Sebastian Vettel collected his fourth world champions’ trophy last night at the FIA prizegiving gala in Paris, but one of the more heartwarming stories was Robert Kubica collecting the FIA Personality of the Year award, as voted by the media.
It was the first time that the FIA gala has featured awards given by popular vote.
Kubica won the B class of the World Rally Championship this year, overcoming the handicap of his arm injuries, which ended his Formula 1 career. The Pole won five of the seven nominated events this year to seal the title with one round remaining. This despite severing the median and ulnar nerves in his right arm three years ago in an accident in a minor rally when he was a Lotus F1 driver.
Vettel is on a tour of awards events, having amused his audience on Sunday night at the Autosport Awards in London; including mimicking FIA president Jean Todt and Red Bull Racing director Helmut Marko.
“What makes us strong is that we love what we do and we’re passionate about racing,” said Vettel last night.”This year was not an easy season, but to overcome that and give the answer on the track makes me very proud. I don’t have words to describe how incredible it is to retain the Drivers’ Championship for another year, I would like to say a huge thank you to the team and everyone who supported me.”
With an eye to the future, two kart racers were honoured. Max Verstappen, the son of former F1 racer Jos Verstappen, was double European Champion this year in KF and KZ, he was also the winner of the KZ World Championship. The KF title was won by Briton Tom Joyner.
The evening began with a film, made by Luc Besson, a friend of Todt’s, featuring the world champions in a heist spoof. Hopefully this will be posted on You Tube or the FIA website soon.