November 28, 2022

How F1 Plans To Honor The Queen’s Death

When Queen Elizabeth II died at the age of 96 on September 8, 2022, there was a global outcry of grief for the woman who was the longest-serving monarch in the history of England. “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow,” the royal family said in a statement, per CNN. The announcement set off a massive wave of tributes and condolences from around the world. Heads of state, British politicians, entertainers, and other notables expressed their sadness at the death of the queen who reigned for 70 years.

However, for all the expected commemorations of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, there were also some surprising tributes, as well. Formula One racing was among the first in sports to issue a statement expressing condolences to the royal family. “Formula 1 mourns the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” said Formula 1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali, per Sports Illustrated. “For more than seven decades she dedicated her life to public service with dignity and devotion and inspired so many around the world. Formula 1 sends its deepest condolences to the Royal Family and to the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.”

Formula 1 will honor Queen Elizabeth twice

For teams racing in the Italian Grand Prix on September 9-12, 2022, at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, there will be a brief memorialization for Queen Elizabeth at the competition. A one-minute of silence is planned ahead of the first practice session, and another is expected to be held on the grid prior to the race on Sunday, per The Race. “Motor sport, and especially Formula 1, has its heart in the United Kingdom, and the Royal Family has over the years given great support and patronage to the sport,” said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, president of FIA, one of the main governing bodies in motor racing (via Eurosport). “For this we thank them, and those events taking place around the world this weekend will undoubtedly be undertaken in honour of her Majesty.”

For others in the racing world, the F1 moment of reflection is a gesture of respect for the queen’s longevity and mission as head of state across seven decades. “We remember the light she shone across the world; the people she brought together; the many lives she touched,” said Aston Martin executive chairman Lawrence Stroll, per Sports Illustrated. “We remember, too, her sense of duty — an unfailing devotion both to the United Kingdom and to the Commonwealth. Hers was a life lived beyond self. United in grief, we remember her great life — long in years and huge in achievement.”

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Queen Elizabeth was with Formula 1 from the beginning

Before Queen Elizabeth II even ascended to the throne, she had already begun a relationship with Formula One racing. In 1950, the first F1 race was held at Silverstone, England. Officially, the race was the Grand Prix d’Europe. But in a nod to the hosting country, the championship became known as the British Grand Prix. According to the Formula One website, 120,000 spectators surrounded the track. A special stand with a canopy was built for several important guests: King George VI, his wife Queen Elizabeth, the future Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret, and the Lord and Lady Mountbatten. Per F1, this inaugural race was the only occasion that a reigning monarch attended a British race.

It’s not clear whether or not Queen Elizabeth was hooked on the sport from the beginning, but that 1950 race was the first in a series of connections for her and racing. For decades, the queen was close friends with Jackie Stewart (pictured above), the F1 racing legend known as “The Flying Scot” for his three world championships between 1965 and 1973. In 2001, Queen Elizabeth knighted Stewart for his career in racing, per Voice of America. However, the queen’s old friend isn’t the only F1 racer who has been knighted. More recently, British F1 driver Lewis Hamilton was knighted in the 2021 New Year Honours by Prince Charles after receiving the MBE from the queen in 2019, according to People.