The FIA has of course taken action over what happened there, as announced yesterday. Michael Masi has been removed from the role and offered another (unspecified) position within the governing body and other improvements to shore up the system have been made. This has come in the wake of the FIA’s own investigation of the Abu Dhabi race. The fact that it has taken this action has to be seen as an implicit admission that Masi’s actions were – as we’ve said all along – not valid, that there is nothing in the sporting regulations which gave him the power to do what he did.
Those actions put the FIA in an extremely awkward position – as was reflected in the immediate aftermath by the stewards’ upholding of Masi’s choices in such a contrived way, but also in its statement afterwards which suggested it was the misunderstanding of the teams, fans and media about the incident which was responsible for the damaging of F1’s reputation!
“Hopefully everyone will get a better understanding of everything so we can move forward”
There was also the matter of how long it took for the investigation to get underway and then for the action announced yesterday to be taken. The FIA is not the most transparent of organisations, is very tradition-bound and it’s difficult not to sense that it would rather the whole thing had just been accepted and everyone moved on. In the statement that it was the ‘misunderstanding’ of others is the suggestion that only it decides what is legitimate and what is not.
But while acknowledging the positive changes it has made, there has still been no suggestion that the specific results of the investigation will be made public, as was originally suggested would happen. In this too, one senses the FIA is still very uncomfortable with making a full revelation about just exactly what went wrong and how. Will that investigation ever be seen?
Hamilton was asked about it. He didn’t seem aware that there was some doubt about that now. “I’ve not seen it,” he said. “I didn’t think it was out yet. I’m excited to see the results of that report and hopefully everyone will get to see it and get a better understanding of everything and ultimately it’s down to understanding where we’ve been so we can move forward in a positive way.”
That is indeed what should happen now. But should and will are not always the same.