FIA head and Race director Charlie Whiting dies at 66

Race director for Formula 1 and the head of Formula 1 governing body Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), Charlie Whiting, dies at the age of 66 prior to the season opening of the Australian Grand Prix. After suffering a pulmonary embolism on Thursday morning, Whiting died in Melbourne, where he was due to flag off the first race of the season.

The beginning of Whiting's career was with Hesketh in 1977 and he moved on to work with Brabham in 1978 until he joined the governing body of FIA. Starting as a technical director in 1988, Whiting rose to the position of governing body head in 1997 and has been the official race starter ever since.

The role of race director included all the responsibilities from safety requirements, making the rules and regulations for the race, practicing rules on track as well as qualifying for the race.

FIA President Jean Todt quoted - "Charlie Whiting was a great race director, a central and inimitable figure in Formula 1 who embodied the ethics and spirit of this fantastic sport".

The replacement for Charlie Whiting has not yet been announced by the FIA. Teams across the Formula 1 platform including big names such as Renault, McLaren, RedBull and Ferrari have paid tribute to Whiting.