Opening speech by Jean Todt, FIA President - FIA Conference in Monaco – 5 July 2021 | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

Opening speech by Jean Todt, FIA President - FIA Conference in Monaco – 5 July 2021

05.07.21

Your Highness, 
Dear Presidents, 
Dear Delegates, 
My dear Friends,

Let me express my satisfaction to be here with you in Monaco on the occasion of our 3rd joint Sport and Mobility Conference. After the Sport Regional Congress Africa in June, this is the first gathering of its kind to resemble normality since the beginning of the health crisis, and this is good news. Monaco and the ACM are very special to me…we started here in 2009 with my first Prize Giving as FIA President and today we are back for our final Conference, together.

For more than a year now we have been facing unprecedented challenges, but we have embraced them, with hope and determination. 

First, I’d like to thank you all for attending this important event, in person or remotely: Your Highness, you are a true friend of our sport. For years now, we have enjoyed your support as well as that of your wife Princess Charlene. I thank you for accepting to host our Conference under your Patronage. Monaco and Motor Sport has been a long-standing love story, as Michel Boeri, President of the Automobile Club de Monaco can attest. I thank him for his kind words, his help in the organisation of this Conference, and his unwavering commitment to our Federation and to motor sport. As the best testimony of this unique dedication, in 2021, Monaco has welcome 4 competitions: Rally Monte Carlo, Formula E, Historic race and the very expected come back of the Formula F1 Grand Prix.

I also salute the Presidents and managers of our ASNs, Mobility Clubs and ACNs, Graham Stoker, Thierry Willemarck, and finally, all the FIA departments involved into the preparation of this Conference. We number around 438 delegates from 169 clubs in 114 countries. And 169 have traveled from all over the world to be with us today in Monaco.  After all these months, seeing so many of you in person is a source of deep satisfaction. These challenging times could have drawn us apart, however, together, we have demonstrated creativity and energy to tackle the situation. During this week, we will enjoy the participation of high-level speakers who will share their vision and experience with us. In addition, our Club and Commission Presidents and members will also contribute greatly to the success of the Conference by telling us about their best practices and expertise. Thank you for your time, your commitment and a warm welcome to all of you! Working hand in hand to ensure the continued health of motor sport and mobility worldwide is the most fruitful strategy. 

This Conference also gives us the opportunity to remember those from the FIA family who have unfortunately left us. A special thought for former FIA President, Max Mosley, who passed away in late May after a long illness. During his 16 years of presidency, he not only contributed to improving safety in motor sport but also transferred these efforts from the track to road. One of his other achievements was to make the voice of the FIA Member Clubs stronger, in particular, through the creation of the FIA office in Brussels. Max Mosley leaves a lasting legacy of positive change within the FIA family, motor sport and mobility. Please join me in holding a minute’s silence.

Over the next few days, we will join forces to take stock of the recent achievements and prepare the future in a period of great complexity. The Conference agenda has been tailored to reflect your interests. The crisis was an opportunity for us to reaffirm our solidarity and our collective will to increase the positive contribution of motor sport and mobility to society. And it has led us to the launch of the Purpose Driven movement with a special focus on 4 pillars “Health and Safety”, “Environment”, “Diversity & Inclusion”, “Community Development”. Today’s first dedicated session of the Conference will describe some of the initiatives and projects carried out under this banner. And as you know, clubs can now present their stories on our fia.com website. I would like to mention here the E&Y Parthenon report on the economic contribution of motor sport to society that will be unveiled tomorrow. Its conclusion: per year, Motor Sport can inject 160 Billion euros into the World economy and create over 1.5 million paid jobs. Another achievement and concrete example of our positive contribution to broader society: our FIA Disabled Motoring website in collaboration with the International Transport Forum (ITF) that has been recently launched. We are committed to ensuring that disabled drivers have the information they need to safely and confidently reach their destination. I strongly believe that the FIA, as a leading International Federation, has a role model to play in the fight against discrimination. Non-discrimination is the point where Diversity and Inclusion connects to the wider human rights agenda. For this reason, we have commissioned external experts who will present us with their recommendations.  

A word now on our Youth strategy. There are 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 to 24 years in our world. 90% of them live in low- and middle-income countries. And they have a significant role to play in the growth of motor sport and the shift towards more sustainable mobility. Our ambition is to develop a programme enabling the FIA and its members to interact, understand and build a connection with the younger generation. They represent our future. I am thus pleased to confirm that this is part of both World Councils’ agenda here in Monaco and I look forward to the closing session of the Conference “Youth Engagement: The Next Decade of Action”. 

Together, we will design solutions for the future through debates and sessions led by our talented moderators: Edie Lush et James Allen. Please attend and participate as actively as possible. It will be an opportunity to grow and develop through collaboration. 

For the past 17 months, the FIA has been relentless in providing support and assistance in all the possible ways. Our common objective is that all clubs return to some kind of normalcy with the help of many projects across both our pillars – such as the Sport Clubs Development Programme, the Mobility Worldwide Programme – both supported by the FIA Innovation Fund (FIF). As far as sport is concerned, while in 2020 we managed to restart motor sport despite the circumstances, 2021 is so far a good vintage year thanks to the great work and enthusiasm of all the stakeholders. The procedures put in place by the FIA and all the stakeholders – notably our ASNs, the Championships promoters - demonstrate our reactivity and reinforce the importance of our sport.

If most of our Championships have resumed, let’s be realistic : from one competition to another, from place to place, individual circumstances vary enormously, and some of our Members are still looking forward to seeing the recovery from the crisis. On a positive note, spectators are more and more numerous, and I cannot wait to see the stands full of fans again.

