FIA President Opening Speech at the 2023 FIA American Congress in Antigua Guatemala

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Dear Pedro, our Host and President of the Automóvil Club Guatemala,

Dear regional leadership team: Fabiana, Ricardo, Frank and Daniel,

Dear Carmelo, Tim, Robert, 

Dear Presidents and Delegates,

It is a pleasure to be here with you in this beautiful country. 

I am honoured to stand here as your President for my second FIA American Congress, and to see so many familiar faces after our successful Conference in Cordoba. 

First, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Automóvil Club Guatemala, and its President, Pedro Cofiño Ortega, for hosting this conference in the amazing city of Antigua Guatemala. 

We must also welcome the presence and support of the Guatemalan government, and the attendance of Transit Department Chief of the General Direction of the National Civil Police, Mr. Edgar René Mazariegos.

Furthermore, I thank the Mayor of Antigua Guatemala Mr. Victor Hugo Del Pozo, who graciously named me Distinguished Guest of Antigua Guatemala.

And Fabiana Ecclestone, our Vice President for Sport - South America. 

Daniel Cohen our Vice President for Sport - North America.

Frank Fotia, our Region III President and;

Riccardo Morales Rubio, our Region IV President.

Their backing has been instrumental in making this event possible.

This conference is a vital part of our mission to transform the FIA into a Member-driven organisation.

An organisation that empowers its regions and is becoming a knowledge-led federation. 

But, once again, I want to emphasise and make it clear that we, me and my Presidential team, and the FIA management team are here for you, to serve you.

Over the next three days, we will be exploring the links between sport and mobility, while also addressing important topics such as road safety and sustainability.

I am very happy to see that we have more than 84 Delegates from all over the Americas attending this Congress.

This impressive participation shows the active role played by the Americas within the FIA. 

It will give you an opportunity to learn from our experts and special guests who will be sharing their knowledge on various subjects.

The Congress will include keynote presentations on topics such as communication, empowering Sport Clubs and sustainable development, among others.

I am particularly looking forward to our session on Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion which will take place on Thursday.

We must demonstrate that sport and mobility are for everyone, regardless of their background. 

Also, if we want to enhance mobility, and double participation in motor sport, we must accelerate our efforts to improve diversity, and the Americas have a crucial role to play. 

We will also be privileged to hear from Dr Alex Guerra, a leading expert on climate change.

Now, turning our attention to motor sport, 
I must acknowledge the huge growth in interest that we have witnessed here in the Americas. 

In fact, an astounding 50% of hits on our website and social media platforms come from this region.

Whats even more encouraging is that most of these hits are from young people, including an increasing number of women.

This is good news, and we need to capitalise on this momentum.

In this regard, I am proud to announce the launch of a new funding project during this week.

At the FIA, we firmly believe in listening to our Clubs, and that is why we are introducing new Regional Town Hall Virtual meetings.

These meetings will provide a platform for clubs to share best practices and exchange ideas. 

In our Manifesto we promised to boost our direct support to the regions.
I am happy to announce the nomination of Renato Correa, to be your first ever Regional Support Coordinator for the Americas.

His mission will be to strengthen our commitment to support and assist Clubs in this region. 

Building on the success of our 'Motorsport in a Box' initiative, which received excellent feedback from our Members, we will soon be making it available to clubs in your region.

I am also glad to announce that the first ever Motorsport Engineering Masters Scholarship from Cranfield University has been awarded to Jessica Salvini from Argentina.

This is a great opportunity for her to pursue her dreams in motor sport.

We have our new successful FIA Immersion programme, and a new grant scheme will be launched soon. I ask all your Clubs to get involved in these great initiatives. 

Looking ahead, we have several exciting events on the horizon.

The first Asia Pacific Motorsport Championship and MENA Karting Cup are just the beginning.

I encourage us all to explore the possibility of hosting similar types of events right here in the Americas.

We have also launched the FIA University Certificate in Motorsport Leadership and Management. 

We had a great engagement, with over 45 people enrolling on the FIA University website, and we have no doubt the numbers will increase in the coming weeks.

Now let's focus on mobility. 

I am pleased to announce that we have provided support for projects in Regions III and IV, with a significant amount of funds allocated to the deployment of the FIA School Assessment Toolkit.

As many of you may recall, we had a successful demonstration of this programme in Cartagena last year. 

As an organisation, we have a responsibility to play a leading role in fighting climate change.

We must be part of the solution, not the problem. 

I commend the Clubs in this region who have engaged with the Life Cycle Assessment initiative.

I specifically want to recognise the efforts of the Clubs from Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, Mexico, and Guatemala in this area.

It is because we want to leave a better planet for future generations, that we have made youth empowerment one of the key objectives in our Manifesto.

As part of this commitment, we are conducting new market research on "Youth & Mobility" in nine selected countries, including Mexico and Argentina. 

Additionally, we aim to help our Clubs realise their full business potential.

Our One Road FIA-led rewards program will bring new business opportunities to the FIA Regions.

I am pleased to announce that the CAA has confirmed its participation in One Road by the end of 2024. 

As a first step, we will organise an information session for South American Clubs shortly after this Congress.

Finally, I would like to, once again, underline the importance of our commitment to becoming a knowledge-led federation. 

To achieve this, we have reformed the FIA University. 
The FIA University Region IV Programme will be delivered in Spanish.

All of our programmes are excellent opportunites for Clubs to build their capacity and develop their future leaders, and I strongly encourage your staff to apply.

Now, I would like to speak about a very serious and concerning issue: online abuse.

Online abuse is a problem that sadly faces all. That is why the FIA is going to tackle it head on. 

In Cordoba, I announced the creation of six Masters by research scholarships, in partnership with the FIA University Programme. 

Information in Spanish and English has been sent to Clubs on how to apply, and I encourage your members to do so. 

We must also thank our friends in the FIA Foundation who provided us with support.

Working together with you, we are identifying cross-regional initiatives where your Clubs share similar goals  such as road safety, sustainability and affordability of mobility and motor sport. 

Giving Clubs the power to make their own decisions is at the heart of regional empowerment. 

I am very happy that Regions III & IV are going work together in this American Congress to define a regional approach for long term impact on road safety.


The next three days promise to be filled with engaging discussions and fruitful exchanges. 

Together, let's combine the power of sport with the power of mobility, to create a safer, greener, and more inclusive world. 

I am confident of the future of the FIA in the Americas.

Thank you for your attention.

I now declare the 2023 FIA American Congress open.