Behind the scenes at WEC race control: “I didn’t expect 6 hours to pass so quickly!”
Photo: FIA

Behind the scenes at WEC race control: “I didn’t expect 6 hours to pass so quickly!”

The inaugural Charlie Whiting Award winner Janette Tan was on duty at the FIA World Endurance Championship’s maiden double-header in Bahrain recently.

Janette Tan was shadowing FIA’s Race Director Eduardo Freitas as part of the scholarship programme named after the late FIA Race Director and Safety Delegate for Formula 1.

Tan was named as the inaugural winner of the award at the International Stewards’ Programme and Race Director Seminar that annually opens the dialogue between well over 300 officials working at various FIA competitions worldwide.

As part of the selection process, National Sporting Authorities worldwide were given the right to nominate an official who had to complete a comprehensive test with the results assessed by a panel comprised of FIA Safety Department representatives.

“The FIA will help the [award-winning] official to improve and progress in his or her career in areas such as management of race control and other functions,” explains FIA’s WEC Race Director, Freitas.

“There was a series of multiple questions and I understand I did pretty well. There were also two essay questions and all of that was submitted to the panel without my name,” recalls Tan who describes Whiting as a “mentor and a father figure".

As part of the scholarship programme, each award winner is given the chance to attend FIA events of their own choice over the course of a year in order to broaden their experience.

“It was supposed to be across 12 months, but that period was extended until June 2022 because of the implications of the pandemic,” explains Tan. “I first meet Eduardo during the 2020 seminar, and he said ‘come to Le Mans!' but I didn’t manage because of the pandemic. I had my wish list of events, and Le Mans was [indeed] one of them.

“I went to Bahrain because there were back-to-back events and I could maximise my learning. I didn’t expect six hours to pass so quickly!,” Tan said after the penultimate round of this year’s championship.