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FIA's Herbie Blash to step down as Formula 1 deputy race director

Herbie Blash will end a 51-year stint in Formula 1 when he steps down from his role as FIA deputy race director at the end of the season

Safety director Laurent Mekies, who joined the FIA in 2014, will take on Blash's duties alongside his current role.

Blash started his F1 career in 1965, working with privateer Lotus entrant Rob Walker before being joining Lotus as race engineer to Jochen Rindt in 1968.

He moved to Brabham in 1972 as team manager before being promoted to the role of sporting director.

He had a brief stint at Yamaha as sporting director of its F1 engine programme and then joined the FIA in 1996 as deputy race director.

"I would personally like to thank Herbie for all of his hard work for the FIA over the past 21 years, and especially for his contribution in maintaining Formula 1's place at the pinnacle of motorsport," said FIA president Jean Todt.

"Along with Charlie [Whiting], Herbie has been instrumental in the seamless running of grand prix races for over two decades, and we are pleased that he will continue to work with the FIA in future."

Whiting added: "I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to Herbie for his years of tireless work for our sport.

"It has been a huge pleasure to be alongside him for almost two decades.

"Of course Herbie will be hard to replace but, with Laurent's extensive experience in F1, I'm sure he will be a worthy replacement.

"He will also be able to bring a new dimension of experience to our team of F1 officials."

Mekies began his F1 career with Arrows in 2001 and then moved to Minardi the following year.

He stayed with the team when it became Toro Rosso, taking on the role of chief engineer and head of vehicle performance.

"Replacing someone with Herbie's immense experience was never going to be easy," said Todt.

"However, we are fortunate to be able to appoint Laurent Mekies to this position.

"Laurent brings a wealth of Formula 1 experience, and has been responsible for driving the FIA's safety agenda since joining us."

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