FIA PRESIDENT MOHAMMED BEN SULAYEM’S SPEECH AT THE 2022 FIA ANNUAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY

FIA PRESIDENT MOHAMMED BEN SULAYEM’S SPEECH AT THE 2022 FIA ANNUAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Dear friends,

Welcome to Bologna and this beautiful hall.

Thank you all for coming.

First, a very special thank you to President Angelo Sticchi Damiani and our wonderful hosts the ACI.

Thank you also to the regional and national governments, and the city of Bologna for all their support.

Friends, when I was first elected, I promised to report on our progress.

Today I will do that.

We were elected on an ambitious plan, and we are working hard to deliver it.

Delegates, our initial job was clear.

We had to get the FIA back on track.

One of my first actions as President was to be transparent about the legal challenges we faced.

So, I am very happy to tell you that the HALO litigation has been resolved in a very positive way, safeguarding the future of the FIA, and I thank the legal team for all their hard work.

But this transparency had to go further. 

That is why we commissioned independent audits of our finances and governance which have shaped our plans for the future.

That means balancing the books and reforming the FIA to deliver more for its members.

And there is no better example of our drive to reform than the appointment of our first ever CEO.

Now, I must thank Carmelo Sanz de Barros, President of the FIA Senate for all his hard work. 

He has led this reform, helping to secure the future of the FIA.

Thank you, Carmelo.

Delegates, we all know the FIA is full of intelligent people with brilliant ideas.

That is why we are re-launching our FIA University programme to become a truly knowledge-led Federation.

Its research will help tackle challenges like climate change, online abuse and a lack of diversity.

It will partner with organisations and companies to deliver valuable learning for members in mobility and motorsport.

We have also launched a new Motorsport Engineering Scholarship, which will give a talented youth a once in a lifetime opportunity to start a career in motorsports.

And we have just delivered our first FIA Immersion programme. Six young people from different countries have just returned to their home clubs to share their knowledge.

Delegates, as we approach our 120th anniversary, we reflect on our rich history.

It is a legacy we must preserve.

To ensure this we have just launched our new e-library and archives, achieving another manifesto promise.

Moving forward, we must be sure that motorsport and mobility is appealing to all.

That is why we have taken steps to tackle online abuse by using artificial intelligence to clean up our social media.

Since we started using it in October, it has instantly blocked 2,400 severely toxic messages from appearing.

But this is just the beginning.

I really want the FIA to play a lead role in reducing online abuse worldwide.

To do this, we are conducting research and building relationships with the EU, sporting bodies, and social media companies with a goal of convening a summit to make firm commitments to stop online hate.

We must also lead in sustainability.

Our job as the FIA is to promote safe, affordable, and sustainable motor sport and mobility for all.

That means supporting solutions that fit your members.

And if we want our members to be heard,

And we want to promote our vision,

We must be at the top table.

So, I am very happy to announce that for the first time ever, the FIA will officially take part in COP28 in the UAE next year.

It is the ideal platform to showcase our strong record.

We are committed to Net Zero by 2030, and we are backing that with action.

This year we introduced F1 regulations so that by 2026 it will only use sustainable fuels.

By 2030 all of our championships will use sustainable energies.

And this year the FIA has reduced its carbon footprint by 6%, beating the annual target in the Paris Agreement.

But it is not just the FIA that has taken action.

Since 2019, the number of Clubs who have achieved environmental accreditation has tripled. Next year we expect it to double again.

In recognition of all this hard work, I’m proud to say we have won the IOC Carbon Action Award. 

Delegates, throughout my career as a driver and my previous roles in the FIA, I have always been passionate about diversity.

I believe in diversity because it is essential to our future.

It is not a tool of governance – it is a tool for development.

To lead this effort, we have appointed a new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion adviser.

If we want our sport to grow, it must attract new people from different backgrounds.

We must also recognise our continued work to improve safety. We have introduced our first FIA Road Safety Index and the new Delft Road Safety Courses.

And our new President’s Awards aim to celebrate the very best examples of innovation in safety, sustainability, and diversity from our members.

I was impressed by the number of applications received.

We should also be proud of our clubs who are making a difference in their communities.

I thank all who took part, and I look forward to announcing the winners after this speech.

Delegates, we truly want the FIA to be member led.

Our simple mission is to empower the regions.

Our new mobility strategy was the result of worldwide consultation, involving all the regions, commissions, clubs and our senior leadership team.

This resulted in the new regional growth plans which were designed by you.

There has also been a remarkable 63% growth in our CPD sales compared to pre-covid levels.

And along with starting our new One Road programme, we are also expanding our Sustainable Mobility plan to help clubs with their initiatives.

And working together with them, we have tailored our grant funding to their needs, including

delivering a programme to help our friends in Ukraine. 

Now, I would like to thank our Deputy President for Mobility, Tim Sherman and his team who have done such a great job.

Thank you, Tim.

I must also thank the World Council for Automobile Mobility and Tourism for all of their hard work.

In motor sport we have faced challenges.

We have listened and we have responded. 

We have set up a Development Pathway framework for Race Directors and Stewards.

To reach our ambitious target of doubling participation in motorsport, we have created a new body to deliver our affordable and locally sourced cross cars.

To help clubs develop, we are rolling out our motorsport in a box programme.

We have set up the new FIA ASN Accessible Motor Sport Task Force to improve our diversity and inclusion.

And working with our regions we have initiated new growth plans, and we are reviewing sport zones to increase member value and improve event organisation. We realise that one size does not fit all.

For our clubs, we’ve also simplified the FIA Sport Grant Programme.

And I’m proud to say we have three FIA World Championships powered by sustainable energies.

We should also celebrate the growth in our championships.

We have new OEM’s joining Formula E in 2023, and 6 committed for WEC Hypercar.

And Audi is joining F1, a testament to our new 2026 PU regulations. 

Now, I would like to thank our Deputy President for Sport, Robert Reid, who supported by his team has delivered so much in our first year.

Thank you, Robert.

And thanks also to the World Motor Sport Council for all their hard work.

Delegates, our goal for 2022 was to create real momentum.

We have got the FIA back on track, we are becoming a knowledge-led federation, and we are delivering for our members.

Now our challenge is to sustain that change.

We will act on our plan to transform our operating model with world class governance.

We will continue to empower clubs, members, and the world councils.

And as we promised, we will commit to balancing the books in 2023.

This will provide additional resource to clubs and put us on a firm footing.

Looking forward, I am confident about the future of our Federation and that is due in large part because of its staff. I’d like to thank them all for their hard work this year.

I have seen that by working together we can truly make the FIA a member-led, Club focused, and a regionally empowered federation.

We can become the global voice of mobility and motorsport.

I look forward to working with all of you to achieve this.

I thank you all for your attention.

Source : Fia