Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has paid tribute to 1961 world champion Phil Hill who died on Thursday after battling with Parkinson’s disease.
Hill was the only American-born Formula One driver to have won the world championship. He did so in 1961, fittingly, for Ferrari, the team he debuted with and famously won the hearts of after letting team-mate Mike Hawthorne past at the 1958 Moroccan GP to take the world championship.
Montezemolo said in a statement after it was announced of Hill’s death: “I, as well as all employees of Ferrari, am 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 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.”
Hill made 48 Grand Prix starts in Formula and one three. Two of those wins came at Monza, where he won the hearts of minds of the adoring Tifosi. He went on to have success in endurance racing and won the Le Mans 24 Hours three times. He remained throughout his life much loved in Maranello.