Formula 1

Race Director Michael Masi Plans to “Let Them Race” Upon Formula 1 Return

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Photo Credit: Octane Photographic

FIA race director Michael Masi plans to let the drivers race when the 2020 Formula 1 season finally gets under way in July, and hopes that the officials and stewards won’t intervene unless absolutely necessary.

After many have expressed that drivers could be “rusty” when they return to the track for the Austrian Grand Prix. The likes of Lewis Hamilton, George Russell, and Christian Horner are among those who have said they expect a lot of off-track moments, collisions, errors, and more once competitive racing starts up again.

While these incidents would normally warrant a plethora of penalties from race control, Masi hopes to keep them to a minimum so that the on-track action won’t be spoiled by stewards sanctions.

“I don’t think any of them have ever been out of a car or kart or anything else for this long ever,” Masi told Sky Sports F1’s vodcast in late May.

“But in Austria I think it will be more of a continuation of where we were with the ‘let them race’ principles towards the end of last year. I can’t see anything changing dramatically.

“At the end of the day, we have 20 of the best drivers in the world. They’re in Formula 1 for a reason. While they may not have been in a car of recent times, I don’t think that’s going to have a great deal of impact in their capabilities.”

Masi was also asked about the possibility of some tracks running races in reverse to fill the calendar, and explained how that idea was never an option to him. 

“I did have to have a giggle when I saw some comments about some circuits running backwards,” he said. “While it would be nice to have circuits that run both ways in some areas, it’s a much more challenging task and would involve literally changing walls of places.

“All of the circuits, and the safety infrastructure is designed – be it the walls, flag posts – around the cars running in a certain direction.

“Even when it comes to the openings when a car breaks down, if you’re running the opposite direction you’re effectively running into a blunt wall,” he explained. “The amount of work would be astronomical to make it happen, let’s put it that way.”

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Lifelong sports junkie, currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Hofstra University. Lead writer for Indycar at The Checkered Flag.
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