Michael Masi has been dropped as Formula One race director ahead of the new season.

The news was confirmed by FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem two months and five days after last season's contentious season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton said the race was "manipulated" after Australian Masi seemed to bend the rules to allow the British driver’s rival Max Verstappen the chance to win the title following a late safety car.

Masi, offered a new position within the FIA, will be replaced by Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich in a total restructure of race control.

Ben Sulayem, elected as president just days after the debacle in the desert, also revealed the sport will use a Video Assistant Referee, similar to the one seen in football, and said communication between the pit wall and the race director will no longer be aired live on television.

"I would like to inform you that a new race management team will be put in place starting in Barcelona for the test session," he said.

"Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas will act alternatively as race director, assisted by Herbie Blash as permanent senior advisor.

"Michael Masi, who accomplished a very challenging job for three years as Formula 1 race director following Charlie Whiting, will be offered a new position within the FIA."