Formula 1 | Who is Michael Massey: F1 teacher rules in focus

Formula 1 race director Michael Massey has been under fire since the start of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after the controversial race’s end prompted Max Verstappen to challenge Lewis Hamilton for the 2021 World Championship. But what is the job of a race director at the FIA ​​and how much time does he spend in that?

Who is Michael Massey?

Michael Massey, born in 1979 in Sydney (Australia), is the FIA ​​Formula 1 racing director. In this job, he works as a referee on the weekends at the Grand Prix and monitors the safe conduct of activities on the track.

He is also Formula 1’s safety delegate, and therefore plays a central role in a number of areas, including the inspection and approval of racetracks for their use. He is also closely involved in setting up the sporting regulations for Formula 1.

What experiences did Michael Massy have before Formula 1?

Prior to joining Formula 1, Massey gained experience in various jobs in the sport in his native Australia, particularly in and around the popular supercar class. He made his first live experience with Formula 1 as a young spectator at the 1992 Australia Grand Prix in Adelaide.

His uncles led club racing, and as a teenager he worked with teams on the Super Tour series. Since 2003 he has worked for TEGA, the ‘TouringCar Entrants Group Australia’ organisation, which has developed into an operational role in the Supercars chain.

Here he gained his first experience working with referees and running a race. In 2008, he was recruited by CAMS, the Australian Motorsport Federation, and helped establish the first Grand Prix in Singapore in 2008 and Korea 2010, where he oversaw the training of local officials.

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Massey has also worked in karting and rallying in Australia. In 2012, he returned to the supercar scene and became Deputy Racing Director under Tim Shenkin in 2015. He held this position for four years before moving to Formula 1.

How long has Michael Massey been a Formula 1 racing director?

Charlie Whiting has been Formula 1 racing director since the early 1990s, and Herbie Blush served as his deputy. After Blash’s resignation, Frenchman and former Toro Rosso engineer Laurent Mekies Whitings was a deputy – before abruptly moving to the Ferrari Formula 1 team.

Whiting needed a deputy for the 2018 season and asked Massey and Formula E racing director Scott Elkins to share the job this year. After nine moderated races, Massey was appointed as Vice-President for a similar number of races in 2019 and as Permanent Vice-President for Formula 2 and Formula 3.

Whiting unexpectedly passed away on the eve of the first race of the 2019 season in Australia. Massey stepped in to take on the role over the weekend in Melbourne. Then he took over the rest of the year. As of January 2020, the position has officially been transferred to him on a full-time basis.

What is the job of a Formula 1 race director?

On Grand Prix weekends, Masi takes full responsibility for race management and is directly responsible in many areas, such as the cancellation of red flag races, the use of safety cars and virtual safety cars and the use of black and white warning flags.

It also decides where to monitor the track limits on individual racetracks. However, he does not decide on penalties – this is the task of a panel of four judges, including a former racing driver.

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Usually, Massey refers an incident to the stewards, who decide whether it should be investigated, conduct a full investigation if necessary, determine if there has been a violation, and then confirm any punishment.

He also communicates with sports officials on the track through the senior official on the site. After each race, Massey reviews the events of the weekend and makes suggestions for possible improvements.

How does the race director communicate with the drivers and teams?

The main official contact between Massey and the Formula 1 drivers is his online post-training briefing, which takes place on the Friday evening of each race weekend, but drivers can also meet him casually at other times.

Each team has a formal contact through a designated representative, who is usually the sporting director or team manager.

The team’s sporting directors also hold their regular meetings with Massey on the Thursday before the weekend, but – like the drivers – they can meet with him at any time or call him if questions arise.

Massey also often communicates with sports directors over the radio during races, for example when the driver is gaining an advantage by going off the track. Teams may be advised to tell their drivers to return a seat to avoid a penalty.

On the contrary, they can ask him questions or give advice on behalf of their teams. These radio messages were broadcast on television for the first time in 2021. These broadcasts showed that team leaders sometimes contact Masi directly.

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