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Formula 1 governing body the FIA, and its President Jean Todt, have released an official announcement following the death of Professor Sid Watkins. The Englishman, who died on Wednesday at the age of 84, saved numerous drivers’ lives and made an enormous contribution to safety since he was signed up by Bernie Ecclestone in 1978.
‘The FIA and the FIA Institute extend their sincere condolences to the Watkins family on the sad news of the death of FIA Institute Honorary President Professor Sid Watkins,’ reads a statement issued from Paris on Thursday afternoon.
‘Throughout his life Sid made a unique contribution to motorsport, particularly in improving safety for F1 drivers, officials and spectators around the world. He was highly respected as an acclaimed neurosurgeon, F1 medical delegate, Chairman of the FIA Expert Advisory Safety Committee, and as the first President of the FIA Institute. Sid's experience, intelligence and endearing humour will be forever greatly missed.’
“This is a truly sad day for the FIA family and the entire motorsport community,” says Jean Todt. “Sid was loved and respected in equal measure by all those who knew and worked with him. We will always be grateful for the safety legacy that he has left our sport.”
Todt’s comments were accompanied by those of Gérard Saillant, President of the FIA Institute who is now occupying the role Watkins held until last year.
“Sid was a true gentleman of our sport and always a pleasure to work with,” Saillant says. “He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him, from doctors and drivers to officials and fans. Sid's influence will live on for many years to come.”
Watkins is survived by wife Susan and their six children.
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