Charlie Whiting, Formula 1 race director, dies in Melbourne

Annette Crawford
March 16, 2019

Charlie Whiting, the director of the FIA and the official race starter for Formula 1 grands prix, has died at the age of 66.

Australian Michael Masi, a previous deputy race director of the local V8 Supercars series who has served as a steward at Formula One and Formula E, will replace Whiting for the Melbourne weekend.

Whiting worked with F1 teams Hesketh and Brabham, before joining the sport's governing body in 1988 and moving to the role that he held until his death in 1997.

Speaking on Charlie Whiting's demise, FIA President Jean Todt said, "It is with huge sadness that I learned of Charlie's sudden passing". Just hours after his arrival in Melbourne for the season's opening race, it was confirmed that the 66-year-old, a fixture of the paddock since his days working for Brabham under Bernie Ecclestone, had passed away from a pulmonary embolism.

FIA President Jean Todt said, "Formula 1 has lost a faithful friend and a charismatic ambassador in Charlie".

"It is a great loss not only for me personally but also the entire Formula 1 family, the FIA and motorsport as a whole".

This role saw Whiting oversee circuit and auto safety, technical and procedural affairs over the course of a Grand Prix event.

"He [Whiting] was a kind of icon of F1, but not only F1".

"I think at the moment what is the most important is that the thoughts are going to his family and friends and close ones".

Formula One's motorsport boss, Ross Brawn, added: "I have known Charlie for all of my racing life".

"I thought I would not interrupt them because I would see him on Friday at the drivers' briefing, which will not be the case and it is very sad". It is hard to grasp when someone is just not there any more. Obviously there are regulations and all that, and then there is us, and he was the middle man.

The four-time champion said: "I was as shocked as we all are, still now, when I heard the news this morning, especially because I spoke to him yesterday and walked the track for the first couple of corners together with him".

Former champions McLaren said they were "shocked and deeply saddened", by the news.

"He was a man with great integrity who performed a hard role in a balanced way", he said.

Auto Action extends our condolences to Whiting's family and friends.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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