Charlie Whiting

Last updated

Charlie Whiting
Charlie Whiting 2010 Japan.jpg
Whiting at the 2010 Japanese Grand Prix
Born
Charles Whiting

(1952-08-12)12 August 1952
Sevenoaks, Kent, England
Died14 March 2019(2019-03-14) (aged 66)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
NationalityBritish
OccupationMotorsports director
Years active1988–2019
Known forSafety improvements in motorsport

Charles Whiting [1] (12 August 1952 – 14 March 2019) was a British motorsports director. He most notably served as the FIA Formula One Race Director, Safety Delegate, Permanent Starter and head of the F1 Technical Department, in which capacities he generally managed the logistics of each F1 Grand Prix, inspected cars in parc fermé before a race, enforced FIA rules, and controlled the lights that start each race.

Fédération Internationale de lAutomobile international sport governing body

The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile is an association established on 20 June 1904 to represent the interests of motoring organisations and motor car users. To the general public, the FIA is mostly known as the governing body for many auto racing events. The FIA also promotes road safety around the world.

Formula One is the highest class of single-seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and owned by the Formula One Group. The FIA Formula One World Championship has been one of the premier forms of racing around the world since its inaugural season in 1950. The word "formula" in the name refers to the set of rules to which all participants' cars must conform. A Formula One season consists of a series of races, known as Grands Prix, which take place worldwide on purpose-built circuits and on public roads.

<i>Parc fermé</i> secure parking area at a race or rally

Parc fermé, literally meaning "closed park" in French, is a secure area at a motor racing circuit wherein the cars are driven back to the pits post- and sometimes pre-race. For example, according to the FIA Formula One regulations, the area must be sufficiently large and secure so as to prevent unauthorised access to the cars, while allowing technical checks to take place. Cars must be placed in parc fermé within three and a half hours from the end of qualifying until five hours before the start of the race formation lap.

Contents

Early life

Whiting was born on 12 August 1952 in Sevenoaks, Kent. [2] He watched his first motor race when he climbed over the fence to see the 1964 British Grand Prix, held at Brands Hatch close to his family home. He came to working in motor racing himself through his older brother Nick, who was competing in autocross and circuit racing. Having decided to follow a career in race engineering, he visited a technical college and then the Borough Polytechnic Institute, earning qualifications in mechanical engineering. [3]

Sevenoaks commuter town situated in West Kent, England

Sevenoaks is a town and civil parish with a population of 29,506 situated south-east of London in western Kent, England. The population of the parish had reduced to 20,409 at the 2011 Census. It is served by a commuter main line railway into London. Sevenoaks is 21 miles (34 km) from Charing Cross, the traditional centre of London. It is the principal town of the Sevenoaks district, followed by Swanley and Edenbridge.

Kent County of England

Kent is a county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south west. The county also shares borders with Essex along the estuary of the River Thames, and with the French department of Pas-de-Calais through the Channel Tunnel. The county town is Maidstone.

1964 British Grand Prix Formula One motor race held in 1964

The 1964 British Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Brands Hatch on 11 July 1964. The event was also designated as the European Grand Prix. It was race 5 of 10 in both the 1964 World Championship of Drivers and the 1964 International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers. The first of twelve British Grands Prix to be held at the southern England circuit, it would alternate with Silverstone until 1987. The race was won by Jim Clark driving a Lotus 25.

Career

Whiting's first job in motor sport was preparing rally cars. In 1976 he and his brother were running a Surtees in the 1976 British F5000 series for race driver Divina Galica. [4] For the 1977 season Whiting joined Hesketh Racing. Following the demise of the team, he joined Bernie Ecclestone's Brabham team, where he would stay for the following decade, becoming chief mechanic for the World Drivers' Championship successes of Nelson Piquet in 1981 and 1983. [5]

The Surtees Racing Organisation was a race team that spent nine seasons as a constructor in Formula One, Formula 2, and Formula 5000.

Divina Mary Galica MBE is a British sportswoman. She competed in four Winter Olympics as a skier, captaining the British Women’s Olympic Ski Team in 1968 and 1972. She also pursued a career in motorsport, entering three Formula One World Championship Grands Prix.

Hesketh Racing F1 Racing Tam

Hesketh Racing was a Formula One constructor from the United Kingdom, which competed from 1973 to 1978. The team competed in 52 World Championship Grands Prix, winning one and achieving eight further podium finishes. Its best placing in the World Constructors' Championship was fourth in 1975. Hesketh was notable for giving James Hunt his Formula One debut and he brought the team most of its success. Alan Jones also began his Formula One career in a privately entered Hesketh.

In 1988 Whiting became Technical Delegate to Formula One of the sport's governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), and in 1997 he was appointed FIA Director and Safety Delegate. [5] In this role, he was responsible for track and car safety, the technical and procedural regulations of the sport and for starting the races themselves. He served as lead official at every Formula One race, being in charge of everything related to rules and their interpretation. [6] Whiting also visited future and current venues of Formula One racing to carry out safety inspections. [3]

1988 Formula One World Championship sports season

The 1988 FIA Formula One World Championship was the 42nd season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 1988 Formula One World Championship for Drivers and the 1988 Formula One World Championship for Constructors, which were contested concurrently over a sixteen-race series that commenced on 3 April and ended on 13 November. The World Championship for Drivers was won by Ayrton Senna, and the World Championship for Constructors by McLaren-Honda. Senna and McLaren teammate Alain Prost won fifteen of the sixteen races between them; the only race neither driver won was the Italian Grand Prix, where Ferrari's Gerhard Berger took an emotional victory four weeks after the death of team founder Enzo Ferrari. McLaren's win tally has only been bettered or equalled in seasons with more than sixteen races; their Constructors' Championship tally of 199 points, more than three times that of any other constructor, was also a record until 2002.

