Formula 1 supremo Mohammed ben Sulayem has suggested there could be a route back into the sport for Michael Masi.
Masi was axed by F1 in February following an investigation into his controversial handling of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December.
The Australian official took the decision to bypass the rulebook and allow only the lapped cars between race leader Lewis Hamilton and his title rival Max Verstappen to unlap themselves, to set up a final-lap shootout.
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On old tyres, Hamilton was a sitting duck as Verstappen scorched past to claim the title.
Hamilton’s Mercedes team fumed, and threatened to launch legal action.
That ultimately did not happen, but following an enquiry an FIA report ruled Masi had incorrectly applied regulations.
His removal as race director suggested his career in F1 was over, but Ben Sulayem has suggested that might not be the case.
“I didn't get rid of Michael,” Ben Sulayem told Sportsmail. “He had a personal overload (of work) - safety delegate as well as race director. He made a mistake. It is not as if we said it is the end of Masi with the FIA.
“I don't know Michael very well. The decision (to sack him as race director) was made by the World Council. It was human error on Michael's part.
“I spoke to him (Masi) two days ago. I have no personal issue (with him). I don't hate anyone.
“Michael is there and we might use him. I didn't say we were getting rid of him. I said we might use him. He may be in a good place to use. We are open to everything.”
Following the heartache of defeat in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton returned to the grid in 2022, but has found himself embroiled in fresh controversy on account of his jewellery.
FIA officials have put an old rule front and centre, telling drivers they cannot wear jewellery in their cars.
Hamilton, who turned up at a press conference for the Miami Grand Prix wearing three watches, necklaces, rings and a host of piercings, said he will not remove them.
He has been given two races to remove some that require surgery to be taken out, and it is likely that he will be hit with a financial penalty - rather than a suspension - should he follow through with his threat.
“I love jewellery,” Ben Sulayem said. “I absolutely love it. But in the car there can be no choice. People say they (the rules) haven't been implemented before. Don't ask me why not. People can ask the old regime why that is the case.”
Responding to a question on what penalty Hamilton would face if he defied the rules, Ben Sulayem said: “There are fines that apply. It's like if someone speeds on the roads - you can't stop them doing it but they get fined, even if it was accidental.”
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