F1 drivers react to boxing legend Ali’s death


A number of Formula One drivers have taken to their social media channels to mourn the passing of boxing legend Muhammad Ali at the age of 74.

Considered as one of the greatest sports icon in recent history, Ali was born under the name of Cassius Clay in Louisville, Kentucky in 1942. He burst onto the international scene aged 18 by winning gold at the 1960 Summer Olympic Games in Rome in the light heavyweight category.

Clay further rose to prominence four years later when he upset Sonny Liston to become world heavyweight champion. Shortly after, he became Muhammad Ali after embracing and converting to Malcom X’s Nation of Islam.

Having refused to join the US Army to take part in the Vietnam War, Ali was stripped of his title in 1967 and lost several years of his prime until he was allowed to compete again in the early 1970s. While his boxing prowess secured him legions of fans, his vocal political activism also earned him many plaudits.

Ali's return was marked by a series of classic fights: the 1974 ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ where he re-claimed his heavyweight crown against a younger George Foreman, followed one year later by the ‘Thrilla in Manilla’ versus Joe Frazier.

Ali retired from boxing in 1981 and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease three years later. His public appearances had been limited ever since and included lighting the torch at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta or attending the 2003 Indy 500 (see picture above).