F-1's Charlie Whiting Dead At 66

F-1's Charlie Whiting Dead At 66

Formula One's long-serving and widely respected race director Charlie Whiting died suddenly in Melbourne Thursday, leaving a "huge void in the sport" just days before the opening Grand Prix of the season.

"Formula One has lost a faithful friend and a charismatic ambassador in Charlie".

FIA President Jean Todt described Whiting as "a great race director, a central and inimitable figure in Formula One who embodied the ethics and spirit of this fantastic sport".

As reported by Skysports.com, the FIA released a statement on Thursday to confirm the tragic news.

Whiting had been in attendance at Albert Park on Wednesday as teams and officials prepared for the first race weekend of the season.

Reigning world champion Hamilton said Whiting was an "iconic figure in the sport".

Ross Brawn, F1's managing director, said he was "devastated" to lose a friend and colleague.

"I guess I was as shocked as we all are still now when I heard the news this morning", he said.

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"Our thoughts are with Charlie's family and friends during this hard time". He has been an integral part of the organization of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship since he joined the FIA in 1988.

The news conference started instead with drivers praising Whiting's contribution to their sport. It's hard to grasp when somebody's just not there anymore.

The 66-year-old FIA race director had started his career in motor racing as a simple mechanic, rising through the ranks and hired by Ecclestone to work for his Brabham outfit in the 80s.

"There are all these regulations and he was sort of the middle man, he was someone you could ask anything to at any time, he was open to anyone and his door was always open. The whole paddock, the whole circus, the whole family of Formula 1, all our thoughts are with him and especially his family in these hard circumstances".

"He was a man with great integrity who performed a hard role in a balanced way".

He began his sojourn with F1 back in 1977 with the Hesketh team before shifting to Brabham for 1978.

Speaking in 2018, Whiting said the halo was one of a number of changes made over the years that improved driver safety. He was a pillar of Formula 1.

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