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Calls for a permanent F1 memorial to Professor Sid Watkins
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Sep 2012   |  4:25 pm GMT  |  73 comments

Jackie Stewart has led calls for a permanent memorial for Sid Watkins, the doctor who transformed safety and medical care in F1.

“There needs to be something permanent to recognise his contribution to motorsport, particularly to Formula One,” said Stewart.” Something needs to be done to recognise Sid’s long term of office and how much he did for the sport.”

Bernie Ecclestone has said today that, ““I am pretty sure that he is irreplaceable. You only meet somebody of his calibre once in your lifetime.”

Memorials to Ayrton Senna, the driver with whom Watkins had the closest relationship in his 26 year F1 career, can be found at various race tracks including Imola, Donington and Spa, likewise the great Juan Manuel Fangio is commemorated in a brass statues at Monza, Monaco, Donington, Nurburgring and Barcelona.

It seems entirely fitting that Watkins should be honoured for his immense contribution to the sport, but where should the memorial be?

In his native Liverpool? Aintree Circuit Club’s Mike Ashcroft has already been in touch with the Mayor of Liverpool about a doing something to honour Watkins in the city of his birth.

Perhaps a corner should be renamed after him at Silverstone. The two new corners after the pit straight, Village and Aintree (how appropriate) seem rather weak names (I can never remember them when I commentate at Silverstone!) and Watkins would be far preferable for one of them.

Please send in your suggestions in the comments section below, for the best permanent tribute to the “Prof”.

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Call a corner simply just


Grayzee (Australia)

Having read the 43 posts and replies above, they are all credible ideas.

For me, the idea of all the trackside medical centres being named after him sounds the best, and most obvious. With a statue of the great man standing outside the entry. (this statue could be mobile, travelling to each race)

I think that naming a corner after him is risky, because circuits are not etrnal. A circuit could be dropped from the calendar at any time. The medical centre is at ALL the races, no matter where they are.


A Prof Sid Watkins permanent memorial – this is one of the best ideas I have heard in a while.

I have been following F1 since … for a very long time. The name of a person who, as a non driver, made great contributions that helped drivers was a Sid Watkins. F1 chanpions are household names for a relatively short time but Prof Sid has been very well regarded for his contribution for years.

There are many ideas in these comments and I would suggest a panel of several people close to F1 to select an appropriate memorial – one that lasts for a very long time.

Is there an opportunity to encourage a group of medical (pure medical and bio mechanical engineering) people to forge a career in F1?

Will this be difficult to make happen in UK?


Maybe an anual recognition for safety improvements in tracks, special research on cars. So this could be won by an individual or a team and be handed over in Monaco along with the DWC and WCC. I can see the next great F-1 safety measure when cockpit protections be enforced.

Although a corner sounds good I guess those are named only after drivers, places or brands. If the corner thing goes further in a few years, when Bernie passes over, there could be a corner at Silverstone, Ricard or somewhere else with his name. It would be awkward. Keep things reasonable folks, please.


It’s really quite simple. Name a stand at Silverstone after him, with the statue in/outside it.

And I agree, get those he saved to unveil it.

I also agree about setting up a safety body in his name to train medical/safety staff for motorsport.

C’mon, Bernie, get your wallet out!


How about an annual memorial award given to a volunteer(s) who give up their spare time to help run the sport?

Motorsport would be nothing without our marshals and medical personnel on duty around the world.


He is seen around with Senna in the movie as well where he suggests to Senna to retire and go live somewhere else. Renaming the medical facilities or a corner will immortalise him in F1 chronicles. Very fitting and timely.


Rename the HANS device, the Watkins Device?


Like the idea of

Sid Watkins Institute for Motor Sport Safety and Sustainability (FIA)” or even simply to “FIA Sid Watkins Institute”

that was mentioned above, and renaming medical facilities after him.

