Racing legend Phil Hill dies, aged 81
Phil Hill, the only American-born race driver to win the Formula One championship has died. He was 81 years old. Hill died at Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula of complications from Parkinson's disease.
Phil Hill entered Formula One in 1958 and quickly after was handed a Ferrari drive, which later allowed him to win the championship. Powered by a Ferrari 156, Hill won in 1961. Already in 1958, he won his first of three Le Mans victory, co-driving a Ferrari with Olivier Gendebien.
Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo could only confirm that Phil will be sorely missed: "I, as well as all employees of Ferrari are extremely saddened by the news of the passing of Phil Hill, a man and a champion who gave so much to Ferrari and who has always greatly represented the company's values inside and outside the racing track."
"Phil Hill raced and won many competitions both with prototype cars, like the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 12 Hours of Sebring, won three times each, as well as with F1 single seaters. With our car, Phil won the Formula One Championship title in 1961 as the first American-born to reach this result. Phil and I have always kept in touch throughout the years and I know I will miss his passion and love for Ferrari very much. My deepest sympathies are with his wife Alma and son Derek in this sad moment."
Described by friends and colleagues as reserved and genteel, Hill was a breath of fresh air in the international racing scene and finally inducted into the International Motorsport Hall of Fame in 1991.