Michael Masi, former race director for the iconic Formula 1 (F1) motor racing series, has stepped back entirely from the FIA, motorsport’s international governing body.

The move, announced yesterday (July 12), comes around eight months after Australia’s Masi incorrectly applied rules at the final race of the 2021 F1 season in Abu Dhabi last December – leading to a final-lap overtake that handed Red Bull’s Max Verstappen the title.

In February this year, an FIA inquiry found that these mistakes were down to “human error”, and Masi was removed from his post.

Masi, who became race director in early 2019 following the sudden death of previous occupant Charlie Whiting, has “decided to leave the FIA and relocate to Australia to be closer to his family and take on new challenges”, an FIA statement has said.

The governing body added that Masi “oversaw a three-year period as FIA Formula 1 race director and safety delegate following the sudden passing of Charlie Whiting … carrying out the numerous functions he was tasked with in a professional and dedicated manner.”

It had been reported earlier this year that Mohammed Ben Sulayem – the FIA president from last December – was in talks with Masi about him finding a new role at the organization, but it has now been suggested that Masi declined to continue after feeling that the governing body failed to fully support him in the wake of the Abu Dhabi incident.

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Following on from Abu Dhabi, several changes have been made to race day operations to prevent similar mistakes from happening again.

The role of race director has been split between two people, a virtual race control has been established to support the on-site personnel, and rules being put in place to prevent teams from communicating directly with the race director.