To honour the work the Prof did, why not an award to the medical team/person who go above and beyond the call of duty at an motorsport (eg. F1 GP/ GP2/ GP3/ WSR/ F3 …) event, to reward their effort, could even be voted for by the drivers themselves…

and a Sid Watkins fund to help educate and train the medical teams who volenteer their time to make sure motorsport events take place and keep the drivers safe, (financed by the FIA and a cut of the driver penalty fines that get levied at the drivers for misdemeanours)



Sorry if this has already been suggested, but I would like to see some sort of annual automotive safety or medical innovation award in his name. Encouraging innovation and progress in this area would be more fitting, IMHO, than a statue or named corner.


I heard Sid on Talksport talking about the Senna crash and his relationship with him.

He sounded a great man and I do believe he is well deserving of a permanent memorial.

May he rest in peace.


The next safety device innovation could be called the “Sid Watkins ……”.


How about the track side doctors are called, Safety Incident Doctors. Or SID’s for short.


I just think the medical centre’s should be re-named the Sid Watkins centre. That would go for all of the medical centre’s in all of the circuits.

If a driver needs to go for a check up after an accident istead of saying he is off to the medical centre it would be his is off to the Sid Watkins centre.

Hospitals are sometimes named after people, it would be exactly the same in this instance and a more fitting tribute.

I just hope there is a fitting tribute to him in Singapore.


Not wishing to jump on any bandwagons, but how about a Sid Watkins trophy awarded each year to the driver voted by peers in F1 and GP2 as being the best driver to race against in terms of hardness and ethics?

Fernando would have it sewn up this year I think…


How about a Sports Trauma Foundation to promote the on going training and developement of doctors and medical crews that give of their time at motorsport events.

Funded by the FIA and F1


Sid was a founder and past President of the FIA Medical and Safety Foundation…in the UK, we have had such a scheme for many years.. over 25 in fact…most motorsport events require the presence of at least one fully equipped rescue unit with paramedic or doctor and major race meetings or internatioal events will have several of these with specialy trained and licensed personnel…however, watch this space regarding developments in this direction…maybe in Sid’s birthplace..


I don’t know what the current arrangements are, but perhaps some sort of medical training centre for ambitious but under-privileged medical students at each of the venues. Or maybe some sort of charity…


the “Sid Watkins Trophy” (or medal) would be a great recognition for the FIA to give out each year to the person or organization that contributed most to driver safety or to safety innovation in general. in addition, a corner at silverstone would not be redundant, as few people ever hear about such awards.


Instead of handing out Santander logo trophies, have one made that’s in honour of Sid, maybe a mini statute of him.


How about a memorial race every year? That would allow teams some testing as well. There could be a suitable trophy which is inscribed with winners names. Winners only get a replica.


Making sure that F1 is never, ever even a second behind the times in terms of medical stuff would be by far the best tribute, and the one that Sid would most want.

But some kind of statue at Senna’s favourite corner at Interlargos would probably make him smile up there.

We miss you Sid.


As other have said, maybe the great man might have felt somewhat uncomfortable having a corner named after him. Maybe there’s a way round that – Watkin’s Glen? (I suspect he would have enjoyed the joke.)


maybe it’s time to stop using a Mercedes as the medical car… I’m sure a Subaru could be worked on to be fast and safe … especially if they called it “Watkin Legacy”


‘And he takes Watkins’ flat out in seventh!’ – It has a great ring to me and I think Prof would love a long, fast, challenging, sweeping and safe corner that drivers love named after him. It would be a perfect reminder of how he made a sport that we love safer but no less exciting.


If it returns to the calendar, I think Turn 8 at Istanbul could do with adopting a better name.


I… don’t know. He was such an incredible person, such a “pillar” in this sport, that anything that comes into my head seems so “small” and insignificant compared to The Man he was…

Probably the best idea I can come up with is based on the answer to the question:

what for will he be remembered the most?

…For his life and work to make this sport safer… so if the decision was mine, I would have renamed entire “FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety and Sustainability” to

“Sid Watking Institute for Motor Sport Safety and Sustainability (FIA)” or even simply to “FIA Sid Watking Institute” (or to something like that… maybe even without “FIA”)… and place some monument at Silverstone.

I think only that way the tribute will be close to “sufficient”.

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