1997 Formula One World Championship sports season

The 1997 FIA Formula One World Championship was the 51st season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 1997 FIA Formula One World Championship, which commenced on 9 March and ended on 26 October after seventeen races. The Drivers' Championship was won by Jacques Villeneuve and the Constructors' Championship was awarded to Williams-Renault.

Whiting at the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix Mr. Charlie Whiting. (5822756644).jpg
Whiting at the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix

2005 United States Grand Prix

During the 2005 United States Grand Prix, Whiting was involved in a controversy caused by the tyres which Michelin had brought to Indianapolis being unsafe to use. Michelin was unable to produce new tyres with which to replace its seven customer Formula One teams' equipment and asked Whiting to install a chicane in Turn 13 of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway instead. He refused on the grounds that this would be unfair to the teams who were able to race safely on the existing track. [7]

2005 Formula One World Championship sports season

The 2005 FIA Formula One World Championship was the 59th season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 56th FIA Formula One World Championship, contested over a then-record 19 Grands Prix. It commenced on 6 March 2005 and ended 16 October.

Michelin French tire company

Michelin is a French tyre manufacturer based in Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne région of France. It is the second largest tyre manufacturer in the world after Bridgestone and larger than both Goodyear and Continental. In addition to the Michelin brand, it also owns the BFGoodrich, Kleber, Tigar, Riken, Kormoran and Uniroyal tyre brands. Michelin is also notable for its Red and Green travel guides, its roadmaps, the Michelin stars that the Red Guide awards to restaurants for their cooking, and for its company mascot Bibendum, colloquially known as the Michelin Man.

A chicane is a serpentine curve in a road, added by design rather than dictated by geography. Chicanes add extra turns and are used both in motor racing and on roads and streets to slow traffic for safety. For example, one form of chicane is a short, shallow S-shaped turn that requires the driver to turn slightly left and then slightly right to continue on the road, requiring the driver to reduce speed. The word chicane is derived from the French verb chicaner, which means "to create difficulties" or "to dispute pointlessly", "quibble".

Safety improvements in motorsport

Whiting was known for safety improvements in motorsport, such as the halo, which was credited with preventing Charles Leclerc from suffering serious injury at the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix. [8] He was also responsible for introducing the headrest, safety survival cell, front and side impact structures and high cockpit sides. [9]

Halo (safety device)

The halo is a driver crash protection system used in open-wheel racing series which consists of a curved bar placed to protect the driver's head.

2018 Belgian Grand Prix

The 2018 Belgian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 26 August 2018 at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Stavelot, Belgium. The race was the thirteenth round of the 2018 Formula One World Championship and marked the 74th running of the Belgian Grand Prix and the 61st time the race was held at Spa-Francorchamps and 51st time as a round of the World Championship.

Death and legacy

On the morning of 14 March 2019, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, three days before the season opening Australian Grand Prix and 2019 Formula One season, Whiting suffered a pulmonary embolism and died, aged 66. [10] [9] [11]

In the hours after his death many F1 drivers and personalities commented that he was instrumental to the sport and its successes, being described as "a pillar for the sport", a "really nice guy" and a drivers' man. [11] [12] In an obituary, journalist Adam Cooper described Whiting as the "perfect man for the difficult role of referee" due to his calm demeanour. [3]

Moments of silence were held before the starts of the Australian Grand Prix and the 1000 Miles of Sebring in his honour and Valtteri Bottas dedicated his Australian Grand Prix win to Whiting. [13]

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2019 Australian Grand Prix 2019 edition of Australian Grand Prix

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References

  1. "Charlie Whiting obituary". The Sunday Tomes. 15 March 2019. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  2. "La F1 rend hommage à son directeur de course, Charlie Whiting, mort à 66 ans" [F1 pays homage to its course director, Charlie Whitine, died at age 66] (in French). Nice Matin. 14 March 2019. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  3. 1 2 3 Cooper, Adam (14 March 2019). "Obituary: Charlie Whiting, 1952-2019". motorsport.com. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  4. "Charlie Whiting, Formula One race director, dies aged 66". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  5. 1 2 "Charlie Whiting, F1's race director, dies aged 66". Sky Sports F1. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  6. Noble, Jonathan (14 March 2019). "FIA F1 race director Charlie Whiting dies ahead of Australian GP". autosport.com. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  7. Charlie Whiting (18 June 2005). "Correspondence between representatives of Michelin in Indianapolis and the FIA Formula One race director". FIA. Archived from the original on 7 June 2007.
  8. Ransom, Ian. "F1 mourns sudden death of race director Whiting". Reuters. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  9. 1 2 Jonathan Noble. "FIA F1 race director Charlie Whiting dies ahead of Australian GP". Autosport.
  10. "FIA Statement - Charlie Whiting". FIA. 14 March 2019. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  11. 1 2 "Charlie Whiting: F1 race director dies aged 66 on eve of season-opener in Melbourne". BBC Sport. 14 March 2019. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  12. "Charlie Whiting passes away: Drivers pay tribute to the FIA's F1 Race Director". www.formula1.com. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  13. Benson, Andrew (17 March 2019). "Valtteri Bottas wins Australian GP after Lewis Hamilton overtake". BBC Sport . Retrieved 18 March 2019.