Following the F1 Commission meeting earlier this week; newly-elected FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has released a video statement on changes to the F1 refereeing structure. The changes were unanimously supported by the Commission and team Principals and are summarized as follows:
- A virtual race control room will be created with a realtime connection to the trackside Race Control. This system will work in a fashion similar to VAR in football and assist trackside stewards in analysing incidents.
- Direct radio communications to the race director will no longer be broadcast live so as to remove pressure during the race. As previously expected, how teams communicate with the race director will also change. There will be a newly defined system, to avoid putting the race director under such intense pressure from team Principals who will be working in the interests of their own drivers.
- Prior to the season taking off in Bahrain next month; a new unlapping procedure will be presented to the next F1 Commission to avoid a repeat of events of Abu Dhabi last season.
Arguably the biggest announcement of the 3-minute video was the removal of Michael Masi as Race Director. Niels Wittich (former DTM race director) and Eduardo Freitas (WEC race director) will alternate as race directors starting from the test sessions in Barcelona. Masi will, however, be offered a new position within the FIA. You can watch the video announcement below: