The FIA officially crowned its 2006 World Champions at a gala ceremony in Monaco. The ceremony culminated in the presentation of an FIA Gold Medal for Motor Sport to Michael Schumacher, the recently retired seven-time Formula One world champion.
Michael Schumacher said:
"I have received a huge amount of joy and pleasure from motor sport. To all of you and all of the people everywhere I really want to express my thanks. I have had such a love for this sport, it doesn't need motivation. You do it as good as you can and luckily I have a lot of great people around me who have allowed me to achieve what we have achieved together."
The medal, which was the final presentation on stage in the Salle des Etoiles at the Monaco Sporting Club, is awarded to an individual that, either through exceptional success, or outstanding effort, has made a substantial contribution to motor racing. It was presented to Schumacher by FIA President Max Mosley and Formula One Management President Bernie Ecclestone.
Max Mosley said:
"It's a career that has never been equalled in the past and probably never will be in the future. In addition to his extraordinary achievements on the track I have to say Michael has helped us enormously with all sorts of work on road safety all over the world."
Bernie Ecclestone said:
"All sports need a superstar and Michael is a superstar. Michael's achievements speak for themselves so I don't really need to say anything more about them. But what they don't say is what a lovely guy Michael is and he is supported by a really lovely family. He's a lucky guy and I wish him all the best in the future."
The Gala event, attended by the major figures in world motor sport, also saw the presentation of the second consecutive FIA Formula One World Championship drivers' trophy to 25-year-old Fernando Alonso.
"This is my last official event with Renault and after a fantastic relationship now is the perfect point to finish, being World Champion again in both constructors' and drivers' championships. I feel very happy with my career with Renault and now I start a new challenge."
Alonso was joined on stage by Renault team boss Flavio Briatore, who received the trophy for winning the constructors' championship.
Briatore said: "This is the best. I am pleased for Renault, I'm pleased for the team and especially for the sport because it was good to see a very intense fight with Ferrari. It was a great season."
Trophies were also presented to the winners of the World Rally Championship (WRC), World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) and all the other FIA championships from karting to truck racing (see full prize list below).
As with Alonso, both the WRC and WTCC winning drivers were collecting their trophies for a second consecutive year.
WRC champion Sebastian Loeb said:
"To win the title is always a very nice moment for me, my co-driver and all the team. There was a lot of pressure before I won the championship but now it will stay a very good memory and hopefully I will win a few more in the future."
WTCC champion Andy Priaulx said:
"Its lovely to be back. To win two in a row is very special but in fact it is three in a row with the European Touring Car title as well. I'm enjoying this very much. It does get harder because everybody is after you and I think this year is a vintage year with so many drivers up for the title going into the last race."
2006 FIA PRIZE GIVING - List of Champions
FIA Academy Gold Medal
Michael Schumacher (GER)
FIA Formula One World Championship
1st: Fernando Alonso (SP)
2nd: Michael Schumacher (GER)
3rd: Felipe Massa (Brazil)
Formula One Promotional Trophies
Broadcaster: FOM TV
Promoter: Brazilian Grand Prix
FIA World Rally Championship
1st: Sébastien Loeb (FRA) / Daniel Elena (MON)
2nd: Marcus Grönholm (FIN) / Timo Rautiainen (FIN)
3rd: Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN)
FIA Junior World Rally Championship (for Drivers)
Driver: Patrick Sandell (SWE)
FIA Production Cars World Rally Championship (for Drivers)
Driver: Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QTR)
FIA World Touring Car Championship
1st: Andy Priaulx (GB)
2nd: Jörg Müller (GER)
3rd: Augusto Farfus (BRA)
FIA GT Championship
GT1 Drivers: Michael Bartels (GER) / Andrea Bertolini (ITA)
GT1 Team: Vitaphone Racing Team
GT1 Manufacturer: Aston Martin
GT2: Drivers: Jaime Melo (BRA)
GT2 Team: AF Corse
GT2 Manufacturer: Ferrari
GT3 Drivers: Sean Edwards (GB)
GT3 Team: Tech 9 Motorsport
FIA Alternative Energies Cup
Cup: Giuliana Mazzoni (ITA)
Manufacturer: Tanesini (ITA)
Category I: Ashiya University Research (JAP)
Category IIIA: Giuliano Mazzoni (ITA)
Category V + Calss 1: Luca Borella (ITA)
Category IV: Thomas Betti (ITA)
Category VI: Claudio Naldi (ITA)
FIA European Championship for Autocross Drivers
D1 Driver: Helmut Wild (GER)
D3 Driver: Petr Batros (CZE)
D3A Driver: Petr Turek (CZE)
Nation: Czech Republic
FIA European Drag Racing Championship
Top Fuel Driver: Hakan Nilsson (SWE)
Top Methonal Driver: Dave Wilson (GB)
Pro Stock Driver: Jimmy Alund (SWE)
Top Methanol Funny Car Driver: Ulf Leanders (SWE)
Pro Modified Driver: Urban Johansson (SWE)
FIA African Rally Championship
Patrick Emontspool (BEL) / Alain Robert (FRA)
FIA Middle East Rally Championship
Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QTR) / Chris Patterson (GB)
FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship
Cody Crocker (GB) / Ben Atkinson (GB)
FIA European Rally Championship
Giandomenico Basso (ITA) / Mitia Dotta (ITA)
FIA Karting World Championship for Drivers
1st: Davide Fore (ITA)
2nd: Michael Christensen (DK)
3rd: Sauro Cesetti (ITA)
Team: Tony Kart Racing Team (ITA)