Last Thursday (17th February 2022), FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem announced reform of refereeing and race control in F1. The announcement follows an in-depth analysis into the events of the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which saw Max Verstappen take the world title from Lewis Hamilton in the final lap. The changes, which come into force for the 2022 season, kicking off in Bahrain on 18 March are a welcome development providing clarity to drivers and teams alike.
- “A Virtual Race Control Room will be created. Alike VAR in Football, it will be positioned in one of the FIA offices as a backup outside the circuit. In real-time connection with the FIA F1 race director, it will help to apply the sporting regulations using the most modern technological tools”.
- “Direct radio communication during the race will be removed in order to protect the race director from any pressure and allow him to take decisions peacefully. It will still be possible to ask questions of the race director, according to a well-defined and non-intrusive process”
- “Unlapping procedures behind a safety car will be re-assessed by the F1 Sporting Advisory Committee and presented to the next F1 Commission prior to the start of the season”.
- “A new race management team will be put in place starting in Barcelona for the test season. Michael Masi will be offered a new position within the FIA”.