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GP Week : Issue 132
F1 FEATURE >> competition. Is it difficult to keep on top of everything? Absolutely. There are not many of us. We cannot check everything on every car that goes out to the track. We have to rely on the deterrent of the check that might happen. It’s quite a difficult job. You have the combined brain power of probably a thousand engineers working at all the teams and you have to find out about what they might or might not be doing. Sometimes it’s quite difficult. Speaking of engineers ,what would your advice be to people who want a career in motorsport? I don’t believe that anyone who has a dream should give up on it. There’s always more than one way to go about things. I was quite fortunate because my brother was racing, I had grown up with things like autocross and rallycross. We grew together and then obviously I had my dream. My brother Nick was scaling down his racing at that point so we parted ways. Mentioning your brother Nick, 1990 was a tragic year for the Whiting family. Your brother was murdered. How did this change your life? On a personal basis, obviously it affected the family. On a professional basis I don’t think it affected my work. Life was quite difficult for a while but we had to get on with it. Certainly Nick would have wanted me to get on with it. Since 1997 you have been the FIA’s Race Director and Safety Delegate. Does that responsibility put a lot of pressure on your shoulders? More so now than ever before. That side of my job does become harder in some respects because every incident is examined in more detail. But I believe that we are ahead of the game in terms of the technology we have available to us in order to analyze incidents and detect any wrongdoing on the track. Every race brings its pressures. For two hours I’m under pressure and you never know what’s going to happen. We always come across incidents that we have never come across before and this is one of the best things about the job – the unpredictability. People get to see you on TV as the man pressing the button to switch off the start lights. Do you still get excited pressing that button? I must admit that I am still excited about it. There’s high-tension because you have to make a split second decision on whether we have to abort the race or not. It’s a thrilling part of the job. I pay close attention to where the cars are, if everything is in place, if there are any drivers in trouble – and I have to keep my concentration. How does this starting procedure work? Is there any random algorithm? When I start the sequence, the red lights go on automatically. When all the five lights are on I decide when they are switched off. I do this manually. No, there is no algorithm for the five lights to go off. Do you ever have any second thoughts on the decisions that were taken or not taken? Every year I write a report on every circuit. Generally speaking, there are always things that can be improved. 35