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As many Members will no doubt know by now, Charlie Whiting passed away earlier today at the age of 66 after suffering a pulmonary embolism. As Race Director for Formula 1 he was in Australia preparing for this weekend’s opening round of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship. After working with his late brother Nick to run a Surtees TS16 in the British Formula 1 Championship for Divina Galica, Charlie moved to Hesketh Racing before becoming chief mechanic with Bernie Ecclestone’s Brabham team where he enjoyed World Championship-winning success with Nelson Piquet in 1981 and 1983.

When Bernie sold his interest in Brabham in 1987 to concentrate on the commercial side of Formula 1, he persuaded Charlie to switch from being a poacher to become a gamekeeper, initially as a member of the FIA’s F1 technical team. In 1991 the then FIA President Max Mosley asked Charlie to take on the role of Race Director which he continued to hold until his death.

Charlie became hugely respected throughout the world of Formula 1. Always approachable, he was a member of the Formula 1 establishment but never displayed the slightest trace of the aloofness and arrogance which can affect so many people in high positions. He has been described as the voice of reason in what at times can be a passionately political world of its own. ‘Ask Charlie’ was the key to unlocking the most intransigent of problems. To the outside world he may have been recognised only as the guy controlling the lights at the start of a Grand Prix but behind the scenes he worked tirelessly to guide the sport through the choppiest of waters.

An Associate Member of the BRDC since 2000, Charlie set standards in Formula 1 which have left the sport in a much better state than it was when he first became involved. A full obituary of Charlie will appear in the next issue of the Bulletin. For the moment, Members will find a fulsome tribute by clicking here. The BRDC extends its deepest condolences to Charlie’s children and family and to his many friends inside and outside Formula 1 by all of whom he will be very much missed. A private family funeral for Charlie will be held in the coming weeks. Donations, in lieu of flowers, are encouraged.  Please contact the BRDC office for details.

The Club regrets to report on the death of Neville Hay, who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1993
The Club regrets to report on the death of Alan Minshaw, who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1984
The Club regrets to report on the death of Ray Thackwell who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1957
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