his wikipedia page has been updated
In 1978 he met Bernie Ecclestone, at the time chief executive of the Formula One Constructors Association, who offered Watkins the position of official Formula One race doctor. Ecclestone had checked in for a medical problem and offered Watkins $35,000 a year for the entire season. Watkins had to pay airfaires, hotel bills, rental cars and all incidental expenses. Watkins accepted, and attended his first race at the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix. Outside of the Grand Prix weekends, he remained in his position as a neurosurgeon in London. His first day as the Safety and Medical Delegate, was at Brands Hatch to introduce himself to the drivers.
Initially, his appointment was met with hostility by some of the racing circuits, who saw his appointment as a way of monitoring their performance. At the time, medical facilities would sometimes consist of nothing more than a tent. At the 1978 Italian Grand Prix, Ronnie Peterson crashed heavily on the first lap, with the car catching fire. Fellow drivers Clay Regazzoni, Patrick Depailler and James Hunt pulled him from the wreckage but by the time Sid Watkins arrived at the scene, Italian police had formed a human wall to prevent people from entering the area. Watkins was initially stopped from assisting with the treatment and there was a long delay of approximately 18 minutes before an ambulance arrived to take Peterson to hospital, where he died the following day. Following the race, Watkins demanded that Ecclestone provide better safety equipment, an anaesthetist, a medical car and a medical helicopter (Medevac). All were provided at the next race in the USA. In addition, it was decided that the medical car containing Watkins would follow the racing cars for the first lap of the race in order to provide immediate help in the event of a first lap incident.