Two years ago, on the morning of March 14, the motorsport world was stunned by the sudden death of race director Charlie Whiting. Just a day before training in Australia, White died of a pulmonary embolism in Melbourne. A huge loss to the motorsport that the Brit has meant so much for for decades.
Whiting began his Formula 1 career in 1977 as a mechanic for Team Hesketh. He then moved to Brabham and assisted Nelson Piquet in the two World Championships with the team in 1981 and 1983. In 1988 he joined the FIA as a technical delegate.
Since 1997 he has held the position of Racing Director at the International Automobile Federation. In this role, he is particularly seen turning on the limelight before the race begins. But that wasn’t all he was known for. Through his role as racing director, Briton contributed a lot to improving safety in the sport.
Virtual safety car
Whiting, in his role as racing director, encountered the fatal Jules Bianchi accident in Japan in 2014. Under Whiting’s leadership, a virtual safety car was created, among other things, in response to the accident.
The race director was known to spend many hours on the track checking that the track was in good condition for racing. The Brit was also ultimately responsible for distributing the sanctions. In this role as a “judge” he has had to make many controversial decisions. Including Max Verstappen’s sentence in America in 2017, as a result of which the Dutchman lost a spot on the podium.
But the British always maintained a good relationship with the drivers. This can often be seen in driver briefings prior to race weekends. These meetings often consist of a mixture of serious business and humor.
On the contrary, the drivers also had a high regard for Whiting, and Sebastian Vettel showed him in Silverstone in July 2019. The German did so in a speech before the British Grand Prix that year, as Whiting’s memory was celebrated and honored.
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