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The rumour is just a rumour, Whiting is still there

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Charlie Whiting has reportedly not joined a swathe of other Bernie Ecclestone-linked F1 personalities who have left the sport.

With Liberty Media sweeping into power, it is notable that along with Ecclestone’s ousting, also now gone are the F1 supremo’s long-time colleagues including Pasquale Lattuneddu and Herbie Blash.

Now, it emerges that Marcin Budkowski has taken over as the FIA’s technical delegate, although Whiting – whose deputy is the much younger Laurent Mekies – remains the F1 race director and starter.

But rumours are circulating in the Barcelona test paddock that Whiting, 64, may soon ‘retire’.

A report in Speed Week, however, insisted “the rumour is just a rumour, and Charlie Whiting is still there”.

Ecclestone’s friend and long-time business partner Flavio Briatore has revealed that he held a surprise dinner for the 86-year-old in London this week.

Photos on social media have emerged showing guests including Max Mosley, Niki Lauda, the princes of Monaco and Bahrain and many others greeting the Briton wearing ‘Bernie’ masks.

“Normally, if you invite 100 people, you have 60 who confirm they can attend because you are talking about people that are very busy or live thousands of kilometres away,” said Briatore on Instagram.

“But everybody came to London,” he revealed. “It was a kind of tribute to Bernie’s career.

“He was not treated well by the new formula one bosses. People easily forget what this man created. It was a bit of a sad evening, but very beautiful.”

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