Formula One race director Charlie Whiting has died from a pulmonary embolism, three days before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Formula One race director Charlie Whiting (photo left) has died suddenly in Melbourne, just days before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix this weekend.
The 66-year-old Briton died on Thursday from a pulmonary embolism, or blood clot in the lung.
Whiting began his F1 career in 1977 working at the Hesketh team and later moved to Bernie Eccelstone's Brabham team in the 1980s. He joined FIA, the federation of international auto racing, in 1988, and became race director in 1997.
'Central and inimitable figure'
"It is with immense sadness that I learned of Charlie's sudden passing," FIA President Jean Todt said 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."
As race director, Whiting played a pivotal part in the organization of the FIA Formula One World Championship. His role included overseeing track and car safety, procedural matters on Grand Prix weekends and starting the race.
cw/cmk (AFP, AP)