The prestigious Autosport Awards are held annually in December at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. Autosport readers vote for the winners, and the gala event is attended by prominent celebrities in the auto racing world. The 2011 event took place on Sunday 4 December, with Sebastian Vettel being awarded the title of International Racing Driver of the year for the second time in a row, making history for setting a new record of fifteen pole-positions during the season, as well as for being the youngest double Formula 1 champion.
At 24-years of age, Sebastian Vettel has shown remarkable talent and endurance on the racetrack. He flew in from Germany for the Autosport Awards, expressing his appreciation for the acknowledgement of his achievements. Following his 2010 victory, Vettel began the 2011 season as a favorite to win. After winning the opening Australian Grand Prix from pole position, fans were assured of an exciting season ahead – and were not disappointed, as Vettel finished the season with 392 points, being a full 122 points ahead of second-place winner, Jenson Button. Other award winners of the season included Alex Lynn as British Club Driver of the Year; Matt Neal as National Driver of the Year; Paul di Resta as Rookie of the Year; Sebastien Loeb as Rally Driver of the Year; and Jenson Button as British Competition Driver of the Year.
Because they are in the public eye, auto racing drivers garner plenty of attention, but there is a whole lot going on behind the scenes, and the Autosport Awards gives due recognition to these vital elements of the sport. Founder of Dallara Automobili, engineer Gian Paolo Dallara, was chosen to receive the John Bolster Award in recognition of his achievements in the sport. Dallara has a long history in the auto racing industry, having been a designer at Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini before founding his own design company and becoming one of the top designers in this field.
The Autosport Pioneering and Innovation Award was presented to Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Weeks for their movie tribute to Brazilian driver, Ayrton Senna. Entitled Senna the film has received critical acclaim as having revealed the human element behind the sport through the life story of the three-time F1 Champion who was killed at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994.
As the 2011 racing season has drawn to a close, plans for 2012 are already underway, with the strong possibility of many changes in Formula 1 racing venues and the assurance of plenty of action in the New Year.