Formula One race director Charlie Whiting, a popular and key figure in the sport, has died three days before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, the governing FIA said in a statement on Thursday. He was 66.
Equation One race chief Charlie Whiting, a well known and key figure in the game, has passed on three days before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, the administering FIA said in an announcement on Thursday. He was 66.
The Briton, who began his profession working for the Hesketh group in 1977, kicked the bucket in Melbourne of a pneumonic embolism, it said.
“It is with huge misery that I learned of Charlie’s unexpected passing,” said Jean Todt, leader of the International Automobile Federation.
“He has been an incredible race chief, a focal and incomparable figure in Formula One who typified the morals and soul of this phenomenal game. Equation One has lost a loyal companion and a charming diplomat in Charlie.”
Whiting, who had been race chief since 1997, first worked in Formula One for ancient British outfit Hesketh before intersection to Brabham to work with the game’s previous business supremo Bernie Ecclestone during the 1980s.
He joined the FIA as a specialized agent in 1988.
As FIA executive, Whiting was a main impetus in pushing improved security and assumed a key job in the presentation of the radiance, the ring-like obstruction fitted over the drivers’ heads to shield them from substantial effects and rockets.
The radiance was credited with sparing driver Charles Leclerc, presently at Ferrari, from conceivably genuine damage finally year’s Belgian Grand Prix when Fernando Alonso’s McLaren slammed against his Sauber’s bodywork as it flew over the Monegasque’s head.
The news was met with stun in the Formula One enclosure where Whiting was near drivers, with whom he directed pre-race briefings, and groups who looked for specialized direction and elucidations.
“Charlie will be recognized as one of the goliaths of our game, just as an incredible partner. Our most profound feelings and musings are with the majority of his friends and family,” previous bosses McLaren said on Twitter.
Red Bull tweeted: “We are stunned and disheartened to know about Charlie Whiting’s passing and our most profound sympathies go out to his family, companions and partners.”
Ross Brawn, F1 overseeing executive, said he was “crushed” to lose a companion and partner.
“I have known Charlie for the majority of my hustling life. We functioned as mechanics together, moved toward becoming companions and fraternized at race tracks over the world,” the previous title winning supervisor of Brawn GP said in an announcement.
“I was loaded up with huge trouble when I heard the awful news.”
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas said on Twitter: “Exceptionally tragic and dreamlike news ahead the Australian GP. Can barely handle it..
“My considerations are with the family and companions. He’s done as such much for the game we cherish.”