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Formula 1 Australian GP

Masi: Return to F1 paddock "like seeing the long-lost family"

Michael Masi says his return to the Formula 1 paddock for the first time since Abu Dhabi in 2021 has been like reuniting with "long-lost family".

Michael Masi

The former F1 race director has been on the ground at the Australian Grand Prix throughout the week, primarily in his new role as the Chairman of the Supercars Commission.

However his time has been split between the Supercars and the F1 paddock, marking his return to the latter for the first time since the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Masi parted ways with the FIA amid the fallout from that explosive race that saw Max Verstappen crowned world champion over Lewis Hamilton in controversial fashion.

Speaking to Autosport about his return to the F1 paddock in Melbourne, Masi said it has been a warm welcome.

"It's been fantastic being back as a guest of both the FIA and Formula 1," he said.

"It's been really good. I'm here in my capacity as the Chair of the Supercars Commission, but it's lovely to catch up with so many good friends and see so many people, including my old team at the FIA."

Masi added that there was no trepidation heading back to the paddock despite the tense circumstances of his exit from the race director role.

"No, it's been fantastic," he said. "The welcome has been amazing from everyone that I've seen. It's like seeing the long-lost family in many ways, which has been great."

Michael Masi

Michael Masi

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Hamilton was asked about Masi's return during the Thursday press conference, specifically whether he had any interest in speaking with him about Abu Dhabi.

"I don't," said the seven-time world champion. "I'm just focusing on my future, focused on trying to get back to winning. Nothing to say."

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In the wake of his split with the FIA, Masi relocated to his native Australia where he has taken on a number of senior administrative roles.

The most visible is as the head of the Supercars Commission, a role he took over from Neil Crompton last September.

He also sits on the South Australian Motorsport Board, which runs the Adelaide 500, as well as the Karting Australia Board.

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