How to do replace an indispensable man? That’s the question the FIA must be asking at the moment due to the tragic loss of Charlie Whiting over the Australian Grand Prix weekend. The role he filled, the tasks he performed and the weight he carried over the course of a race weekend was something no one was prepared to replace on such short notice.
The F1 paddock will be looking for a replacement at the FIA and they may be coming to the same conclusion that Formula 1 came to when they decided that Bernie Ecclestone had to go. How do you replace such a stalwart of the series?
“I think his [Charlie’s] shoes are impossible to fill,” said Wolff.
“I had a chat with Ross Brawn on the way to the [grid] photo and the minute of silence, and he said they just discovered how much Charlie was doing.
“[This includes] trivialities like the cameras in dangerous positions. This is what Ross mentioned to me.
“A bunch of tasks, and I didn’t have any direction with the race director in the race.
“Certainly there will be tough decisions to take in the future, and I think it’s impossible to replace Charlie.
“But whoever takes up that job, we need to support them.”
The article suggests that in order to replace Charlie, you’ll need more than one person and that’s the same conclusion they came to with Ecclestone’s role as boss of F1.
I don’t disagree with the article or the sentiment, but I do wonder what that says about the men who are being replaced. Think of the role they played, the tasks they performed and how they made the sport thrive and evolve.
It is wisdom and experience that is irreplaceable and while Google is handy at getting info on a topic or matter, it is not instant wisdom. You can Google the Fletcher Munson curve or what happens when two of the same frequency’s cross each other at 45-degree angles but unless you’ve experienced that while installing a sound system in the world’s largest house of worship, you have no idea what you’re doing. Worse yet, you have no idea how to solve for the issue either.
Such was the situation with Charlie and Bernie. No internet search can replace what they brought to the sport and in Charlies case, wisdom with such decorum and civility in the face of pressure, adversity and hostility. Charlie was truly grace under pressure. Bernie was pressure on the graceful.
Hat Tip: Autosport
On the Friday night of the GP I was at a Q&A with a well-known journalist of 30years+ experience. One of the things that was talked about was Charlie and how to replace him. It turns out that Charlie was looking at retiring anyway at the end of this year as doing the job of almost two people was taking its toll on him.
So plans have been underway to find replacements for him for some time.
Listening to the current AUTOSPORT podcast:
I think Sergio Finland would be an excellent candidate to write the future F1 regulations.