Legendary F1 Doctor Sid Watkins Dies At 84

Professor Sid Watkins

Professor Sid Watkins

Having attended to the likes of Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen, Rubens Barrichello and many more–and contributing greatly to the safety of F1 in general, Sid Watkins was a legend within the sport, even if not well-known outside of it until recently. He died of a heart attack yesterday in a London hospital at the age of 84.

A statement from Watkins’ family disclosed the information: «Professor Sid Watkins, Formula One doctor and leading neurosurgeon, died peacefully in a London hospital last night aged 84 after a short illness.  His family would like to thank everyone for the many messages of support and the touching tributes from the world of motor racing, medicine and beyond.  There will be a private family funeral in Scotland followed by a memorial service in London in the coming months, details of which will be announced shortly.»

In addition to tending to drivers involved in racing accidents throughout the late 1980s and the 1990s, Watkins also helped train other drivers, including Senna, in basic first response techniques. Watkins featured prominently in the movie documentary of Senna’s life, Senna.

Beyond his 26-year role as the medical delegate for the FIA, Watkins was also a neurosurgeon, and was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 2002.

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