Who're Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich, and why are they changing Michael Masi in F1? - Motor Informed
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Who’re Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich, and why are they changing Michael Masi in F1?

F1 and the FIA got here in for criticism about how the ultimate laps had been dealt with on the final yr’s season finale, which triggered the investigation led by new FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem over the winter.

The result sees Masi replaced as F1 race director by WEC race director Eduardo Freitas and former DTM race director Niels Wittich who will alternate the position, whereas former deputy race director Herbie Blash has been appointed as a senior advisor.

Blash acted as former F1 race director Charlie Whiting’s right-hand man till leaving the position as deputy race director on the finish of the 2016 season. Since then, Blash has labored as a guide to Yamaha on its World Superbike programme.

Further changes to race control may even be put in this yr, with remote assistance from an off-site FIA facility which has been likened to the video assistant referee (VAR) in soccer.

Radio communication between groups and race management may even now not be broadcast, whereas the unlapping process underneath a security automotive might be reviewed.

Who’re Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich?

Eduardo Freitas (right) has been a long-time race director in WEC

Eduardo Freitas (proper) has been a long-time race director in WEC

Eduardo Freitas

Very like former F1 race director Charlie Whiting, Eduardo Freitas started his motorsport profession as a mechanic, first with a ardour for bikes earlier than transferring into the world of karting in 1979.

The Portuguese progressed from a monitor marshal up the ranks till he turned a race director in karting.

Freitas was working as clerk of the course at Estoril in 2002 when he was requested to take cost of the FIA GT and ETCC championships for a season and he remained in that position till the tip of 2009.

The FIA then promoted Freitas to the FIA GT1 world championship earlier than he turned race director for the World Endurance Championship in 2012. He additionally acts as race director within the European Le Mans Collection and Asian Le Mans Collection.

Niels Wittich

Niels Wittich is the previous race director of the DTM sequence, having stepped down from the position on the finish of 2021, when he was already set to maneuver to F1 for 2022 on a full-time foundation as help to Michael Masi.

The German had beforehand been named as race director for the FIA F2 and F3 championships, whereas supporting the F1 race director at sure occasions.

Niels Wittich (right) talks to Lucas Auer

Niels Wittich (proper) talks to Lucas Auer

Picture by: Gruppe C GmbH

Why are Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich changing Michael Masi?

New FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem, who was elected to exchange the outgoing Jean Todt simply days after the Abu Dhabi GP, made one in all his first pledges to analyze the F1 race and enact change decided by the findings.

Ben Sulayem introduced Masi would get replaced as F1 race director after his position within the Abu Dhabi finale, when he allowed solely the lapped vehicles between the title fighters Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to unlap themselves, organising a final-lap showdown that the Dutch driver gained to clinch his maiden F1 world title.

It appeared to contradict all earlier security care restart procedures, both letting all of the lapped vehicles unlap themselves or none of them, whereas the race additionally began earlier than the tip of the lap the vehicles had been permitted to move the leaders as acknowledged within the F1 rulebook. If that rule had been adopted the race would have completed behind the security automotive with Hamilton forward of Verstappen and subsequently 2021 F1 world champion.

As a part of the evaluation from the Abu Dhabi GP investigation, Ben Sulayem noticed it crucial to exchange Masi with Freitas and Wittich who will share the position of F1 race director.

What expertise have they got in motorsport?

Eduardo Freitas

Eduardo Freitas has been the ever-present race director within the World Endurance Championship since its first race in its present inception in March 2012. He has taken cost of each WEC occasion, together with the Le Mans 24 Hours, whereas he has over 40 years of expertise in motorsport.

Niels Wittich

Niels Wittich was most just lately the DTM race director whereas he additionally labored as a part of the F1 race management workforce at a number of occasions in 2021.

Have they labored in F1 earlier than?

Eduardo Freitas

Freitas hasn’t labored instantly in F1 beforehand, however has labored alongside each Michael Masi and his predecessor Charlie Whiting in FIA conferences and race director conferences on the governing physique, together with the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix at Portimao.

Niels Wittich

Wittich was on obligation at a number of F1 races in 2021 as help to Michael Masi and was set to make the position everlasting for 2022 earlier than the Abu Dhabi GP investigation.

Michael Masi, Race Director

Michael Masi, Race Director

Picture by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

What’s going to change in System 1?

Michael Masi will now not be accountable for System 1 races. As an alternative the position might be shared by Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich, with help from Herbie Blash who will maintain a senior advisor position, ranging from the pre-season Barcelona take a look at on 23-25 February.

Race management may even be given distant help from an off-site FIA facility which can help the race director on choices from a Digital Race Management Room. It is going to have real-time connection to the F1 race director and assist apply the sporting laws.

Direct radio communications throughout monitor periods between groups and the race director might be restricted and never broadcast on TV, however groups will nonetheless be capable of ask inquiries to the race director underneath a brand new non-intrusive course of.

The unlapping procedures behind a security automotive throughout F1 races may even be reviewed by the F1 sporting advisor committee and offered to the subsequent F1 fee.

What’s going to occur to Michael Masi?

Michael Masi has been supplied a brand new place inside the FIA however won’t be concerned within the F1 race route set-up. It’s thought the brand new position supplied to Masi might be a security position.

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