The FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) has announced the death of F1 Race Director Charlie Whiting in Melbourne, at age 66, as a result of a pulmonary embolism.
Whiting played a key role in the administration of F1 – his role as Race Director included overseeing track and car safety, and technical and procedural matters on Grand Prix weekends in addition to starting the races. He was also instrumental in the push for improved safety standards in F1, and was a driving force behind the introduction of the halo device early last year.
He joined F1 in 1977, working for the Hesketh Racing team in 1977 and later moved to Brabham, eventually becoming the team’s chief mechanic at a crucial time that saw Nelson Piquet win the drivers’ championship in 1981 and 1983.
After then-owner Bernie Ecclestone sold the Brabham team in 1988, Whiting joined the FIA as their Formula 1 Technical Delegate and later took on the role of FIA director and safety delegate from 1997.
“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,” said FIA President Jean Todt. “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, Managing Director, Motorsports, Formula 1 added, “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.”