Jake Humphrey pays homage to Formula One's Charlie Whiting

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Formula One fans across the globe have joined together to pay their respects to Charlie Whiting, after the news of the 66-year-old's death this morning, just three days before the start of the F1 season.

Whiting was one of the most respected figures in the racing world, and his role as the F1 Race Director saw him oversee the logistics of each Grand Prix.

He was also known for revolutionising the safety procedures in the sport, being the man who introduced the Halo and the safety gear that all drivers wear to protect them in the event of big crashes.

Whiting's first venture in the racing business came in 1976, as he and his brother helped prepare rally cars at Surtees, 43 years later and Whiting will go down as one of F1's greatest revolutionaries.

One of the men to pay tribute to Whiting was BT Sport presenter Jake Humphrey, who has recounted his first interaction with the race director.

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Having just begun his career in the racing industry, Humphrey recalls back to the 2009 Australian Grand Prix, where he was covering his first major sports event, so soon after leaving his role as a presenter for CBBC. 

Humphrey remembers the nerves he felt, as he soaked up one of the most career-defining moments of his life.

He tweeted: "I was a very nervous guy, who, weeks before had been a CBBC presenter. Suddenly, there I was in Australia, thousands of miles from home, and about to present a bloody Grand Prix! On the Thursday, the paddock comes alive, and my producer Mark told me I needed to head to the paddock and introduce myself to the teams.

"Moments later, a voice from my right...’I guess I should say hello’. It was Charlie. Huge smile, silver hair, warm handshake. Amazingly he had recognised me...perhaps he watched Bamzooki."

The exchange will always resonate with the 40-year-old, and Whiting's warm welcoming extended further, as he took the time to advise Humphrey about the business he had entered.

"He could tell immediately I was daunted. ‘Look’, he said, ‘this place is known as the piranha club. It’s massively competitive...but it’s also a family. Also, we are now together, basically until November, so you may as well go and crack on. Any issues, just ask for Charlie’.

“And that was the start of 4 of the greatest years of my life. A remarkable journey for me personally began with a little push from him."

“I didn’t see him for a couple of races, and when I did I was sitting in the paddock in Barcelona, having a drink...he just walked passed and said ‘see, we don’t bite’. What a guy. I’m so sorry for his family and friends to be typing a tribute to him, just days before he was due to be doing what he did best, run an F1 race.

“And I hope this weekend the F1 world stops, and says thank you to one of their greatest family members. Sleep well Charlie and give our love to Ayrton, Jules, and a few of your other friends up there. You will be missed xxxxxxxx.”

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