Charlie Whiting is FIA Formula One Race Director, Safety Delegate, Permanent Starter and head of the F1 Technical Department, in which capacities he generally manages the logistics of each F1 Grand Prix, inspects cars in Parc Ferme before a race, enforces FIA rules, and controls the lights which start each race.
His first job was preparing his brother Nick's saloon and rally cars near the Brands Hatch racing circuit in England. In the mid seventies the brothers were running a Surtees in the 1976 British F5000 series for race driver Divina Galica. For the 1977 season Whiting joined Hesketh Racing at Easton Neston, near Silverstone. Following the demise of the team, he joined Brabham at Weybridge, where he would stay for the following decade, becoming chief mechanic for the World Championship successes of 1981 and 1983 and later rising to chief engineer.
In 1988 he became Technical delegate to the FIA Formula 1 and in 1997 he was appointed FIA Race Director and Safety Delegate.
During the 2005 United States Grand Prix, he was involved in a controversy when none of the tyres which Michelin had brought to Indianapolis were safe to use. The French tyre company was unable to produce new tyres with which to replace its seven customer Formula One teams' unsafe 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 grossly unfair to the teams who were ready to race with safe tyres designed for the high speed course. He was supported by legal advice that to make a last-minute change to the circuit without going through the normal inspection and validation procedures would expose all concerned to extreme legal sanctions in the event of an accident.