Winners of this year’s FIA Championships were honoured at a glittering 2016 FIA Prize Giving ceremony at the stunning Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, where the highlight of the annual gala show was the presentation of the FIA Formula One World Drivers’ Championship Trophy to Nico Rosberg.
An already emotional moment resonated even more in light of the German’s earlier announcement that, having achieved his boyhood dream of winning the title, he is steeping back from F1 with immediate effect.
Rosberg’s first title win came at the end of a titanic season-long battle with Mercedes team-mate and defending champion Lewis Hamilton. It also arrived 34 years after Rosberg’s father, Keke, sealed his own world championship win.
After 20 races and with nine wins each for Rosberg and Hamilton the fight went down to the final round in Abu Dhabi last weekend. And at the end of a nail-biting duel, Rosberg’s second place behind his great rival was enough for him to take the crown by just five points. The duo’s 19 wins and 20 poles set new benchmarks in the sport for the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team, which took it’s third Constructors crown in a row.
“This year was extremely tough because I put absolutely everything into it. I pushed like crazy in all directions,” said Rosberg of his triumph at the end of Formula One’s longest ever 21-race season.
“I’ve achieved this childhood dream now and I’m not willing to do that sort of commitment again,” he added. “I’ve decided to follow my heart and my heart has told me to stop and go on to other things. It’s been wonderful but it just feels right.”
A number of special FIA awards were handed out on the night. For the second year in a row Max Verstappen won both the FIA Personality of the Year and the FIA Action of the Year Awards, the latter being presented for the teenager’s stunning overtake of Nico Rosberg in the wet at this year’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton was on hand to collect his runner-up trophy, as well as Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo collecting his trophy for finishing third in this year’s Formula 1 World Championship, with Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff collected the Constructors’ championship trophy.
Former Formula 1 driver Sébastien Buemi claimed the FIA Formula E Championship championship winner trophy
Also receiving a champions’ trophy was Lance Stroll, who will in 2017 race for the Williams team in Formula One, took an emphatic title win in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, taking 14 wins, including seven from the final nine races.
Awards were handed out across the FIA’s sporting disciplines: including the World Endurance Championship, World Rally Championship, Touring Cars, Rallycross, Drag Racing and Karting.
Full list of drivers hnoured were the top three drivers from this year’s F1 World Championship – Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo – four-time FIA WRC champion crew Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, victorious WEC Porsche LMP1 drivers, Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb, as well as all-conquering WTCC ace José María López, WRX champion Matthias Ekström and Formula E champion Sébastien Buemi.