The FIA could replace Formula 1 Race Director Michael Masi with veteran official Eduardo Freitas, according to reports.
Masi’s position is in peril after his central role in the controversial 2021 F1 season conclusion in Abu Dhabi, where Max Verstappen was crowned world champion.
Lewis Hamilton led most of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit before a late crash forced a safety car to enter the track.
Under those restrictions, the season was set to end with Hamilton winning a record eighth Drivers’ Championship.
But Masi allowed racing to resume in the final lap and Verstappen, on fresh tyres, overtook his Mercedes rival to claim his maiden success.
The Australian Race Director’s decision was immediately questioned, and whilst Mercedes withdrew their appeals over the result, the FIA are still investigating the remarkable events.
Results of the investigation won’t come to light until March 18, just days before the 2022 season gets underway.
However, the FIA could decide to replace Masi with current WEC Race Director Freitas after audio of a conversation between him and Jonathan Wheatley at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was leaked earlier this week.
According to DAZN Espana, various sources have named Freitas as a possible candidate to become F1 Race Director in 2022.
Last year, the Portuguese official celebrated 20 years as an FIA Race Director and undoubtedly boasts the experience required to arrive in F1.
He also holds recent experience acting in the same role for Le Mans 24 hours, ELMS and Asian LMS.
DAZN Espana’s report doesn’t bode well for Masi, and many fans would be delighted with Freitas’ arrival.
Some have already called for the veteran to replace Masi, with Bradley Philpot launching a petition on change.org to rally for his appointment.
The petition’s description states: “After an unprecedented season of inconsistent and extremely questionable stewards’ decisions, culminating in the farcical end to the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, we are petitioning the organisers of Formula 1 to replace the current race director with well respected and experienced Eduardo Freitas from the WEC.
“Freitas has over 20 years of high-level race director experience and is regarded around the world as a voice of consistency and authority.
“It is vital that viewer and fan confidence is restored in the policing of F1 races, which has been eroded throughout the 2021 season.”