FIA F1 race director Charlie Whiting passes away. Max: 'A big shock'

Published on 14 March 2019 by Niels Hendrix

FIA director of Formula 1 Charlie Whiting sadly passed away this morning in Melbourne, aged 66, as the result of a pulmonary embolism, three days before the Australian Grand Prix which will open the F1 season. He began his F1 career in 1977 working at the Hesketh team, then in the 1980s at Brabham. He has been an integral part of the organisation of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship since he joined the Federation in 1988, and has been the race director since 1997.

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 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 1 lovers.”

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.”

Max Verstappen added: “It was a big shock to hear that Charlie has passed away. A few weeks ago in Geneva I have spent the day with him and we had a good chat about a lot of things. We said goodbye looking ahead to another season of racing, starting in Australia. This news is unbelievable. He was only 66 years old. I guess we just have to appreciate every day and every morning you wake up, and enjoy life. It’s not only about Formula 1, but there are a lot of other important things in life. All my thoughts go out to his family, friends and loved ones.”

Australian GP contest: win a RBR Driver Cap 2019 and 1:8 2016 Verstappen helmet!