When F1 misplaced its guardian angel: ‘With out him I would be attending extra funerals’

It has been 18 years because the late Professor Sid Watkins introduced his retirement from Components 1.

Watkins was the F1 Medical Delegate for 26 years, having first taken up the place on the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix.

F1 noticed quite a few will increase in security over time since his involvement, but it surely was not till the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna – a private buddy of Watkins – that it took a scientific and analysis strategy to security.

The mortality price in F1 since 1994 speaks for itself, with simply the only, tragic loss of life of Jules Bianchi in July 2015 after accidents sustained on the Japanese Grand Prix 9 months earlier than.

Watkins was typically the primary particular person drivers would see at any time when they have been concerned in a crash on observe, as he was the primary responder on the scene within the medical automotive.

He was additionally a large advocate of the Head and Neck Assist (HANS) frontal head restraint machine developed by the late Dr Robert Hubbard, which remodeled security and have turn into an integral a part of driver security.

Ecclestone: “He irreplaceable”

After retiring from F1 on the age of 77, Watkins sadly handed away in 2012.

At his funeral three-time Drivers’ Champion Sir Jackie Stewart famous the affect that Watkins had on general driver security: “Sadly, I attended method too many funerals and memorial companies, however there would have been many extra if we hadn’t had the Prof,” he defined to ESPN.

Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who put in Watkins because the everlasting physician after assembly him within the ’70s, additionally commented saying that he was “irreplaceable.”

“We owe him quite a lot of thanks for his care and dedication,” Ecclestone mentioned.

“I am just about positive he is irreplaceable. You meet somebody of their calibre at most as soon as in your complete life.”

The bottom work accomplished by Watkins has definitely paid off, with the developments in driver security exhibiting their price when Romain Grosjean emerged with solely burns to his fingers in his fiery crash firstly of the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.

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