The FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) has announced the demise of F1 Race Director Charlie Whiting in Melbourne. The 66 years old left the world in utter shock and lost his life to pulmonary embolism, a condition in which one or more arteries in the lungs become blocked by a blood clot. Whiting played a vital role in the Formula 1 administration.
His main role as Race Director was to oversee and inspect the track and car safety along with technical and procedural matters on Grand Prix weekends and primarily importance in starting the races. Whiting was instrumental behind the introduction of the halo device early last year and also introduced major improved safety standards and regulations of the Formula One series.
He joined the F1 world in the year 1977 as member crew for the Hesketh Racing team. Later, he moved to Brabham, where he became the team’s chief mechanic that saw Nelson Piquet grab the drivers’ championship in 1981 and 1983. Later, the team was sold in 1988 by Brabham’s owner, Bernie Ecclestone and Whiting shuffled to FIA as Formula 1 Technical Delegate and later took on the role of FIA director and safety delegate from 1997.
Hearing about the sudden demise of Whiting, FIA President Jean Todt made a statement, “It is with immense sadness that I learned of Charlie’s sudden passing. I have known Charlie Whiting for many years and he has been a great Race Director, a central and inimitable figure in Formula 1 who embodied the ethics and spirit of this fantastic sport. Formula 1 has lost a faithful friend and a charismatic ambassador in Charlie. All my thoughts, those of the FIA and entire motor sport community go out to his family, friends, and all Formula 1 lovers.”
Ross Brawn, MD Motorsports, Formula 1 said, “I have known Charlie for all of my racing life. We worked as mechanics together, became friends and spent so much time together at race tracks across the world. I was filled with immense sadness when I heard the tragic news. I’m devastated. It is a great loss not only for me personally but also the entire Formula 1 family, the FIA, and motorsport as a whole. All our thoughts go out to his family.”
The management will hold a brief protocol meeting soon to dictate the terms of upcoming weekend Formula One Australia Season premier.