Date: 13th September 2012 at 8:32am
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Formula One is in mourning after the announcement that Professor Sid Watkins died on Wednesday at the age of 84.

Watkins worked as Formula One’s medical delegate from 1978 until 2004 and would later become the chairman of the FIA Expert Advisory Safety Committee following the deaths of Roland Ratzenburger and F1 legend and close friend Aryton Senna and would also become president of FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety in 2004.

He was awarded the OBE in 2002 and only stepped down as the head of FIA Institute last year.

McLaren chairman Ron Dennis told the BBC: ‘Today the world of motor racing lost one of its true greats.

‘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.

‘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.’


F1 medical delegate Gary Hartstein added: ‘Sid was absolutely the most charismatic and extraordinary problem-solver I’ve ever met.

‘What he got done was extraordinary – but it was the way he got it done in the face of extraordinary opposition at the time. He kept pushing and pushing so hard to the extent that it is now accepted as ‘the way’.’


Formula One drivers have also paid tribute to the Prof.

Rubens Barrichello, who believes he owes his life to Watkins after his horrendous crash at Imola during qualifying for 1994 race posted on Twitter: ‘It was Sid Watkins that saved my life in Imola 94,Great guy to be with, always happy. Thanks for everything you have done for us drivers. RIP.’

Whilst Brazilian compatriot and nephew of Ayrton Senna, Bruno added: ‘RIP Prof. Sid Watkins. Sad news for us who stay behind.’