Norway's Marit Strømøy became the first female powerboat racer to be named "Driver of the Year" at the 11th Union Internationale Motonautique Awards Ceremony, staged at Le Musée Olympique in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Saturday.
One of just two women to make the seven-driver short list, the 43-year-old from Sandefjord — the first woman to have won a Formula 1 race and who finished on the final podium of the 2019 UIM F1H2O World Championship — once again made sporting history by lifting the "Best Driver" trophy, having obtained the highest score in a social media poll and a vote by the UIM Council.
Strømøy made history by winning an F1 race in Sharjah, UAE, in 2015.
"It was a big surprise but I'm incredibly proud to be named Driver of The Year by the international federation," said Strømøy in a statement. "This means so much to me, my team, my sponsors and my family. Of course it's an honor to be considered a role model for female drivers in our sport; I've been racing for 30 years now and this will give the team a huge boost as we prepare for the new season."
The sport's "Junior Driver of the Year" title went to 11-year-old Estonian Ander Hubert Lauri, winner of both the 2019 UIM Aquabike Ski Juniors GP3.2 World and European Championships.
Around 200 VIP guests, featuring powerboating world champions as well as attendees from the worlds of sport, commerce, the boating industry and media, gathered for the first UIM Annual Awards to be held outside of its base in Monaco.
“To host the UIM Awards Giving Ceremony and Dinner in the Olympic capital is a great honor for us and we are delighted to see so many champions and distinguished guests join us for what is one of the highlights of our calendar," said UIM President Dr Raffaele Chiulli.