The FIA inaugurated the new FIA Hall of Fame in Paris. Nine Formula One World Champions were in attendance. All 33 winners of motorsport’s most prestigious title are in the Hall of Fame.
Sir Jackie Stewart, Mario Andretti, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg joined representatives and family of F1’s other title winners in becoming the first drivers honoured by the new initiative.
FIA President Jean Todt said: “The FIA Hall of Fame has been created to highlight the values that run through motorsport 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. 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.”
The inaugural ceremony was in the library of the ACF, where Formula One’s regulations were first drafted in the 1940s. The first inductees were the 17 champions with single titles to their name, starting with Formula One’s first champion, 1950 winner Giuseppe Farina and ending with 2016 champion Nico Rosberg.
“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 you for including me”, 1996 champion Damon Hill said.
— Mario Andretti (@MarioAndretti) December 4, 2017
The ceremony then celebrated two- and three-time champions, including 2005 and 2006 winner Fernando Alonso
The Spaniard commented: “It has been a fantastic night. I’m very honoured to be here with these great champions. All of them inspired me to become a Formula One driver. They inspired all the kids of my generation, so I feel very proud.”
After honouring three-time winners such as F1 legends Sir Jackie Stewart and Sir Jack Brabham, the evening moved to the sport’s most successful drivers. The beginning was the induction of four-time champions Alain Prost, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. Then it was five-time winner Juan Manuel Fangio’s turn.
“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”, Vettel said.
Finally, it was the sport’s most successful competitor, seven-star driver Michael Schumacher
Long-time manager Sabine Kehm was 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.”
— Jean Todt (@JeanTodt) December 4, 2017