Race Director Charlie Whiting dies aged 66

F1's 2021 vision should be ready before Bahrain

FIA working on long-term succession plan for Charlie Whiting's role

FIA President, Jean Todt, expressed sadness upon learning of Whiting's death.

F1's sporting regulations require the FIA to nominate a race director and permanent starter for each grand prix, both of which must be present at the start of the event, and a safety delegate.

Sebastian Vettel recalled that he had spoken with him on Wednesday and that it was extremely hard to believe what has happened: "I walked the track for the first couple of corners with him". "He was one of those guys that I've always enjoyed chatting to, and I've spent the winter sharing emails with him of how to improve the sports, do more meeting with stewards, organize ourselves to join stewards and drivers in a more productive way". He was someone you could ask anything, at any time. "All our thoughts go out to his family", he added.

From enforcing bewildering technical regulations to solving driver disputes, ensuring track safety and smoothly handling the labyrinth of Formula One's high-tech race systems, Whiting was responsible for the logistics of each grand prix.

"One of our strategic goals is we want to make the sport more attractive potentially with entrants", the American said at his press conference in Melbourne.

Charlie Whiting, who has died suddenly aged 66, was much more than his title of FIA race director suggests - he was the heartbeat of Formula One for decades.

Whiting, who had been race director since 1997, started out with now-defunct British outfit Hesketh in 1977 before crossing to Brabham to work with the sport's former commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone in the 1980s.

"Formula 1 has lost a faithful friend and a charismatic ambassador in Charlie".

F1 Motorsports managing director Ross Brawn said he was devastated after losing a long-time friend. "It is a great loss not only for me personally but also the entire Formula 1 family". He had a massive impact in Formula 1 and in what it is nowadays. Hamilton and co will have to try and retain their focus amid the sad news of Whiting's death as the Australian GP season opener edges closer.

The future of the organisation of this F1 department is something we have touched on now for quite a while including with Charlie because we knew he would not be able to have the position for ever, so we were working and thinking about a future plan. "At heart, he was a racer with his origins stretching back to his time at Hesketh and the early days of Brabham".

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