Mario Andretti, one of the most successful and accomplished drivers in the history of motor racing, was awarded the FIA Gold Medal for Motor Sport at the FIA Gala prize-giving ceremony in Monaco. Andretti is the fourth recipient of this award since it was launched in 2004 and joins a prestigious list alongside Sir Stirling Moss and Michael Schumacher.
The FIA Gold Medal, which was presented to Andretti in a VIP pre-awards ceremony at the Monaco Sporting Club in the presence of His Serene Highness Prince Albert of Monaco, is awarded to an individual that, either through exceptional success, or outstanding effort, has made a substantial contribution to motor racing. The recipient is selected by the FIA Academy, which is made up of eight senior members of the FIA and its national automobile clubs.
Mario Andretti said: "I was full of pride when I learned I would be the recipient of the FIA Academy gold medal. This is a relatively new award but carries an extremely high level of prestige in motor sport and I'd like to thank the FIA Academy for acknowledging my part in racing history.
"To receive this gold medal 13 years after my retirement from the sport offers me a wonderful opportunity for reflection. Everyone knows that racing was my work, but also the absolute joy in my life. And it is the ultimate compliment to receive the gold medal, with the FIA Academy members looking back at my years in racing and finding them meaningful and worthy of recognition."
Max Mosley, FIA President, said: "Mario Andretti is one of motor racing's true legends and is thoroughly deserving of this award. He is perhaps the ultimate multi-discipline driver who has achieved success in every area that he has competed. No-one in the history of motor sport has had a career as long and as triumphant."
Andretti is the only driver ever to have won the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500 and the FIA Formula One World Championship, a record which looks set to stand for some years to come. He won the Champ Car National Championship four times and was a three-time winner at Sebring. He won races in sports cars, sprint cars and stock cars, competing on ovals, road courses, drag strips, on dirt and on pavement. He won at virtually every level of racing during a career that stretched five decades.
He was competitive through all of those years. He was named Driver of the Year in three different decades (the 60s, 70s, 80s), Driver of the Quarter Century (in the 90s) and the Associated Press named him Driver of the Century in January, 2000.
Picture: Copyright FIA