FIA president Jean Todt paid an emotional tribute to Michael Schumacher yesterday in Paris, insisting his close friend and F1 legend is still fighting on.
Formula 1's governing body inaugurated yesterday its Hall of Fame and celebrated the induction of Grand Prix racing's 33 world champions.
Nine world champions attended the event while representatives and families of other winners also gathered for the evening.
Todt insisted that Michael Schumacher's absence from the distinguished assembly of past and present champions was sadly felt.
"We miss Michael," said Todt. "He's there, still fighting. I'm happy to have Sabine here, to run the family business.
"I wanted [son] Mick to come tonight but he's doing some testing in Spain and [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."
Sabine Kehm, Schumacher's loyal assistant, was the great champion's official representative at the ceremony.
"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."