Days before the opening of 2019 Australian Grand Prix to mark the start of the season, FIA Director of Formula 1, Charlie Whiting, passed away.
Formula1.com reported that the 66-year old Whiting succumbed to pulmonary embolism prior to the opening of the F1 season.
His career in F1 started with the Hesketh team back in 1977, before he transferred to Brabham in the 1980s.
In 1988, he joined the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and took on the role of Race Director since 1997.
FIA President, Jean Todt, expressed sadness upon learning of Whiting’s death.
“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,” 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.”
Formula One Group Managing Director for Motorsports, Ross Brawn, who closely worked with Whiting, recalled their time together.
“We worked as mechanics together, became friends and spent so much time together at race tracks across the world,” Brawn said. “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.”