ABU DHABI - Friday, March 30, 2012 - The world's most exciting sport on water, the UIM F1 H2O World Championship, continues to thrill race fans from around the world, thanks in part to it's great, colorful and highly talented list of past World Champions over the last four decades.
Many of these remarkably talented individuals are still very active in the sport and continue to offer their expertise and knowledge long after having called an end to their F1 career.
In the past twenty years there has been seven different World Title holders with five of these drivers having stepped down from the sport.
Italian Fabrizio Bocca captured the 1992 World Championship reaching the podium in four of the seven races that season and went on to start 144 Grand Prix's winning twice before retiring after the 2007 season.
Since that time Fabrizio has gone on to help other young drivers establish a foothold in the sport by acting as Team Owner over the past few years. When he's not keeping a close eye on F1 he can be found enjoying his second love, amateur motorcycle racing, when he has a spare moment.
Guido Cappellini put his mark on the sport more than any other individual in his 22 years of competing. Despite not winning a race for the first five years of his F1 career, Guido went on to win a record breaking 62 Grand Prix's in his 131 starts over his two decades of driving winning a remarkable 36% of his starts throughout his career.
The driver from Monaco has shifted his attention to another waterborne sport as he currently races in the UIM Class-1 Offshore Series driving his Poliform sponsored boat along with throttle man Gian Maria Gabbiani of Italy for DAC Racing.
Despite his attention to the Class-1 offshore series, Guido, continues to remain focused on F1 currently building the defending World Champion Alex Carella's DAC boat. Add to that new teammate Shaun Torrente of the USA for the Qatar Team, five different drivers ran his Como, Italy based DAC boat in the 20 driver line-up for this past month's Grand Prix of Qatar in Doha.
Another ex-World Champion who stopped Guido in his tracks in the late 1990's by winning the title in his rookie season of 1997 and later four more times in the next nine years was the American driver Scott Gillman.
This "laid back" Californian from Los Angeles, holds the all-time record for reaching the podium in 55 of the 60 races he finished in his career for a almost impossible record breaking percentage of almost 92% in the top-3.
Scott, who was forced to retire from full time racing in 2007 for medical reasons, has been the long time Racing Manager of the highly regarded Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) based in Abu Dhabi. His responsibilities are to coordinate the various race events that the club presides over while at the same time run the highly successful Team Abu Dhabi F1 organization working with talented local drivers Ahmed Al Hameli and Thani Al Qamzi.
Multi-time World Champion Jonathan Jones of Wales continues to dedicate himself to the sport despite giving up the drivers seat over a decade ago after the 2000 season. Today, "JJ" believes in his idea of building a better Grand Prix boat and has recently finished his new DRAGON design hull that is expected to make its appearance at the next Grand Prix in June.
The ex-driver from Cardigan has a long list of talented pilots who have run his boats with current F1 veteran Duarte Benavente of the Portuguese Atlantic Team racing his current designed hull.
Jonathan, when outside his race workshop, is also staying very busy as Director of Advertising for the very popular Raceboat International magazine based out of England working with long time friend and magazine head David Sewell.
At the Grand Prix weekends, Jonathan also acts as the Color Analyst for the worldwide television broadcasts. He joins longtime partner and host Stephen "The Voice" Michael who is a 27 year veteran of the sport from America. This duo, which has been together for almost a decade, adds both technical analysis combined with fun and excitement to the races through their broadcasts which can be followed also on the official website at www.f1h2o.com.
Two-time champion Sami Selio and newly crowned Alex Carella of Italy continue to race. Sami has put together a great starter program series for up and coming young racers in his native Finland that is really starting to pay off. His new F1 teammate in 18 year-old Filip Roms came up through Selio's program with more excellent talent rising to the surface in this Scandinavian country.
Finally, one of the most recent retirees of the circuit and one of the most popular drivers on the circuit for the past six years, 2008 World Champion Jay Price from Louisiana, is looking towards promoting races in his city near New Orleans at a local as well as a global level in the near future.
In the 32 years since the start of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship dating back in 1981, there have been 12 different world title holders and the popular consensus of all these special individuals has been that they have never forgotten how long a road it takes and where they came from to reach the goal of World Champion.
Now these special individuals are thanking and giving back in their own way now that their racing days are over.
So far, they've all been World Champions after their careers as well and don't expect it to change for this very special sport in the near future.
Be In The Know - With F1 H2O!
|Thani Al Qamzi||14|
|Ahmed Al Hameli||14|
|UIM F1H2O World Championship|
|UAE||Abu Dhabi||Nov 21|
|UIM Nations Cup|
|date and venue could be changed|
|Middle East (Doha, Qatar)|
|02||Philippe Chiappe||+ 10.32 secs|
|03||Sami Selio||+ 14.77 secs|