Formula 1 icon Charlie Whiting has died at the age of 66 less than 24 hours after the 2019 Formula 1 season was launched in Melbourne.

The veteran racing steward and FIA race director died after suffering a pulmonary embolism on Thursday morning in Melbourne.

As reported by, the FIA released a statement on Thursday to confirm the tragic news.

"It is with immense sadness that I learned of Charlie's passing," FIA president Jean Todt said.


"Charlie Whiting was a great race director, a central and inimitable figure in Formula 1 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 motorsport community go out to his family, friends, and all Formula 1 lovers."

Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn

"I have known Charlie for all of my racing life," he said,

"We worked as mechanics together, became friends and spent so much time together at race tracks across the world. I was filled with immense sadness when I heard the tragic news. I'm devastated. It is a great loss not only for me personally but also the entire Formula 1 family, the FIA and motorsport as a whole.

"All our thoughts go out to his family."

Whiting began his F1 career in 1977 working for the Hesketh team, before joining Brahbam in the 1980s. He had served as F1's race director since 1997.

He has been an integral part of the organisation of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship since he joined the Federation in 1988, and has been the Race Director since 1997.


His death has shocked the Formula 1 world.

Formula 1 teams, including Red Bull and McLaren, were among the first to express their deep sadness at the tragic news.