On the eve of the 2019 Formula 1 Championship beginning, it is with great sadness that we learn that Charlie Whiting, the head of Formula 1 for motorsports governing body has passed away aged 66.
He was one of the most influential people in the F1 sport and was to officiate this weekend's season opening race in Melbourne for the Australian GP; he was the officieal race starter and would typically oversee almost all matters of F1 rules throughout each season. Whiting suffered a pulmonary embolism on Thursday following being active in the paddock not 24 hours before.
FIA president Jean Todt said of Whiting that he was "a central and inimitable figure who embodied the ethics and spirit" of Formula 1.
Initially joining as a technical director for the FIA, Whiting has worked for the FIA for over 30 years. Before this, he was a chief mechanic and then a chief engineer for Bernie Eccelstone's Brabham team. During his time there, he was able to steer the team to two world championship[s in 1981 and 1983.
A literal giant of motorsport... he will be greatly missed by all.
Ross Brawn, who is now the F1 managing director, 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."
Whiting's death leaves a hole at the FIA to be certain, one which will be temporarily patched by the Australian Michael Masi who will take Whiting's place as race director and starter this weekend in Melbourne.
F1Technical, specifically one of our news writers BalazsSzaboF1, were somewhat close with Whiting and he was always willing to meet and talk. A more dedicatory piece will soon follow, however, we felt it prudent to post this short update now.