the GP of Japan in which a crane came onto the track. This already ensured that the last four races would be completed under the supervision of Niels Wittich. From the riders camp it sounded that there was a lack of consistency.
Mohammed Ben Sulayem already announced during a visit to the Dakar Rally that there will also be different race directors in Formula 1 in the future.
“There is a process now and I have a team that is going through a decent trajectory and training for stewarding and for race directors,” said Ben Sulayem.
“You can’t just have one race director and rely on that. I see we have to prepare the second roll. We cannot rely on the greatest discipline we have, or any other discipline.”
“What if something happened? If we want to keep motorsport, we have to finish training.”
“I’m convinced that there are better race directors than anyone else, better stewards.”
“Now we reach the national sports authorities and we ask them to send us people for the training, and we now have a good team for the training. You get good officials. I promise.”
The decision to restructure race management came after the controversial season finale in Abu Dhabi in 2021, but Ben Sulayem would not say Michael Masi was forced to leave.
“It was also his choice,” he said. “I had spoken to him in the beginning. There were human errors in that, and I felt he just didn’t want to move on either, because of what he was getting from social media, the toxic social media.”
“I spoke to him, and it was unfair to him as well. The FIA was always supportive.”
“This is the same thing that is happening to Silvia (Bellot, an FIA steward who was threatened online after the US Grand Prix) and now to some of our members: threats.”
“I also received some threats to reverse the results, but I didn’t take them seriously.”
“But now we are standing up to the toxic social media that is corrupting our sport. I am convinced that if we do not take a stand, the damage to our sport in the future will be irreparable.”