Formula 1 race director Charlie Whiting found dead
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Just a day before the start of the 2019 Formula 1 calendar, the category's race director — Charlie Whiting — has been found dead.
The 66-year-old is said to have suffered a pulmonary embolism earlier this morning, as reported by the FIA. Just yesterday he was at the Melbourne Albert Park circuit speaking to teams, drivers, and officials.
Charlie Whiting, pictured right next to Nelson Piquet during his days as a mechanic at Brabham. Photo / Getty Images
“It is with immense sadness that I learned of Charlie’s sudden passing," said FIA president Jean Todt in a statement.
"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.
"Formula 1 has lost a faithful friend and a charismatic ambassador in Charlie. All my thoughts, those of the FIA and entire motorsport community go out to his family, friends, and all Formula One lovers.”
Whiting's connection to Formula 1 spanned five decades. He started as a mechanic with the likes of Hesketh and Brabham before joining the FIA in 1988 and later becoming race director in 1997.
“I have known Charlie for all of my racing life,” said Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn.
“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.”