Photo: FIA

FIA F1 Race Director Charlie Whiting Passes Away at 66

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

On the eve before the first on-track activity for the Rolex Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park commences, FIA Formula One Race Director Charlie Whiting, 66, passed away in Melbourne Thursday morning.

In a statement released by the FIA, Whiting’s cause of death was a result of pulmonary embolism.

FIA President Jean Todt sent his condolences to Whiting: “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.”

Prior of becoming the leading director of F1 in 1997, Whiting began his career as an employee of the Hesketh Racing team in 1977 until its demise the following season.

From there, he became a force to be reckoned with as a chief mechanic for Brabham in the 1980s, where he played a pivotal role in Nelson Piquet’s 1981 and 1983 F1 World Championships. In those two championship campaigns, Piquet won a combined six races, five poles, and 15 podiums in 30 starts.

Whiting would stay with Brabham until Bernie Ecclestone sold the team in 1988. Under Ecclestone’s blessing, he would take a role as FIA’s Technical Delegate.

Nine years later, Whiting was promoted as the new director and safety delegate, where he oversaw various tasks such as track and car safety, and enforced how the grand prix weekends goes, including the start of the race.

“Formula 1 has lost a faithful friend and a charismatic ambassador in Charlie,” said Todt. “All my thoughts, those of the FIA and entire motor sport community go out to his family, friends, and all Formula One lovers.”

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From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. He's also covered Idaho Athletics and high school football as both a writer and videographer. Additionally, he spent 2017 writing several racing columns as an independent journalist. Luis does video and photography, and is a fan of Seattle sports, a music critic and a motivator who wants to impact people's lives.