Sid Watkins was inducted into the Motor Sport Hall of Fame on May 31 having comfortably won the public vote.
Ron Dennis was on hand to present the award to the family of his good friend, a man whose important legacy continues throughout motor racing.
Derek Warwick remembers Sid Watkins
“He would look after everyone in the paddock, whether they’d been up to some mischief or else simply had a headache. He was caring, compassionate and loved everyone in F1 from mechanics to drivers and team principals. We always knew he was there for us.
“I came across him quite a lot because I had some fairly big accidents. Everybody remembers Monza 1990, when I got upside down. After the race was stopped I ran back to the pits for the spare car and drove it onto the grid. The first person that greeted me there was Sid, who said, ‘Oi you, get out.’ I was petrified that he’d stop me racing, because I felt I was fine. We sat in the back of the medical car and he started firing questions at me about my name, my age and so on. I thought it was a joke, so I told him I was Nelson Piquet. He said, ‘No Derek, I’m being serious. What’s your name?’ I insisted I was being serious and that I was Nelson Piquet, at which point he jumped out, grabbed Bernie Ecclestone and asked him to make it clear that I had to answer the questions properly or I wouldn’t be racing. Suddenly, I started answering his questions…
“After I rolled into the gravel at Hockenheim in 1993, Sid was soon there looking after me, making sure all my limbs moved in the correct way. He then took me to the medical centre and started testing everything. I’ll always remember him removing a stone from my ear, after gravel had forced itself into my helmet, and as he took it out he said, ‘Hmmm, Monza 1990…’
“When my Lotus team-mate Martin Donnelly crashed at Jerez in 1990, I got to the scene fairly quickly. His body was a mangled mess when I arrived and as far as I was concerned he was probably dead. Prof Watkins then arrived and we all knew him as this loving figure, who’d be careful laying out an injured driver to protect his back and neck, gently removing their crash helmet and so on. When he got to Martin, though, he clearly realised the severity of the situation and basically beat the shit out of him to get him going again and help him survive. That was the other side of Prof Watkins. When he had to be rough and ready to save a driver’s life, he was there for them then, too.”