Published: Sun, March 17, 2019
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Hamilton, Vettel pay tribute to race director Whiting

Hamilton, Vettel pay tribute to race director Whiting

When Ecclestone sold the team, the lure of the poacher-turned-gamekeeper transition proved too strong and Whiting took up a role within the sport's governing body, the FIA, eventually becoming race director in 1997. reported that the 66-year old Whiting succumbed to pulmonary embolism prior to the opening of the F1 season.

According to FIA president Jean Todt, Whiting, who leaves a wife and two children, was the "central and inimitable figure in Formula One who embodied the ethics and spirit of this fantastic sport".

He entered Formula One in 1977 with Hesketh Racing and moved on to Ecclestone's Brabham team. His role was vital to the sport: as well as overseeing the FIA's operation of all on-track sessions, Whiting would oversee the start of every race and had a key role in dealing with safety and technical matters. "Formula One has lost a faithful friend and a charismatic ambassador in Charlie".

"It is a great loss not only for me personally but also the entire Formula 1 family, the FIA and motorsport as a whole."Red Bull chief Christian Horner said Whiting's death would leave "a huge void in our sport". He added: 'What he did for the sport and his commitment, he really was a pillar.

Lewis Hamilton said: "My thoughts and prayers are with his family".

Ross Brawn, F1's managing director, said: "I have known Charlie for all of my racing life".

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. "It's hard to grasp when somebody is just not there anymore".

"I've known him for a long time and he's been like our man, the drivers' man".

Vettel, a four-time world champion, said he saw Whiting on Wednesday and walked the first few corners of the Albert Park track with him. "There's the regulations, then there's us - he was the middle man".

"Actually I have had a number - more on the teams side than the engines side - of potential new entrants that expressed interest and enthusiasm if we provide a structure that they think enables it to be something that they could enter more constructively".

Obviously incredibly shocked this morning to hear the sad news. Such an iconic figure within the sporting world, and he contributed so much to us.

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