Michael Masi has been removed from his post as F1 race director after the controversial ending to 2021’s Abi Dhabi Grand Prix. Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the new FIA president, has received incredible support from teams and drivers as he’s made this change, plus a number of others that will impact the sport.
Masi will be stopping his race directing duties from next week’s pre-season testing in Barcelona where he’ll be replaced by two people.
But who is replacing Michael Masi as race director then?
Masi is being replaced by Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich who will be alternating duties between races. Alongside them will be Herbie Bash as a senior advisor. Let’s take a deep dive into who these three people are.
Want to know more about Eduardo Freitas – newly appointed as one of the two new @F1 race Directors for 2022 – Here's an interview conducted with him to celebrate his 20th anniversary as an @fia Race Director at Spa last yearhttps://t.co/JJGReWpZps pic.twitter.com/8SHXPTnJ8l
— Graham Goodwin (@dsceditor) February 17, 2022
With 20 years of experience under his belt as the Race Director for the World Endurance Championship, he’s used to assessing the racing between over 60 cars, four different classes, and in very difficult conditions. Endurances racing is one of the hardest motorsports out there, not only because of the long hours and talent on the field, but also because of the racing conditions. Rain, lack of light, and fatigue is the menu of the day, so we believe Eduardo is more than ready to take on Formula 1.
His career in racing began in the early 2000s as a track marshal, but he quickly became the Race Director of GT and European Touring Cars. As well as this, he gained experience in Formula 1 during the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix when he was brought in as part of the race direction team.
His love for motor racing is more than clear, and fans of Freitas even started a petition for him to be brought in as F1 race director.
— Chequered News (@chequered1news) February 17, 2022
Neils Wittich was the race director of the DTM Series until 2021 before moving to F1 for the 2022 series. He has plenty of experience doing the same for Formula E, Extreme E, F2, and F3, and thanks to this, the FIA already had plans to bring Wittich into the sport as a support for Masi on a permanent basis.
Charlie Whiting's long-time assistant Herbie Blash is back in the #F1 race direction set-up as part of the post-Michael Masi revamp.
— The Race (@wearetherace) February 17, 2022
Herbie Blash retired as F1’s assistant race director in 2016, but since then has been active in the engineering side of motorsport. For 2022, he’s been given the position of permanent advisor, and will be working very closely with Wittich and Freitas to create fair and regulated racing.
Funnily enough, while Herbie is a brilliant name, especially within the world of cars, Blash’s real name is Michael, but he was nicknamed Herbie while working for Lotus in the ’60s as a mechanic.
“I was working on Graham Hill’s Lotus 49 and Colin Chapman came over to look at something on the back of the car,” he said according to The Race.
“I was refilling the gearbox with oil but I’d forgotten to put the drain plug back in and I poured oil all over Colin’s new Hushpuppy suede shoes.
“He said, ‘My God you’re a proper Herbert, aren’t you!’ After that it just stuck.”