Double World Champion Fernando Alonso has been awarded the prestigious Autosport International Driver Of The Year Award at a ceremony in London on Sunday evening. Alonso missed out on the award last year, conceding to Kimi Raikkonen, but his second title after a season long battle with retiring Michael Schumacher was enough to mean the young Spaniard clinched it this time around.
Jenson Button picked up an award as well – British Competition Driver Of The Year – after winning his maiden victory at Hungary and finishing sixth the championship. Fernando’s future team mate Lewis Hamilton collected the Rookie Of The Year award following his spectacular debut season in the GP2 series, winning the title and a race seat at McLaren for 2007. Sir Jack Brabham won a trophy for his contribution to motorsport, as did French tyre supplier Michelin, who departed Formula One after the season finale in Brazil last October.
Carlos Reutemann was present at the ceremony, as was the BRDC President and former World Champion Damon Hill and ITVs lead commentator Martin Brundle. Fernando Alonso was not present, but Renault’s head of aerodynamics Dino Toso collected Alonso’s trophy, saying “Fernando is special. We’ve made him a world champion, and he has made us a world champion.” Toso’s car – the Renault R26 which powered Alonso to his title – also won the International Racing Car Of The Year after winning the constructors title at the hands of Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella.