It has been announced with tremendous sadness that America’s first Formula One world champion, Phil Hill, has passed away this evening in California. At a grand age of 81, Phil had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease and finally gave up the fight after a long struggle. Hill had become the first and to date only American-born driver to win the F1 title when in 1961, he lifted the crown and brought a smile to Enzo Ferrari’s face.
Despite only winning three races in his 48-event career in Formula One, Hill was much loved by the paddock and fans alike. Even though Phil didn’t reach the pinnacle of motor sport until quite late in comparison to others, once there he made the best of it and would often combine his duties in single-seaters with the Le Mans 24 Hours race in France. Hill won the endurance race three times before finally hanging up his overalls for the last time in 1967.
Phil Hill is survived by his wife Alma, his son Derek, his two daughters Vanessa and Jennifer and his four grandchildren.