FIA race director duo have backstage ‘disagreement’ due to heavy rain at Monaco Grand Prix

F1 preview: A lap of the Monaco Grand Prix

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FIA race directors Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich were reportedly in disagreement behind the scenes over the heavy rain that blighted the start of the Monaco Grand Prix. Martin Brundle was among those to question the procedure that saw the race delayed by over an hour, and according to Sky Sports’ David Croft, the duo who took over from Michael Masi did not see eye-to-eye over the issue. 

The iconic Monaco GP was due to get underway at 2pm (BST) on Sunday afternoon, but rain on the grid sent teams into a frenzy. Mechanics were soaked to the bone adjusting the cars to cope with the unexpected weather conditions, but drivers were forced to retreat to the pits after two formation laps behind the safety car. 

An hour came and went as the race directors waited for the track to dry up. And with many questioning why drivers were not being readied after the rain stopped, Sky Sports revealed murmurs that Freitas and Wittich were at odds over how to approach the restart. 

The new race directors will have to cope with plenty of attention this season after being instated as Masi’s replacement. The Aussie was the subject of an investigation after last season’s controversial finale, which saw Max Verstappen pip Lewis Hamilton to the world title on the final lap in Abu Dhabi. 

The FIA seemingly moved to take all the responsibility off one person’s shoulders, and instead share between the experienced duo of Wittich and Freitas. Neither are particularly well-versed in F1 specifically, however, and there may have been a divergence of opinion regarding how safe to play it regarding the rainfall in Monaco. 

The natural downside that comes with sharing the race director role is the difficulty that comes with a split opinion, and whose should ultimately prevail. Wittich began the season as the top dog, but the duo’s brief stipulated that they would alternate throughout the season, and Freitas has been race director for the past two Grand Prix with Wittich stepping down to a deputy role. 

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