Formula 1 Race Director Charlie Whiting has died at the age of 66 just days ahead of the 2019 season opener.
Whiting passed away in Melbourne, his death the result of a pulmonary embolism.
“It is with immense sadness that I learned of Charlie's sudden passing,” said FIA President Jean Todt.
“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.
“All my thoughts, those of the FIA and entire motor sport community go out to his family, friends, and all Formula One lovers.”
Whiting began his career in F1 with Hesketh during the 1970s before joining the then-Bernie Ecclestone owned Brabham team.
He joined the FIA in the late 1980s before being appointed race director in 1997.
The 2019 F1 season begins tomorrow with two 90-minute practice sessions.
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