FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) Director of Formula 1 Charlie Whiting passed away on Thursday morning in Melbourne, aged 66, due to a pulmonary embolism. The sad demise comes just three days before the Australian Grand Prix which will open the 2019 F1 season.
He began his F1 career in 1977 working at the Hesketh team, then in the 1980s at Brabham. He has been an integral part of the organisation of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship since he joined the Federation in 1988, and has been the Race Director since 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 One who embodied the ethics and spirit of this fantastic sport.”, FIA President Jean Todt said.
“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”, he added.
Ross Brawn, Managing Director, 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.”