Formula 1 stars of past and present attended the FIA Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Automobile Club De France, in Paris on Monday night.
On the night the FIA’s president Jean Todt inducted 33 motor racing legends into the organisation’s newly created Hall of Fame, with the launch event attracting a host of stars to celebrate the occasion.
Todt said, “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.”
“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 motorsport so incredibly rich and inspiring,” added the FIA president.
The 2016 Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg was in attendance, as were multiple F1 world champions and current drivers Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.
The German commented, Vettel said: “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,” added Vettel.
“An emotional night,” Alonso wrote on Twitter. “Great honour to be part of the Hall of Fame of the FIA. Share space with the great drivers of the history of the sport that I love.”
Also in attendance at the inaugural ceremony were Mario Andretti, Sir Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell, Jacques Villeneuve and Damon Hill.
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.”
Hill, who in 1996 followed in the footsteps of his double title-winning father Graham, added, “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 Sir 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,” added Hill.
Finally, the sport’s most successful competitor, seven-star driver Michael Schumacher, was inducted, with long-time manager Sabine Kehm on hand to accept his award.
“We all know Michael should be here and I am totally sure he would love to be here,” she said. “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.”
The FIA have awarded the Hall of Fame accolade to every drivers’ F1 World Champion since the first championship in 1950 which was won by Giuseppe Farina.
One notable absentee at the function was Lewis Hamilton who missed the Paris ceremony to attend the 2017 Fashion Awards at London’s Royal Albert Hall on the same night.
F1 World Champions inducted into the Hall of Fame on the inaugural night are: Giuseppe Farina, Juan Manuel Fangio, Alberto Ascari, Mike Hawthorn, Jack Brabham, Phil Hill, Graham Hill, Jim Clark, John Surtees, Denny Hulme, Jackie Stewart, Jochen Rindt, Emmerson Fittipaldi, Niki Lauda, James Hunt, Mario Andretti, Jody Scheckter, Alan Jones, Nelson Piquet, Keke Rosberg, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve, Mika Hakkinen, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg.
— Mario Andretti (@MarioAndretti) December 4, 2017
— Jean Todt (@JeanTodt) December 4, 2017
Una noche emotiva. Gran honor formar parte del Hall of Fame de la FIA. Ccompartir espacio con los grandes pilotos de la historia del deporte q me apasiona.
— Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) December 4, 2017