The FIA’s 2019 Personality of the Year Award was bestowed upon the late Niki Lauda during Friday’s prize giving gala in Paris.
The emotional accolade, voted for by accredited members of the media, honoured the three-time World Champion who passed away before this year’s Monaco Grand Prix and the memory of a man who helped build the might of Mercedes in F1.
The Silver Arrows squad conquered its sixth consecutive Constructors’ title this season, but team boss Toto Wolff recently admitted that Lauda’s passing had put a damper on the joy associated with the outstanding achievement.
“At Mercedes, Niki left a void that we will never be able to replace – as a source of inspiration, as a voice of reason, but most importantly as a great friend,” said Wolff.
“We hope we did you proud, Niki.”
Other special awards handed out at the glittering gala included the ‘Action of the Year Award’ that went to Max Verstappen for his daring overtaking move on Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc at the British Grand Prix.
However, Verstappen wasn’t the only Red Bull driver to receive a distinction as teammate Alex Albon was rewarded with the ‘Rookie of the Year’ trophy following his impressive maiden campaign in F1.
The Promoters’ Award for the best organized race was once handed out to the Mexican Grand Prix which is in a league of its own among F1’s events, having reaped the award for the fifth consecutive year!
“This year, the organisers outdid themselves with an amazing prize giving, when Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes was lifted up to join him on the actual podium,” commented F1 CEO Chase Carey.