Two innovators were honoured at the Autosport Awards last night as recipients of the Pioneering and Innovation Awards, sponsored by Tata Communications.
Professor Sid Watkins, who passed away earlier this year, was celebrated for his contribution to safety in F1 and motorsport generally via the FIA Medical Team.
1996 world champion Damon Hill was there to sum up Watkins and the Team’s contribution, “F1 has made incredible progress, and to see where it came from, and where it has now got to, is a testament to Sid’s incredible determination and work.”
“He was the last person you would want to see professionally, but the first person you’d just want to have a chat with.
Susan Watkins, the Prof’s widow, collected the award on behalf of the FIA Medical Team. She said, “Sid was an extraordinary man. In hospital they called him Saint Sid, and he transferred all that energy and determination to motorsport, as did the pioneers in that revolution, Louis Stanley and of course Sir Jackie Stewart.”
The Nissan Delta wing was also honoured; the idea of this innovative design, which competed at Le Mans this year, is to create a racing car which has dramatically reduced fuel consumption and low drag by having a narrow front track, low weight and a small capacity engine. The floor of the car creates the downforce, so that cornering speeds are comparable with normal racing cars of LMP2 level.
Designer Ben Bowlby was there to collect the award, “We set out purely to burn half the fuel of a contemporary Le Mans car but have similar performance, and through halving the mass and the drag, we did that,” he said.
You can read all about the key technical Innovations during this F1 season, among other stories, in the JA on F1 2012 yearbook – The Year of Living Dangerously, which is published on December 7th priced at £10.99; it’s a 256 page large format paperback with stunning Darren Heath images and signed copies are available to order via our online shop now.