The lights go out but who gets the privilege of pressing ‘that button’?
The lights go out but who gets the privilege of pressing ‘that button’? It is of course the one and only Charlie Whiting who has had an incredible influence on Formula One in his time but who is he and where has he come from?
In the 70’s Charlie along with his brother Nick were assisting with the preparation of cars for the saloon and rally car races at nearby racing circuit, Brands Hatch. They both then progressed to the Surtees team working alongside Divina Galica (Team GB Winter Olympian turned racing driver!). In 1977 Charlie Whiting moved to the Hesketh Racing team and eventually moving onto the Brabham F1 team owned by a certain Mr.Ecclestone after the Hesketh team’s racing time came to a close.
The relationship between Whiting and the Brabham team was strong with Whiting remaining with the F1 team for 10 years working his way up to become their chief mechanic where he saw successes including Nelson Piquet’s 1981 and 1983 WDC wins.
By 1988 Whiting stepped up to become the Technical Delegate for the FIA in Formula One and eventually taking on the role of Race Director and Saftey Delegate. The Race Director role is fairly obvious to the fans… he is after all the one who gets to push that button… but his contribution to improving the safety of Formula One should be commended and respected by fans alike.
Whiting also has a strong and respected status in the Formula One paddock with team principals and drivers recognising his influence and worth in the sport that they race in every day. Without Charlie Whiting no race could start, no safety measures could be implemented and potentially most importantly no racing could occur. His importance and influence in Formula One is so large and with all this responsibility he still manages to put a smile on his face and maintain a great reputation across the board of F1 and that is why I believe he is one of the greatest characters and influencers in Formula One’s managerial history.
Author: Grace Cunningham
Blog: The Right Formula
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