Masi’s role became untenable after his poor handling of the 2021 title decider in Abu Dhabi between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

The Australian failed to follow the sporting regulations with how the race ended behind the Safety Car, giving Verstappen an easy opportunity to overtake Hamilton on the final lap at the Yas Marina Circuit and thus claim his maiden F1 world championship.

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Masi left his post as race director ahead of the new season, ultimately being replaced by two new race directors - Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich.

Initially, Masi was moved to another role within the FIA before deciding to leave the organisation, moving back to his native Australia.

Speaking to the media at the Dakar Rally, Ben Sulayem spoke about Masi’s departure.

“I’d been talking to him at the beginning. There were human errors there, and I felt that he also wanted to just not go further, because of what he got from social media, the toxic social media. 

"I spoke to him, and it was unfair also for him. The FIA was always supportive."

The FIA launched its own “drive it out campaign” in Hungary last year.

The initiative came after growing concerns about toxicity on social media, particularly as later in the year, steward Silvia Bellot was abused following the United States Grand Prix.

Ben Sulayem believes the FIA and F1 must take a stance against “toxic social media” to ensure it doesn’t damage the sport as a whole. 

“This is the same thing that’s happening to Silvia [Bellot, FIA steward], again to some of our members: threats,” Ben Sulayem added.

"I got some threats also, to reverse the results, but I didn’t take them seriously.

“But now we stand against the toxic social media that will affect our sport. 

"I am a big believer that if we don’t take a stand, we might find the damage will be beyond repair for our sport in the future."