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Formula One pays tribute to Professor Sid Watkins

Official FIA Statement

“The FIA and the FIA Institute extend their sincere condolences to the Watkins family on the sad news of the death of FIA Institute Honorary President Professor Sid Watkins. Throughout his life Sid made a unique contribution to motorsport, particularly in improving safety for F1 drivers, officials and spectators around the world. He was highly respected as an acclaimed neurosurgeon, F1 medical delegate, Chairman of the FIA Expert Advisory Safety Committee, and as the first President of the FIA Institute. Sid’s experience, intelligence and endearing humour will be forever greatly missed.”

Professor Sid Watkins

FIA President Jean Todt

“This is a truly sad day for the FIA family and the entire motor sport community. Sid was loved and respected in equal measure by all those who knew and worked with him. We will always be grateful for the safety legacy that he has left our sport.”

Gérard Saillant, President of the FIA Institute

“Sid was a true gentleman of our sport and always a pleasure to work with. He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him, from doctors and drivers to officials and fans. Sid’s influence will live on for many years to come.”

Ron Dennis, McLaren

Today the world of motor racing lost one of its true greats: Professor Sid Watkins. No, he wasn’t a driver; no, he wasn’t an engineer; no, he wasn’t a designer. He was a doctor, and it’s probably fair to say that he did more than anyone, over many years, to make Formula 1 as safe as it is today.

“As such, many drivers and ex-drivers owe their lives to his careful and expert work, which resulted in the massive advances in safety levels that today’s drivers possibly take for granted. But, more than that, Sid was a dear friend of mine, and I’ll miss him bitterly.

“To his widow Susan, and to his family, I extend my sincerest condolences. He was a truly great man, and the world of motor racing simply won’t be the same without him.”

Sir Frank Williams

“Sid Watkins gained the respect and admiration of all the drivers throughout his time in Formula One.  I know a number of them, throughout their time as racing drivers, looked to Sid for many different kinds of advice, in addition to his medical expertise.

Perhaps most significant in my mind is that Sid was held in high regard by Bernie Ecclestone. He was in all respects a very special human being.  In particular, his dedication to the safety of the drivers required endless persistence to achieve the safety standards and level of medical care that were necessary to save drivers’ lives.

Eric Boullier, Lotus F1

“I rarely had the pleasure of meeting Sid Watkins, but anyone connected with Formula 1 – or indeed motorsport in general – will know what an impact he has had on the sport. Drivers of many past and future generations owe him a lot; his passion and dedication have changed the face of safety in motorsport and saved a lot of lives in the process. We have lost a true great of Formula 1; I would like to extend my sincerest condolences to his family at this difficult time”

Jenson Button, McLaren

“Rest in Peace Sid Watkins … Motorsport wouldn’t be what it is today without you. Thank you for all you’ve done, we as drivers are so grateful. Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren

”It’s a sad day, with the loss of Professor Sid Watkins. Without his incredible contribution to the sport, our lives as drivers would be a risk. My condolences go out to his family.”

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes

”A great loss for F1. Sid combined expertise with his heart and he was always there for the drivers. Of course, I remember Silverstone, when he was instantly at my side. I also remember our time together in the many FIA safety meetings over the years, in which he was always so keen to improve our security. My thoughts are with his family.”

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes

“Thanks Sid Watkins 4 having helped make our sport as relatively safe as it is today. All of you from Sid’s family can be very proud! Best, Nico “

Paul di Resta, Force India

“Sad to see the news about Sid Watkins, heard so much about him but never got to meet him.”

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT

“R.I.P. Prof. Watkins, your work will truly be missed”

Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham

“Sad to hear professor Sid Watkins has past away, one of the true greats in motorsport. R.I.P”

Caterham F1 Team

“Very sad news to hear about the passing of Prof Sid Watkins. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. Prof made our sport safer and his legacy will keep saving lives for many years to come. His contribution to motorsport was immense.”

Sauber F1 team

“Sad to hear that Prof Sid Watkins has passed away yesterday. Without him, F1 would not be what it is today.”

Sahara Force India F1 Team

“The thoughts of everyone at Sahara Force India are with the family of ‘Prof’ Sid Watkins. A great man who contributed so much to the sport.”

Marussia F1 Team

“Our thoughts are with the family & friends of Prof Sid Watkins, who contributed so much to our sport & leaves such an important legacy.”

HRT F1 Team

“RIP Sid Watkins. It is thanks to him that we have such a high level of safety at the circuits.”

Martin Brundle, ex-Formula One driver and SkySports reporter

“Motorsport has lost a true visionary and character with death of Prof Sid Watkins, 84. Great man, funny too. Saved my left foot being amputated. Sid would often prescribe ‘a stiff whisky and aspirin’ unless your leg was hanging off. His way of saying ‘just put up and get on with it.’ Sid was the ‘go to’ man for health in motorsport. He helped, saved, or made more comfortable, numerous people who never sat in a racing car.”

Johnny Herbert, ex-Formula One driver

“Really sad news that Prof Sid Watkins passed. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Will miss your great sense of humour. R.I.P.”

David Coulthard, ex-Formula One driver and BBC F1 reporter

‘Sid Watkins was one of the best men I have met in my life, totally selfless and the world has lost a great.’

Jake Humphrey, BBC F1 Presenter

“Sid Watkins. Not lauded or idolised as the men behind the wheel are but you could argue his skills were far greater-RIP.”

Rubens Barrichello, ex-Formula One driver and now IndyCar driver

“It was Sid Watkins that saved my life in Imola 94. Great guy to be with, always happy … thanks for everything u have done for us drivers. RIP.”

Mario Andretti, ex-Formula One driver

“Just landed in Calif to the news of Prof Sid Watkins passing. Every driver will remember the contribution he made to the safety of our sport.”

David Brabham, ex-Formula One driver

“RIP Prof Sid, we will be forever indebted to you. Say hi to the greats up there, I bet they were all waiting for you.”


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