Powering Sporting Progress Through Innovation


The recent launch of the fourth edition of the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars programme reasserts the Federation’s goal to increase female participation in motor sport, a commitment that took centre stage in the pledge to join the European Commission’s #HealthyLifestyle4All campaign that was signed by FIA CEO Natalie Robyn at the first ever EU Sport and Innovation Summit.

Held at the European Commission’s headquarters in Brussels, the EU Sport and Innovation Summit was the occasion for Robyn to highlight the role of motor sport in driving progress towards more safety, sustainability, diversity, equality and inclusion and to sign, with European Commission Vice President Margaritas Schinas, the FIA’s pledge to join the #HealthyLifestyle4All campaign and increase female participation in motor sport through the FIA Girls on Track Programme. 

Leading with Innovations

Along with President of European Aquatics Antonio José Silva and Chief of Technology and Innovation of La Liga Miguel Angel Leal, FIA CEO Natalie Robyn took part in the first panel of the Summit entitled "Above and beyond: New frontiers for top performance in sport through innovation" moderated by European Commission DG EAC’s Director for Culture and Sport Georg Haüssler.

Asked about how the Federation is supporting innovation for its drivers, Robyn highlighted that the safety quest is at the heart of the FIA’s missions and that the Federation must show initiative and creativity to reduce injuries and fatalities in motor sport while maintaining exciting competition. 

“The innovation within the FIA, it's mostly around safety,” she said. “Every single incident that occurs in any championship or really in any motor sport activity, we look within our safety and our research department, we look for the root cause and we see what types of adaptations can be made in the future for preventing accidents and incidents like this. And this is really where you see a lot of innovations.”

She explained that the FIA delivers these innovations through consultation with its Commissions gathering drivers, championship and FIA Member representatives, research through its Safety Department and eventually through strict sets of regulations that all competitors, manufacturers and teams must follow.

This wide array of stakeholders involved contributes to fostering new challenges for the Federation which is constantly seeking new solutions and innovations. For Robyn, it nurtures improvements and adaptation: “Usually in these Commissions’ meetings a consensus is reached on which direction we go, on how we establish the next steps and we decide on innovation. Or, the manufacturers come in and say we're really interested in speed with electrification. So we start to set the limitations and we start to talk about the future of electric technology.”

Robyn underlined the specificity of motor sport which has the power to ignite the development of innovations that change everyday life and talked about how many safety equipment actually come from motor sport. 

As both the governing body of global motor and the federation of the world’s leading Mobility Organisations, the FIA is a key actor in facilitating that transfer. Highlighting how the FIA is fostering innovation in the field of sustainable energies, Robyn gave the example of the FIA ABB Formula E World Championship: “Many of you have seen probably in Formula E that it has been a showcase for electrification which cascades into the whole industry as well.”

Breaking Barriers

The challenge of reaching new audiences and driving more people into motor sport was also emphasised. “We talk about accessibility to motor sport and that's something that's really important for our federation. We want the sport to be accessible for a diverse audience. We want to double motor sport participation. We want more people to follow it, to love the sport, to see it in a competitive but safe environment. That includes people from places outside of Europe as well. It also includes more women coming into motor sport,” Robyn said.

That assertion reflected the engagement taken as part of the “Breaking Barriers” pledge that the FIA CEO signed to join the #HealthyLifestyle4All campaign.

The #HealthyLifestyle4All campaign, that was launched by the European Commission in 2021, relies on the collection of pledges by the civil society to carry out an initiative, activity or campaign to promote healthy lifestyles for all, across generations and social groups. It focuses on three pillars. 

The FIA’s pledge is the 100th pledge of the campaign and supports the second pillar of the campaign on “Better access to sport, physical activity and healthy diets, with special focus on inclusion and non-discrimination to reach disadvantaged groups.”

With the pledge, the FIA committed to easier access to sport with a special focus on inclusion and non-discrimination through FIA Girls on Track which fosters the participation of young women in motor sport, reduces barriers, promotes good practices including health and safety, and changes perceptions to inspire the next generation of female motor sport athletes.

To turn words into action, the FIA has just launched the fourth edition of the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars programme. Carried out in collaboration with the Ferrari Driver Academy and supported by Iron Dames, the programme aims to detect and nurture the female racing talent of the future. It offers the best 12-16 years old female drivers from around the world a unique opportunity to forge a professional career in motor sport.

Read our full #HealthyLifestyle4All pledge here.