Paris, Wednesday 6 December 2017 – On Friday the world of motor sport will gather at the iconic Château de Versailles, France for the 2017 FIA Prize-Giving Ceremony and the crowning of this season’s champions. Rolex continues to support this prestigious annual event, which provides a chance for drivers, teams and officials from the motor sport family to celebrate success, innovation and dedication to the sport. The Swiss watch brand’s commitment to motor sport globally embodies a shared pursuit of excellence and a desire to continually push the boundaries of engineering and human endeavour. This mutual quest is further highlighted by Rolex’s new relationship with the FIA Hall of Fame, which was launched in Paris earlier this week to commemorate motor racing’s most famous names of the past and present.
2017 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP™
This year’s major technical changes heralded a new era of Formula 1®, making the sport faster and more spectacular than ever for audiences around the world. Sebastian Vettel started the season with victory at the 2017 FORMULA 1 ROLEX AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, marking the start of a close and epic battle between Scuderia Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. As predicted, neither team was able to dominate the 2017 FIA Formula One Drivers’ World Championship™ until Lewis Hamilton secured the first back-to-back victory of the season at the FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO HEINEKEN D’ITALIA 2017 and with it seized the Championship lead. As Formula 1® left Europe for Asia and the Americas, Lewis Hamilton continued to extend and protect his points advantage. Ultimately, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport secured their fourth consecutive FIA Formula One Constructors’ World Championship™ at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas in October. One week later, the chequered flag fell at the FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE MÉXICO 2017 and Lewis Hamilton became the 2017 FIA Formula One Drivers’ World Champion™ joining Alain Prost and Sebastian Vettel with four world titles.
2017 FIA WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP
The 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship, now in its sixth season, challenged man and machine across four continents as Rolex continued its partnership as an Official Partner and the Official Timepiece of the series. The heart of the competition beats around the Championship’s greatest event, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which truly embodies the qualities of perseverance, concentration and durability in extreme environments. This year, the raw emotion of the race played out trackside as Porsche secured its nineteenth victory and third successive triumph at Le Mans with the No.2 Porsche driven by Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley. The trio took victories in the following three races and secured the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship at the 2017 6 Hours of Shanghai, ahead of the season finale in Bahrain.
The end of the year is a time to reflect on the global motor sport season and the high calibre of racing continually on display. Sir Jackie Stewart, Rolex Testimonee and three-time FIA Formula One Drivers’ World Champion™, echoed these sentiments: “This season proved to be a standout year for Formula 1 and it was a privilege to see drivers at the top of their game apply themselves week in, week out. We witnessed some memorable racing up and down the grid. It was obvious that the drivers felt truly privileged to drive the impressive Formula 1 cars on such iconic tracks. It is an honour to be part of the Rolex family and have the opportunity to commemorate motor sport’s successes.”
Tom Kristensen, Rolex Testimonee, 2013 FIA World Endurance Champion and nine-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans said: “This year’s Le Mans was a captivating race and emphasized endurance racing’s intricate balance between resilience and race craft. For a racing driver, Le Mans and Rolex are the perfect match – the most elegant and prestigious watchmaker and the most mythical and legendary car race in the world. It is always important to take time to reflect on the year’s highlights but equally significant to look to the future as the teams and drivers prepare for the fresh challenges of the 2018-2019 FIA World Endurance Championship super season.”
For Rolex, the 2018 motor sport season starts on 27-28 January with the Rolex 24 AT DAYTONA, an event which remains at the core of endurance racing and is contested in Daytona, Florida, the birthplace of speed.
ROLEX AND MOTOR SPORT
Rolex’s close ties with motor sport date back to Sir Malcolm Campbell’s World Land Speed Record successes in the 1930s, when he became the first driver to break the 300-mph barrier at the wheel of his car Bluebird. Since then, Rolex’s presence in motor racing has grown steadily, supporting iconic endurance races such as the Rolex 24 AT DAYTONA, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA World Endurance Championship and since 2013, Rolex has partnered the pinnacle of motor sport, Formula 1®. The brand also has a global appreciation for classic car events steeped in elegance, beauty and tradition, including the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and Goodwood Revival.
ABOUT FORMULA 1®
Formula 1®, which began in 1950, is the world's most prestigious motor racing competition and is the world's most popular annual sporting series. In 2016 it was watched by 400 million unique television viewers from over 200 territories. The 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship™ runs from March to November and spans 20 races in 20 countries across five continents. Formula One World Championship Limited is part of Formula 1, and holds the exclusive commercial rights to the FIA Formula One World Championship™.
Formula 1 is a subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation (NASDAQ: LSXMA, LSXMB, LSXMK, BATRA, BATRK, FWONA, FWONK) attributed to the Formula One Group tracking stock.
Rolex, the Swiss watch brand headquartered in Geneva, enjoys an unrivalled reputation for quality and expertise the world over. Its Oyster and Cellini watches, all certified as Superlative Chronometers for their precision, performance and reliability, are symbols of excellence, elegance and prestige. Founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1905, the brand pioneered the development of the wristwatch and is at the origin of numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism invented in 1931. Rolex has registered over 400 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated and independent manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces in-house all the essential components of its watches, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Rolex is also actively involved in supporting the arts, sports, exploration, the spirit of enterprise, and the environment through a broad palette of sponsoring activities, as well as philanthropic programmes.
Virginie Chevailler, Rolex SA
+41 22 302 26 19
Emily Sitwell, Influence Sports & Media
+44 7739 109 878