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F1 auction– Williams co-founder Patrick Head pays tribute to the pit-lane heroes
– Autographed F1 components under the RM Auctions hammer
– Paddock passes gifted by Bernie Ecclestone raise £10,000

Prestigious items of autographed, ‘money-can’t-buy’ Formula 1 memorabilia went under the hammer at last night’s Motor Sport magazine Hall of Fame ceremony at London’s Royal Opera House (29 January), raising £23,000 for the Grand Prix Mechanics Charitable Trust.

At a glittering, star-studded event that celebrated the achievements of four of motor racing’s most illustrious names – F1 World Champions Alain Prost and James Hunt, Isle of Man TT legend John McGuinness and engineering genius Ross Brawn – the vital contribution to their success by the sport’s unsung heroes was certainly not overlooked.

Several of the six special lots were donated by grand prix teams and included a number of original F1 car components. These lots included a 2009 Ferrari fuel hatch signed by Fernando Alonso and Stefano Domenicali, a 2012 Lotus hydraulic manifold bearing the signatures of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Räikkönen, a 2009 Red Bull wishbone signed by Adrian Newey as well as a 2013 Mercedes F1 final-drive gear. They all raised thousands of pounds.

But it was a signed Michael Schumacher shirt and a pair of exclusive F1 paddock passes and Paddock Club credentials for the 2014 British Grand Prix – the kindly latter donated by Bernie Ecclestone – that stood out raising £5,000 and £10,000 respectively.

The proceeds of the auction – compered by Max Girardo, managing director of RM Auctions Europe – will go to the Grand Prix Mechanics Charitable Trust, founded in 1987 by three-time F1 World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart to help former and current grand prix mechanics and their families in times of need. Patron of the trust Patrick Head was on-hand to lend his support.

“I’m sure today’s F1 mechanics are well looked after in the teams they are in, and if they have any health problems whilst they are working, I’m sure they are well covered by insurance, but the plain fact is that mechanics – like the rest of us – get older,” said the Williams Grand Prix co-founder, acknowledging the sport’s spannermen and women as the lifeblood of race teams.

“That’s where the Grand Prix Mechanics Charitable Trust is so fantastic, in looking after older members of the mechanic community, some of whom fall on difficult times health-wise or with family problems. The trust is about so much more than just financial provision; it offers crucial advice on how to deal with health and insurance problems and the like. When you’re young, it’s so easy to think you will never get old or encounter difficulties – but of course, that’s not the way things turn out…”

“It was a privilege for RM Auctions to be associated with such a fantastic evening in a room filled with some of the greatest names in motor sport,” added Girardo. “Our priority was to raise as much money as possible for a fantastic charity and it was wonderful to see people digging so deep to secure the unique lots that were on offer.”

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