The FIA quietly hands out the prizes

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Kimi Raikkonen, FIA Gala, 2007 | FIAThe annual FIA gala was yesterday, at which the prizes for all the top international motor sport competitions were handed out.

Kimi Raikkonen received his Formula 1 World Drivers’ championship trophy and the Bahrain International Circuit was given an award for excellence. The latter seems rather ironic, given that the organisers are not exactly taxed by the kinds of enormous crowds that regularly descend on Silverstone or Monza.

Heaping irony upon irony, the promoters of the United States Grand Prix won the award for best race promoter. Bernie Ecclestone has dropped the event from the 2008 calendar.

Mario Andretti became the fourth recipient of the FIA Gold Medal for Motor Sports. Andretti, the 1978 Formula 1 World Champion, is the only driver ever to have claimed the title and won the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500 races (for Indy Cars and stock cars respectively) in America.

He was also a multiple Champ Car champion and won races in a vast array of disciplines including oval races, dirt tracks and drag strips. His 12 career Grand Prix wins hardly to justice to his vast skill, and he thoroughly deserves the award.

But what a pity all this has gone on more or less behind closed doors. Other motor racing championships have the sense to crown their new champion while the eyes of the world are trained on the final round.

Max Mosley, Mario Andretti, FIA Gala, 2007 | FIAThis year the FIA kept everyone waiting for weeks before settling the championship in a court room. They then took two days to throw out McLaren’s protest (against the finishing positions of the Williams and BMW cars) for technical reasons that many observers had expected from the moment the appeal was announced.

Almost seven weeks have passed since the final round of the championship. Would it not made sense to have done this a bit sooner while the rest of the world was paying attention?

Photos: FIA

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