The FIA has confirmed that long-serving race director Charlie Whiting has passed away at the age of 66. A long-standing FIA official, who helped to raise safety in several fields of motorsport, including Formula 1, Whiting passed away due to a pulmonary embolism, just days before the start of the 2019 season.
FIA president Jean Todt said in a statement: "It is with immense sadness that I learned of Charlie’s sudden passing.
"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 worked with F1 teams Hesketh and Brabham, before joining the sport's governing body in 1988 and moving to the role that he held until his death in 1997.
The Briton was well-known to many fans as the official starter of races, as well as the authoritative voice on many on-track incidents in his role as host of the drivers' briefings at every race.
GPFans offers condolences to all of Charlie's family and friends.