Longtime F1 race director Charlie Whiting has sadly passed away, aged 66-years, just three days ahead of the start of the 2019 season in Australia.

A well known figure, not only in F1, but also in the whole of motor racing community, died in the early hours of Thursday, March 14 – just days ahead of the 2019 season start – due to pulmonary embolism as confirmed by the FIA in a statement.

Whiting started his F1 career with Hesketh in 1977 and joined Brabham in 1980. He then moved to the FIA in 1988 and was appointed as the race director in 1997 – the position he has held until now with 2018 Abu Dhabi GP being the last event he officiated in.

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 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 motor sport community go out to his family, friends, and all Formula One lovers.”

Ross Brawn, Managing Director, Motorsports, F1 added: “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.”

From everyone at FormulaRapida.net, we offer our condolences. Rest in peace, Charlie!

UPDATE: With the death of Whiting, the FIA confirmed Michael Masi as the race director, safety delegate and permanent starter for the Australian GP. Masi comes with the experience of being the deputy race director of the Australian Supercars series.

Michael Masi, Copyright: FIA