Dr. Eric Sidney Watkins, the world-renowned English neurosurgeon known in Formula 1 circles as "Professor Sid,” has died. He was 84.
For 26 years, Watkins served as the FIA Formula 1 Safety and Medical Delegate, and chief of the F1 medical team at the track, often the first responder in the event of a crash.
Raising the standards of series medical teams, Watkins is credited with saving the lives of numerous drivers, including Gerhard Berger, Martin Donnelly, Mika Hakkinen and Karl Wendlinger. Watkins also had developed a lasting friendship with the late driver Ayrton Senna.
Due largely to his efforts, a dedicated medical team began following the F1 championship around the world in the late 1970s.
Watkins retired from the FIA in January 2005 from the FIA, though he remained as the President of the FIA Institute for Motor Sports Safety until 2008, when he assumed an advisory role.
In 2008, he was honored for “Most Outstanding Contribution to the Motorsport Industry.”
Watkins is survived by his wife Susan, their two daughters and four sons.