FIA inducts 33 Formula 1 champions in motor racing Hall of Fame
In a glittering ceremony held in Paris on Monday, the FIA inducted 33 Formula 1 world champions in the newly-created 'Hall of Fame' for motor racing legends. Jean Todt, the President of the FIA, earlier this year had revealed plans of launching a Hall of Fame to celebrate the rich history of motorsport and reward the drivers duly.
With the start of the 2017 FIA Annual General Assembly, the Hall of Famers were introduced, which included the first F1 champion Giuseppe Farina (1950) to the reigning winner Lewis Hamilton. "The FIA Hall of Fame has been created to highlight the values that run through motor sport and the champions who have been and who still are the exemplars of the FIA’s values of commitment, integrity, respect and sportsmanship," said Todt.
"This is the first stage of an ambitious project: the FIA Hall of Fame will soon expand to the FIA headquarters in Geneva, and other champions and other disciplines will be in the spotlight in the coming years. In this way we will celebrate all the FIA champions who have made, and who still make the history of motor sport so incredibly rich and inspiring," the Frenchman added, who is set to remain as the FIA President for the third time.
Not all 33 champions were present to receive the honour, with the most notable absence of the current champion Hamilton, who chose to attend a fashion event in London. The 1996 champion Damon Hill, part of the rare father-son combo of winners, attended the ceremony to collect the memorandum for himself and his late father, Graham (1962 & 1968).
"It was always very difficult to get it through my head that I’d become a world champion at all, so the thrill continues, and it just an amazing honour to be included. You see the people who are here and the names mentioned – Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost and Jackie Stewart and it’s hard to believe I’m in the same gang. So, congratulations to the FIA for instigating the Hall of Fame and thank your for including me," he said.
Meanwhile, the 1992 champion Nigel Mansell said: “I’d like to thank the FIA for making this evening possible for all of us. It’s such a special evening. I’d also like to congratulate all the other drivers here, truly they are all tremendous."
Along with the retired 2016 champion Nico Rosberg, four-time winner Sebastian Vettel (2010-2013) and two-time champion Fernando Alonso (2005-2006) were also present in the event to receive the honour. “It has been a fantastic night. I’m very honoured to be here with these great champions.
"All of them inspired me to become a Formula One driver, they inspired all the kids of my generation, so I feel very proud. I’m trying other series now and trying to imitate some of the idols I had when I was a kid. The Indy 500 experience this year, maybe Le Mans in the future. President Todt mentioned that the Hall of Fame for endurance racing will be in 2019, so I have two years!”
Vettel added: “It’s been incredible to see all these names, all these faces. Obviously a lot of them I only know from what I have read, what I have seen, but I think it’s a great idea. There’s so much history in the sports, it’s still so alive, and thanks to events like tonight’s, we’ll keep it like that. I love racing but as you get older you change your way of thinking and I think your appreciation for things and definitely for things like tonight grows.”
The day ended with the induction of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher (1994-1995 & 2000-2004), whose award was taken up by long-time manager Sabine Kehm. “We all know Michael should be here and I am totally sure he would love to be here. He always had the highest respect for everyone in this room and he would be very honoured. What made Michael so special, what made him so successful was, as with everybody in this room, a love and passion for this sport," she said.
At the display outside the FIA HQ, was some of the championship-winning cars like Alonso's 2005 Renault R25 along with the Alfa Romeo 158 of Nino Farina, the Ferrari 156 of Phil Hill (1961), the Lotus 25 of Jim Clark (1963), the McLaren MP4/5 of Ayrton Senna, and the Ferrari F1-2000 of Schumacher.
The Hall of Fame website was also launched with full details of the F1 champions: halloffame.fia.com/hall-of-famers - which is to be updated with champions from other disciplines, once they are revealed in the coming years.