F-1's Charlie Whiting Dead At 66

FIA names new race director for Australian GP

According to a statement issued by the FIA, Whiting died in the early hours of Thursday from a pulmonary embolism.

Formula 1 race director, Charlie Whiting, has died in Melbourne on the eve of the Australian Grand Prix.

Before embarking on a distinguished career with the FIA, Charlie had lived the life of a mechanic with several teams, moving up the ranks to work for Brabham in the 80s.

On Thursday evening the FIA confirmed that Masi will take on Whiting's duties, which also includes being Safety Delegate and Permanent Starter.

The Federation's president, Jean Todt, said, "It is with huge sadness that I learned of Charlie's passing".

FIA president Jean Todt says Formula One has lost "a faithful friend and a charismatic ambassador".

"Charlie was a great man who will be sadly missed by the entire Formula 1 paddock and the wider motorsport community".

His role included overseeing track and auto safety, technical and procedural matters on grand prix weekends plus starting the race itself.

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His role involved managing the logistics of each grand prix, inspecting cars in parc ferme, and acting as the "referee" during races.

As race director, Whiting was also in charge of dishing out penalties and punishments when a driver overstepped the mark - and one driver who has found himself on the receiving end of this a few too many times is Max Verstappen.

He'd held the position of race director since 1997. "We worked as mechanics together, became friends, and spent so much time together at tracks across the world".

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas said on Twitter: "Very sad and surreal news ahead (of) the Australian GP".

"I am deeply saddened to hear the bad news", Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said.

"I was shocked and saddened to hear the news of Charlie's passing this morning", Wolff said. "His thoughts go to his family, friends and close ones". I saw Sebastian walking with Charlie yesterday and I thought I would not interrupt them because I was going to see him on Friday in the drivers' briefing. Obviously there are regulations and all that and then there is us and he was the middleman.

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

"He [Whiting] was a kind of icon of F1, but not only F1".

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