Honda website
Honda website

DECEMBER 30, 2001

Who deserves to be honored?

BRITISH HONOURS are awarded on merit, for exceptional achievement or service. In recent years the rise of the British motorsport industry has drawn the sport into the spotlight and this has been reflected by several awards made to high-profile racing and rallying people. In the past these were restricted to those running successful racing businesses, notably March Engineering's Robin Herd (created a CBE in 1986) and Lola founder Eric Broadley (MBE in 1991). Other awards went to the high-profile drivers but a new wave of awards started in January 1999 when Frank Williams was knighted for his services to the sport. In January 2000 Stirling Moss received a similar accolade and John Cooper was recognized for his lifelong services to the sport with a CBE. In June that year Ron Dennis of McLaren also became a CBE. This was followed by Jackie Stewart's knighthood in June 2001.

The question now is who is left who deserves recognition for exceptional achievement in the motorsport world. One could argue that Adrian Reynard should perhaps receive some recognition but one unspoken rule of the honors is they are rarely given to those who do not pay British taxes. One would expect this year that England's first World Rally Champion Richard Burns will be recognized. It is also possible that David Richards will be recognized for his services to the sport via his successful Prodrive company and more recently for his work in the WRC. Sid Watkins is also a man who could be recognized for his services to safety in racing.

Patrick Head stands out in F1 as a man who has achieved an enormous amount without much in the way of official recognition and if retrospective awards are on offer John Barnard would certainly stand out as a possible recipient although engineers rarely get much recognition unless they establish successful production businesses.

There are, of course, two men who remain unrecognized by the British government: Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone. Mosley's work in racing and road safety has been hugely successful and it is inevitable that he will eventually be rewarded for that. Ecclestone also deserves some recognition (if only for his tax bills) but the problems between the F1 boss and British Prime Minister Tony Blair some years ago have always mitigated against him - whether it is fair or not.