Professor Sid Watkins - a pioneer of safety in Formula One for more than 30 years - has retired from his role as president of the FIA Institute.

2921 - Watkins retires from FIA role

Watkins, now 83, served as the FIA medical delegate from 1978 until 2004, helping to improve safety as well as saving lives on track such as when Mika Hakkinen crashed heavily at Adelaide in 1995. A close friend of Ayrton Senna, Watkins was appointed chairman of the FIA Expert Advisory Safety Committee in 1994 following Senna's death, and then took on the role of FIA Institute president when it was established in 2004.

He will remain as an honorary president of the Institute, and said that he was proud of his achievements over the last eight years.

"It has been an honour and a great pleasure to lead the Institute since its establishment," Watkins said. "I am very proud of our achievements and our plans for the future, both in terms of motorsport safety and sustainability. I look forward to continue making a modest contribution to these in my new capacity as honorary president."

FIA Institute Secretary General Richard Woods praised the work that Watkins has done.

"Sid's influence in motor sport is legendary," Woods said. "In everything he's done throughout his career, he has always been a leader in his field. He led the calls for improved safety throughout the 1980s and ever since has been the catalyst for its continuous development by the FIA and more recently by the Institute. Sid's legacy for the cause of safety in our sport is unique."

Watkins will be replaced by Professor GĂ©rard Saillant, who said: "I have learnt a great deal from working with Professor Watkins and I now look forward to progressing his work as the new President of the FIA Institute. We have made great strides in motor sport safety and sustainability but there is always more to do and I am as committed as ever to ensuring these important developments continue."