Race director Whiting: I'll have a glass of wine and a packet of crisps when Monaco GP is over
21:30 GMT, 26 May 2012
At lunchtime on Sunday, Charlie Whiting will be perched inside a Perspex-fronted platform 10 feet above the Monaco Grand Prix starting grid.
To those outside the Formula One paddock, Whiting, 60 in August, may be an anonymous figure, but for the past 16 years he has been race director at every grands prix across the globe.
Classic: Monte Carlo plays host to the Monaco Grand Prix
He will start Sunday's race from his eyrie and then, after the cars have passed him twice more, Whiting will streak across the track to take his seat in race control to monitor the remaining 76 laps.
Nowhere causes him greater anxiety than Monaco.
'It's an intense race, with no time to relax,' he admitted 'First, and foremost, I'm here for the drivers' safety; secondly, to assure a fair competition.'
Whiting had to halt qualifying on Saturday afternoon after Mexican Sergio Perez – hospitalised here last year following a crash after exiting the tunnel at 200mph – lost control and drove his Sauber into barriers at the swimming pool complex. Thankfully, only his car was hurt.
Key role: F1 race director Charlie
Whiting checks on Monaco qualifying
'An inescapable fact is that motor-racing remains dangerous,' said Whiting, who cut his teeth in F1 35 years ago when Bernie Ecclestone owned the Brabham team.
'People mustn't forget that. There is always the danger of complacency, and I am always reminding people the next accident is around the corner. There's always that possibility. You can't consider it is not going to happen because, inevitably, it will. We have to keep vigilant.'
Formula One has not experienced a fatal accident since triple world champion Ayrton Senna was killed at Imola in 1994.
Wheely bad: Perez loses a tyre in qualifying after hitting the barrier
Whiting sat on the five-man advisory group that former FIA president Max Mosley established to improve safety after Senna and Austrian Roland Ratzenberger lost their lives on the same weekend at the San Marino Grand Prix.
While Whiting says that driver safety is 'night and day from how it used to be', he does not like to tempt fate by claiming the sport is now immune to further tragedy.
When talking about such sensitive issues, he makes a point of touching the back of his wooden chair.
Bird's eye view: Fans gather to watch qualifying in Monte Carlo
Every year Whiting watches the circuit built over a six-week period as he lives in Monaco with his second wife, Juliette, and their two children, Justin, four, and two-year-old Charlotte.
Around two hours after he has extinguished the lights, 90,000 spectators will rise to acclaim a new victor, whose story will be written into F1 history.
Whiting, however, will look forward to disappearing as anonymously as he arrived to see his children before bedtime.
'Then,' he admitted, 'I'll have a glass of wine and a packet of crisps to wind down after what we all hope is another Monaco classic.'