Formula 1: FIA veteran Herbie Blash to step down as deputy race director

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Bernie Ecclestone and Herbie Blash
Herbie Blash, right, pictured with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, his former boss at the Brabham team

Mike 'Herbie' Blash is to step down from his role as deputy race director at the end of the season, bringing to a close a 50-year career in Formula 1.

Blash, 67, has worked for governing body the FIA in his role since 1996. Before that he was involved in the Brabham team and Yamaha's F1 programme.

Blash will be replaced by FIA safety director Laurent Mekies, who will split the role with his existing one.

He will work with Blash and F1 director Charlie Whiting for the rest of 2016.

Frenchman Mekies has previously worked for the Arrows, Minardi and Toro Rosso teams.

FIA president Jean Todt paid tribute to Blash, describing him as "instrumental in the seamless running of grand prix races for more than two decades".

Blash started working in F1 in 1965, with the privateer Lotus entrant Rob Walker. He joined the factory Lotus team in 1968, as race engineer to Jochen Rindt, who became F1's only posthumous world champion in 1970.

Blash moved to Brabham as team manager in 1972, beginning a long association with F1 commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone, and where Whiting was chief mechanic.

After Ecclestone sold Brabham, Blash became its sporting director in the early 1990s, a role he also occupied with Yamaha, which supplied engines to the team and subsequently to Jordan and Tyrrell, before joining the FIA in 1996.

Herbie Blash and Jochen Rindt
Blash (left, at rear) works on Jochen Rindt's Lotus during the 1970 season