Former Formula 1 race director Michael Masi has broken his silence following his departure from the FIA.
The Australian was confirmed as having left the world motorsport governing body on Tuesday, having returned to his homeland.
In response, Masi has since issued a statement to Speedcafe.com, his first public comments since last December’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“It has been a pleasure and honor representing the FIA as the single-seater sporting director and FIA Formula 1 race director and safety delegate since Charlie’s unexpected and tragic passing in Melbourne 2019,” Masi said.
“Having worked on various projects around the world with the Federation and its member clubs for over a decade prior to my appointment, I have now decided to leave the organization and relocate back to Australia to be closer to my family and friends.
“I am proud to have worked in partnership for many years with the various FIA member clubs, Formula 1 Group, the competitors, promoters and circuit operators and my colleagues and team internally at the FIA.
“I will always treasure these lifelong relationships and friendships that I have developed throughout my journey to date.
“In particular, I am eternally grateful to Herbie Blash and the late Charlie Whiting for identifying me as a future successor in 2018, a role that I was looking forward to shadowing and learning from Charlie for many years prior to his shock passing.
“I also pass on my sincere appreciation for the support and guidance during my tenure of the former FIA president Jean Todt, Stefano Domenicali, and my dedicated FIA Single Seater team.
“I extend my appreciation to the tens of thousands of dedicated volunteers and officials that allow motorsport to happen each and every day around the world, as the safety of the competitors and officials has always remained my highest priority.
“Thank you to the FIA president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem and his presidential team for their personal support since their appointment and I wish them the best for the future.
“The personal support of my family, friends, and colleagues globally during this journey and particularly in the last few months can only be described as overwhelming and something that I will forever cherish.”
Masi has kept a low profile since the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which ended in controversial circumstances.
The FIA investigated the conclusion to the Yas Marina event which saw Max Verstappen claim the world championship, highlighting the excessive workload the race director was placed under.
It has since opted to share the job across two people, with support from a remote race control room in Geneva.
While he has his detractors, Masi is still held high esteem by many in both the Formula 1 paddock and broader motorsport community.