Sunday, 11 December 2011

Andre Mas honoured at FIA Gala

The gap between the end of the season and Christmas usually see's some racing events and award ceremonies take place and with the Brazilian Grand Prix taking place on the last weekend of November it's been quite a rush to fit everything in. The Race of Champions took place a week after the race in Interlagos. Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher took the victory for Team Germany in the Nations cup. Vettel and Jenson Button were winners at the Autosport Awards whilst Jaime Alguersuari was the overall winner of Felipe Massa's go karting event in Brazil. This week seen the final round of FIA meetings for the year before the official end of the season with the FIA Gala. Vettel, Button and Mark Webber received trophies for their top 3 finishes in the drivers championship while Christian Horner picked up the constructors trophy. However it was another award that caught my attention from the ceremony in New Delhi

Andre Mas was awarded the Jacky Ickx Award for the Most Outstanding Official. Sadly it was awarded posthumously after the Spaniard passed away last month. However it was very much deserved simply for the feat of bravery carried out by Mas 41 years ago. On lap 1 of the 1970 Spanish Grand Prix there was a collision involving Belgian driver Jacky Ickx. His car almost immediately caught fire.

An alert and courageous Mas headed to the edge of the circuit as cars flew by, aiming his fire extinguisher at the scene of the accident as best he could and within 20 seconds the fire was out. Ickx escaped with severe burns and without the quick thinking of Mas he probably would not survived. He returned to racing at the next Grand Prix in Monte Carlo. Mas would eventually become senior officer at the Jarama circuit but his act as a marshall would remain his moment of heroism and is a reminder of the dangers of Formula 1 and the great work the FIA have done and also the people who volunteer to be a marshall and put their own lives at risk to allow events to run

So there we are, just a short tale but a great act to avoid a fatality in the sport we love and wonderful that amongst the glitz and glamout of the Gala, Andre Mas was honoured and remembered for what he done for Jacky Ickx and Formula 1

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