As a family, it was essential to remain connected with each other. For that, we have provided you with new training programmes, eLearning platforms and webinars. Thanks to guidelines and grants funding, we support you in the development of various activities. For years now, in line with our sport strategy, we are committed to strengthening our members, attracting more participants, developing regulations that are widely implemented, evolving our portfolio of Championships and working with our partners to innovate for the benefit of our sport and our society.

Motor sport should always be more accessible, affordable, diverse, environmentally sustainable and safe. To achieve this, we have developed through the FIA Innovation Fund, a female talent detection and development programme - the FIA Girls on Track–Rising Stars. We have defined a FIA Environmental Strategy – let me here salute President Calderon who has traveled from Mexico to be with us today - and a FIA Accreditation Programme, to tackle the climate change challenge. The FIA and its partners are continuously working to reduce our carbon footprint. We have also put in place a FIA Karting Strategy to attract new generations of drivers.

We also want to make motorsport, and the FIA, more relevant thanks to:

  • The further development of the energy portfolio strategy of our Championships,
  • partnerships with International institutions such as the UN, IOC, FIFA, IFRC,
  • the development of the new technologies’ roadmap and of sustainable fuels.

Moreover, we wish to make motor sport more financially viable. To this end, we have, among other things: 

  • signed the new Concorde Agreement between FIA, F1 and all ten F1 teams, 
  • introduced financial regulations including the cost cap for F1 and soon FE, 
  • changed the Formula E World Championship status from the 2020/21 season,
  • renewed the promotion agreements for FIA World Endurance, World Rallycross, Touring Car Cup, Karting Championships, 
  • created a new FIA World Championship status for Cross-Country rallying.
  • And provided ASNs with grassroots guidelines which will help you to attract new members or licence holders…

That couldn’t have been possible without the contribution of our Commissions and the FIA administration and I thank them for that. 2021 is a year for consolidation and acceleration of everything that we have been doing to ensure Motor Sport a bright future. 

For its part, during this challenging time, the Mobility team has been supporting its Clubs in all possible ways. The purpose of the Mobility Worldwide Programme - born at the beginning of the crisis - was rescoped to help clubs survive, re-bound and grow. A total number of 55 Mobility Clubs worldwide have actively contributed to this project by sharing best practices, requesting support and participating in the Business Diversification programme. Also, from April to June 2021: PurposeDriven Club Working groups were organised to actively promote Club initiatives and facilitate exchanges of experience across the network.  26 Clubs participated and I congratulate them for their leadership. Moreover, from March 2021 to March 2022, 115 delegates participated in the FIA University programmes available online. From now on, more programmes are reopening, such as the Emerging Leaders Programme that will take place next October in Barcelona.

Regarding road safety, I am extremely happy to see the many developments of our FIA Safe & Affordable Helmet programme. This game changing initiative facilitates the deployment of a motorcycle helmet that meets UN safety standards, is comfortable in hot and humid climates, and is available at a target price of around 20 USD. Kenya is positioning itself as the starting point for this ambitious initiative. I had the pleasure of attending the launch event 2 weeks ago in Nairobi alongside President Kenyatta, Dr Amina Mohammed, and Minister Laszlo Palkovics from Hungary, Mobility & Sports Clubs from Kenya, the FIA Foundation, local NGO’s etc. This programme is key for demonstrating the collaboration between Motor sport and Mobility to improve road safety, thanks to Motor Sport Innovation & Mobility Advocacy. And our objective is obviously to distribute as many helmets possible all over the world in order to save lives. For that we need the generosity of partners such as the Keep Fighting Foundation. I count on you to promote the FIA Safe and Affordable Helmet programme in your respective countries. By doing so, you will participate in the protection of your fellow citizens on the roads. I strongly encourage you to visit the exhibition booth next door. 

The post Covid-19 reality embraces various modes of transport on our streets, in particular individual mobility such as two wheelers, e-scooters etc. More than ever, urban roads are shared between users: being aware of the dangers and behaving responsibly has become a top priority. On that topic, the FIA has launched a new visual “Share the road” as part of the #3500LIVES campaign. And I commend all the Clubs that have promoted this new road safety communication tool.

Let me now mention tourism, a sector of activity that has suffered greatly in the crisis. As we are cautiously reopening borders, we have to take into account behavioural changes and shifting expectations of the modern traveler. Safety, information about access conditions, border crossing tools that minimize human interactions are key. And this is precisely what the FIA has been working on, through the rollout of the VIAFIA platform to all mobility clubs. And through the digitization of the Carnet de Passages en Douane system in partnership with the UNECE and World Customs Organization. 

At the FIA, our major ambitions are to ensure a sustainable future for motor sport, to promote mobility and road safety, and to enhance our influence through our contribution to broader society. As always, they will guide us throughout the next months as well as in the upcoming three days of exchanges.

Dear Friends, 

You have done and continue to do a great job. A Japanese proverb says: fall 7 times, stand up 8. That is what you have been doing. Resilience and determination are our common values. We must stick to them to overcome obstacles. You know it: the best defence against adversity is a good offence. Proactivity is our best path to sustainability. 2021 is a special year. I can assure you of my full commitment and that of my team and administration to amplify and accelerate all the FIA achievements for your benefit. I am really looking forward to spending time with you, it has been too long since we all met together… Thank you very much. 

Long Live the FIA. Long Live Sport and Mobility.

I now declare this Joint Conference open.