Medical staff including Dr. Sid Watkins, wearing the blue hat, surrounds Brazilian Formula One driver Ayrton Senna after his crash during the San Marino Grand Prix on the Imola racetrack in 1994. Watkins, the former Formula One medical chief credited with saving the lives of several race drivers and introducing major safety improvements in the series, has died. He was 84. Team officials and Watkins' family said the English neurosurgeon died on Wednesday, with an F1 statement describing him as a "safety pioneer." Watkins was at the forefront of F1 safety for 26 years and served as medical delegate from 1978 to 2004. "Many drivers and ex-drivers owe their lives to his careful and expert work, which resulted in the massive advances in safety levels that today's drivers possibly take for granted," McLaren chairman Ron Dennis said. "No, he wasn't a driver. No, he wasn't an engineer. No, he wasn't a designer. He was a doctor and it's probably fair to say that he did more than anyone, over many years, to make Formula One as safe as it is today."
Friday September 14, 2012