Formula 1 race director Charlie Whiting died in Melbourne, Australia at the age of 66.

The longtime Grand Prix personality suffered a pulmonary embolism and died on Thursday morning just before the start of Australian Grand Prix race weekend. Whiting has served as the league’s race director since the 1997 season.

The following is statement from FIA president Jean Todt said.

"It is with immense sadness that I learned of Charlie’s passing. Charlie Whiting was a great Race Director, a central and inimitable figure in Formula 1 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."

Whiting began his F1 career in 1977 working at the Hesketh team, then in the 1980s at Brabham, where he rose to the rank of chief mechanic. He has been an integral part of the organization of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship since he joined the FIA in 1988.

He was vital in guiding Nelson Piquet to the world drivers’ championship in 1981 and 1983 and remained with the team through its acquisition by Bernie Ecclestone in 1988.

From there, he joined the FIA, first as technical delegate and then FIA director and safety delegate from 1997 to his passing.

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."

Source: Autoweek

March 14, 2019