The FIA has announced that there is to be a number of tributes in place for the late Professor Sid Watkins, F1′s legendary doctor including a bronze bust, book of Remembrance and a minute’s applause, at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix. Although there have been suggestions that this may be revised to a minute’s silence.
Formula One is also set to mark the passing of the Prof with the bronze bust, which was commissioned for him following retirement from his role as FIA Institute Honorary President, to be sat alongside a Book of Remembrance throughout the weekend allowing all those that have met the former FIA Doctor to leave their memories. The book will then be handed to the Watkins family in due course. The FIA is to announce a more permanent tribute to the Prof at a later date.
The main tribute this weekend will be the minute’s applause, taking place on the starting grid prior to Sunday’s Grand Prix. It will be the first time that the F1 fraternity has been together since the Prof’s death and the weekend is already filled with mixed emotions, with fantastic stories and memories of the great man.
In his time, the Prof saved the lives of many, including Nigel Mansell, Rubens Barrichello and Mika Hakkinen. But it was in response to the drivers who lost their lives that he drastically changed motor sport for the better. Alterations to both cars and circuits to improve safety have reverberated throughout motor sport from the grass roots to this weekends Grand Prix and the Prof’s death will be felt through all of these levels.
Meanwhile some of the drivers have paid tribute to the Prof today here in Singapore, “I have extremely good memories in the professional and person sides with him,” said Michael Schumacher today, “He was close to me in some of my difficult moments, such as the accident in 1999. But even more with all the FIA background work for safety improvements, Sid was one of the major driving forces and always looking for support in trying to achieve the goals that were needed. In particular after 1994 when we lost two of our friends. For him this was a big motivation to do what he had wanted to do for many years.”