Opening speech by Jean Todt, FIA President, for the 1st FIA Joint eConference

Opening speech by Jean Todt, FIA President, for the 1st FIA Joint eConference

16.06.2020: -15 June 2020 “Shape the future together” Dear FIA Family, Dear Friends I am pleased to open the first FIA Sport and Mobility joint eConference of our history.

-15 June 2020 “Shape the future together”

Dear FIA Family, Dear Friends

I am pleased to open the first FIA Sport and Mobility joint eConference of our history.

For the past months, we have been through a storm, but we are still standing.


The whole world has been affected by Covid-19 with more than 7 million declared cases and almost half a million deaths. Unfortunately, it is not over yet: many countries and people are still in the eye of the hurricane.

I would like to express my solidarity with all of you who have suffered directly or indirectly from the virus, and to salute the whole FIA community for its resilience. We have proved our capacity to adapt and we will keep fighting to overcome this unprecedented crisis in the best possible conditions. And today, thanks to the same technological means that allowed us to telework during the lockdown, we are together, remotely, but together.

Some of us are in our studios in Paris, London and Geneva. As for me, as you can see, I am standing over the beautiful Place de la Concorde where traffic is pretty light. I have a special thought for our Club RAAT in Thailand and its team that should have been welcoming us to the 2020 Sports Conference tomorrow. But we are definitively looking forward to visiting you in the future.

I’d like to thank you all for attending this innovative event: Presidents and managers of our ASN, Mobility Clubs and ACN, Graham Stoker, FIA Deputy President for Sport, Thierry Willemarck, FIA Deputy President for Mobility, Automobile and Tourism, and finally, all the FIA departments involved, for the energy, creativity and time that have gone into the preparation of this first global virtual gathering.

We count almost 850 registrants coming from many of the 243 affiliated organisations of the FIA from 146 countries, FIA staff, and speakers – working together to ensure the continued health of motor sport and mobility worldwide.

As always and for the next days, our priority is to better understand and respond to your urgent needs and expectations as well as to discuss post Covid-19 Scenarios. Sport sessions will not only explore how to better support the Member Clubs as well as the restart of activities and the return to racing in the best conditions, but also the significant contribution of motor sport to society.

What we call the New Deal for Motorsport. Mobility sessions will address how we can help our member Clubs prepare and adapt to major disruption, the impact of the crisis on tourism activities and scenarios for the future, as well as the emerging strategies for advocacy in support of safe and sustainable mobility. We will also enjoy the participation of global leaders who have accepted to be with us, to share their vision and experience.

This is a testimony of their trust towards the FIA. In addition, our Club and Commission’ Presidents and members will also contribute greatly to the success of the eConference by telling us about their best practices and expertise. I warmly thank them. All together, we will imagine solutions for the future through debates, discussions and team works animated by our talented moderators: Edie Lush, one of the leading hosts at the World Economic Forum and James Allen, well-known President at Motorsport network. You know it: from the first day of the crisis, we have constantly been adapting the FIA in order to overcome the challenges brought by the Covid-19 and emerge even stronger.

To that effect, we have optimised the budget, reorganised our expenses and developed unique working and operational methods such as a different way of meeting with you. This eConference is indeed a demonstration of this. During this challenging period, the FIA has been working around the clock to provide assistance to its member communities as part of its duty to provide leadership and support at this difficult time. The FIA has always kept contact with you, in particular through the liaison office, and will continue to do so in order to understand the impact of the crisis on each of you.

Dear Member Clubs, supporting you will always be our priority. As far as sport is concerned, since the beginning of the crisis, with the entire motor sport community, our Federation has been committed to fighting the epidemic through many initiatives such as #RaceagainstCovid #raceathome or the important Sport Clubs Solidarity Programme. It has been built to further unify our ASNs and ACNs and help them, as well as our Championships’ promoters and drivers, navigate the current crisis, while preparing them for a new reality. More than ever, we put a great emphasis on the safe organisation of sustainable motor sport compliant with the guidance of Governments and WHO public health advice. Additionally, the FIA opened its Sport Grants Programme in May, earlier than usual, so that this support to Clubs can be deployed as quickly as possible.

Today, on the 15 of June, an important online charity auction is launched in partnership with R.M Sotheby’s in the benefit of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ response to the pandemic. We count 93 donations from 66 people. I salute the generosity of many team principals, drivers, as well as leaders and personalities who have accepted to give some very exclusive and personal lots to support the cause. It is yet another opportunity to show the strength and unity of our community. Feel free to participate! The auction lasts until 22 June.

Even if the pandemic has strongly impacted our motor sport agenda, the FIA F1 Championship will restart in Austria, in 20 days, on 5 July. We are aiming for 8 to 10 races after Monza. Regarding the other championships, WEC will continue with a race in Spa, then the 24H of Le Mans with a season final in Bahrein in November. On its side, the World Rally Championship is currently considering alternatives scenarios with a restart in September including the reinstatement of postponed events to ensure that we have the best possible opportunity to complete the 2020 series.

World Rally Cross is aiming at resuming its season in August with a series of doubleheader weekends in Sweden, Finland etc. WTCR will start again in September in Austria and will end in Italy in November, after a few races all located in Europe. Further details on the general motor sport agenda will arrive soon.

Last week, we published and sent to all our Sport Clubs the “FIA return to motor sport guidelines” to ensure the best restart possible of the competitions. I take this opportunity to thank all the stakeholders for this achievement: our FIA Sport, Safety, Legal teams and experts who worked hard under the authority of Professor Gérard Saillant, our FIA Medical Commission President. Rest assured that the health and safety of all will continue to be our priority.

During this challenging time, the Mobility division has also been closer than ever to its Clubs. It put quickly in place the online and free “Stay Tuned” programme in order to allow fruitful exchanges. Like for the Sport Clubs, the membership fees have been suspended until end of September and more is to come.

The Mobility Worldwide programme, which supports clubs through dedicated advice and expertise, is being deployed these days.  Also, a survey has been sent a couple of days ago to identify the impact of this crisis on our clubs. Furthermore, the 2020 FIA Road Safety Grants Programme call for applications opened on 18 May and will remain open until 6 July.

Members can present not only traditional road safety-oriented projects, but also initiatives that Clubs can develop in cooperation with IFRC National Societies in response to the COVID-19 crisis.


- FIA Paris  also photo


16.06.2020 / MaP

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