Following the tragic passing of the FIA F1 Race Director Whiting in the days leading up to the 2019 Australian GP, Masi took the helm and stepped into his position at the last minute. It was a temporary fix at first, but after a number of races, his role was made permanent.
His year went quite well, bar a few hiccups such as the Canadian GP, and for this success, Masi credits the F1 community, who helped him at every stage of the year, where he had to fill the shoes of Whiting, who had multiple jobs, in addition to race director.
“I have enjoyed it,” said Masi. “What happened in Melbourne is a hugely sad, unfortunate set of circumstances on a number of levels, and I’ve been asked, a couple of times – more times of late, what my toughest event of the year was, and by far it was Melbourne.
“But overall, I couldn’t have got through this year without the team of people I have immediately around me at the FIA and the support that I receive there. Also, our partners at F1 group and the way that everyone there chased down to all the operational guys.
“Like whether it were the onboard cameras guys, be it time, be it whatever, they have all supported and assisted me, and importantly, there’s 20 guys driving cars and 10 F1 teams, that all of them have embraced, supported, and assisted me.
“And without everyone, I couldn’t have gotten through this year. That’s the simple part. It’s been ‘go go go go go’ for various reasons, so you know, I’m happy with the job that I’ve done because for me I’ve done the best that I could do.
“I’ve learned a huge amount as well, not just over event-to-event, but also hour-to-hour at each F1 event in 2019. It’s a highly complex industry that we’re in, but having said that it’s an industry I love and I enjoy.
“As I said, I just couldn’t be more thankful for the support that everyone has given me, including all of the media. [But] there’s always gonna be good and bad moments with everything. You’re only as good as the last decision you make.”
Adding on the highs and lows, Masi didn’t wish to divulge much as he didn’t get time to reflect then. In the 2020 season, the Australian will be hoping to keep up his good reputation, as he goes through his second F1 season as Whiting’s successor.
[Note: This story was written by me for FormulaRapida, and edited by Darshan Chokhani]