The FIA has announced Michael Masi has been made race director for the Australian Grand Prix following the tragic death of Charlie Whiting.

Whiting was confirmed to have died overnight in Melbourne suffering from a pulmonary embolism three days before the start of the 2019 Formula 1 world championship.

The FIA has appointed Masi as race director, a senior Australia motorsport official who has also held numerous roles in the FIA at previous F1 events, while he will also act as safety delegate and permanent starter for the Australian Grand Prix.

The 2019 F1 opener will mark the first race since 1996 that a new race director is in charge with Whiting having held the role since the start of the 1997 season.

“Appendix 1, Part B of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations for this Event (“Sporting Regulations”), specifies that Mr Charlie Whiting shall be the Race Director, the Safety Delegate and the Permanent Starter,” an FIA statement read.

“In accordance with Article 11.9.3b of the FIA International Sporting Code, the Sporting Regulations shall hereby be amended to reflect Mr Michael Masi as the Race Director, Safety Delegate and Permanent Starter for this Event.”

The FIA will also need to appoint a new full-time race director for the remainder of the 2019 season. There has not been an official deputy race director since Laurent Mekies left for Ferrari in March last year.