FIA Director of Formula One, Charlie Whiting passed away this morning on March 14, 2019, in Melbourne at the aged of 66 years. The death is a result of pulmonary embolism, and just three days before the Australian Grand Prix which will open the 2019 F1 season. Whiting had begun his F1 career in 1977 working with the Hasketh team and later moved to Bernie Ecclestone's Brabham in the 1980s. He joined the federation in 1988 and had been the Race Director since 1997. Whiting was responsible for all activities on track including safety, starting the race and enforcing rules and regulations.
Speaking on Charlie Whiting's demise, FIA President Jean Todt said, “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. 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 One lovers.”
Formula1, Managing Director, Motorsports, Ross Brawn 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.”
The team's paid tribute to Whiting at the track ahead of the Australian GP with the first race of the season set to begin on Sunday. Red Bull said that F1 had lost one of its most loyal and hardworking ambassadors. Speaking about Whiting, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner said, "Charlie has played a key role in this sport and has been the referee and voice of reason as Race Director for many years. He was a man with great integrity who performed a difficult role in a balanced way. At heart, he was a racer with his origins stretching back to his time at Hesketh and the early days of Brabham."