Michael Schumacher "would feel honoured" by his induction into the FIA Hall of Fame last night, writes Stephen Barry.
The Formula 1 governing body inaugurated its Hall of Fame by inducting all 33 of its world champions in a Paris ceremony. Nine were in attendance, although the absence of one champion in particular hung over proceedings.
Schumacher, now aged 48, suffered a severe head injury in a December 2013 skiing fall. He was in a medically-induced coma for six months to reduce swelling in his brain.
Since September 2014, he has been cared for at home and his condition has remained a private matter.
The presentation for Schumacher was made to Sabine Kehm, his long-time manager, while FIA President Jean Todt, who recruited Schumacher to join his Ferrari team, also paying tribute to the most successful driver in F1 history.
"We miss Michael. He's there, still fighting. I'm happy to have Sabine here, to run the family business," said Todt, as reported by F1i.
"I wanted [his son] Mick to come tonight but he's doing some testing in Spain and [his wife] Corinna is in the States.
"A fight is going on. Michael is someone very special, someone special for motorsport. He's special to me, he's a friend."
Schumacher achieved seven world titles and 91 race wins between his 1991 debut and 2006. He made a three-year comeback from 2010 to 2012 with Mercedes.
"I'm just a poor replacement this evening. We all know Michael should be here. I'm sure he would love to be here," said Kehm.
"He always had the highest respect for everyone in this room. He would feel honoured. I also know how big a friend Michael is of Jean. I'm sure he would be proud of him for making this possible.
"I don't think it was only discipline that made him so special, I think what made him so successful was the love and compassion with everyone else in the room, the love and passion for this sport."