"It is with vast sadness that I learnt of Charlie's sudden passing", said FIA president Jean Todt.
The emotional motorsport world body president confirmed Formula 1 deputy race director Michael Masi of Australia would step up for Whiting for this weekend's season opener in Melbourne. Inside the paddock, he was known simply as Charlie - the go-to man for teams, drivers and media. What he did for the sport, his commitment, he really was a pillar Such an iconic figure within the sporting world, and he contributed so much to us. "He was someone you could ask anything of, any time". "All our thoughts, the whole family of Formula One, are with him". Hamilton's championship rival Sebastian Vettel echoed those words by saying: "He was a racer, just a very nice guy".
As race director, Whiting oversaw the start procedure for all of the races under his tenure, as well as inspecting circuits for safety measures, and led pre-race driver briefings, where driver's could raise concerns over the format of the Grand Prix. He was open to everyone, any time his door was always open. The F1 world was rocked on Thursday morning as it awoke to the announcement that race director Whiting had died from a pulmonary embolism in the southern Australian city where he was due to work this weekend.
Todt says "Formula 1 has lost a faithful friend and a charismatic ambassador in Charlie".
"One of our strategic goals is we want to make the sport more attractive potentially with entrants", the American said at his press conference in Melbourne.
Ross Brawn, F1's managing director, said: "I have known Charlie for all of my racing life".
"We should be ready with the global package", he continued, "and you know that the global package is on one side, the commercial side, the financial side, which is the responsibility of Formula 1". But he spent most of his time working for Brabham where he eventually became the chief mechanic. Hamilton and co will have to try and retain their focus amid the sad news of Whiting's death as the Australian GP season opener edges closer.
"He handled that role, a tremendously hard role, with great balance and diplomacy in some incredibly hard situations".
Former F1 supremo Ecclestone, a long-time friend of the Briton who worked for him at the Brabham team in the 1980s, told Reuters that the job of race director was one of many roles carried out by Whiting.