Permanent Watkins tribute 'needed'

Autosport

Formula 1 should create a permanent reminder to honour the contribution that Professor Sid Watkins made to the sport, says Jackie Stewart.

Watkins, who over three decades as F1's chief medical delegate played a key role in improving safety standards in grand prix racing, died on Wednesday. He was 84.

Stewart believes that the invaluable efforts that Watkins made must be acknowledged by those he did so much to help.

"There needs to be something permanently done to recognise his contribution to motorsport, particularly to Formula 1," Stewart told AUTOSPORT.

"These things filter down [to other categories] but had it not been for him in F1 none of that stuff would have been developed.

"Something needs to be done to recognise Sid's long term of office and how much he did for the sport.

"From my point of view I know how difficult it was to create change with all the hassle I went through. There was at least some recognition that something had to be done when I'd finished.

"Sid took it right to where it is today with incredible firmness sometimes. He didn't suffer fools gladly. He would put his foot down. Everybody respected Sid."

Stewart believes that Watkins' contribution to F1 should not be downplayed, as he believes no man had a greater influence in preventing deaths than him.

"He was responsible for more life saving than anyone else, certainly since my day, and he carried it off with the FIA to the point that the governing body then saw the necessity to have Sid permanently. That was influenced heavily by both Bernie [Ecclestone] and Max [Mosley].

"A lot of people are going to miss Sid Watkins. He was at the British Grand Prix, in the paddock, and there was nobody who was negative about him. Like all of us he upset a few folks but it had to be done.

"He wasn't doing it for personal gratification or anything else. He was a genuine man."

View Comments