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FIA President's Letter - January 2021

As January comes to an end, I would like to extend my best wishes for 2021: good health and happiness to share with your loved ones, and success in your professional endeavours.

The pandemic is still with us, and we will have to continue to conciliate realism, optimism and determination. In addition to the original virus, which continues to spread, three variants of Sars-CoV-2 have been discovered in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil. These mutations obviously raise many questions and challenges, to which the political and scientific spheres are trying to find answers. Whatever the coming months bring, anticipation and creativity must remain key words in the organisation of our major Sport and Mobility events.

In order to project a positive message during these difficult times, it was important to start the new motor sport season with the WRC and the 89th edition of the famous Monte-Carlo Rally. This has been accomplished, and we can be rightly proud. My thanks go to President Michel Boéri and all the team at the Automobile Club de Monaco for their hospitality and the perfect organisation. Congratulations to Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia for their eighth victory in this event.

Also in motor sport, Maya Weug became the first FIA Girls on Track - Rising Stars driver to join the Ferrari Drivers Academy. This programme is the cornerstone of the actions led by the FIA’s Women in Motorsport Commission, chaired by Michèle Mouton. It symbolises our commitment to the promotion of women in our sport and gender equality, supported by the #PurposeDriven banner.

I would also like to take this opportunity to confirm that Onika Miller, current Head of the FIF, and in charge of Diversity and Inclusion within the FIA, has been appointed as acting Secretary General for Mobility. Let us wish her good luck with her new duties.

Of course, you cannot talk of Mobility without also discussing Road Safety. In this field, the African continent is a priority. After Uganda and Cameroon, it was Ethiopia’s turn to be the subject of a United Nations Road Safety Performance Review. This report lays out recommendations for each country participating to help reduce road fatalities.

During the month, I also travelled to Saudi Arabia, where I first had the opportunity to follow the Dakar Rally. The renewed set-up of the top rally raid competition continues its tradition in a spectacular desert landscape, and many excellent memories came back to me. I was delighted to share this moment and talk with the various drivers, in particular, Stéphane Peterhansel, who took his 14th victory - 8 in cars and 6 on motorbikes - in a Mini Cooper Buggy. My thanks go out to Yann Le Moenner and the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) team for their hospitality and the success of the event. Together, we have been able to move our discussions forward on the increased presence of the FIA in rally raids.

During my trip, I visited a certain number of sites, including the National Centre for Road Safety, and participated in meetings on motor sport, sustainable mobility and road safety with several Ministers: of Transport, Health, Sport and the Interior. I commend the quality of the work and the fantastic hospitality of Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al Faisal Al Saud - President of our Club, the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF) - which greatly contributed to the success of my trip. Moreover, I had the opportunity to meet Mobility representatives in the country: Riyadh Al Malik and Sultan Al Hudaithi, directors of the Saudi Automobile and Touring Association (SATA). With the national oil company Aramco, we initiated talks for a possible collaboration on the development of a sustainable fuel, which is part of our Federation’s environmental strategy.

I concluded my visit by participating in the “Saudi Davos”, the Future Investment Initiative Forum, by presenting the FIA’s social commitment for motor sport and mobility. Under the impetus of the SAMF and the government, the country will once again host a Formula E race in February and, for the first time, a Formula 1 Grand Prix at the start of December. I am convinced that sport, in Saudi Arabia as elsewhere, can contribute to society’s progress in general.

Dear Friends,

In 2021, we will once more be confronted with many difficulties, in particular, for the organisation of races. The sporting calendars will no doubt have to evolve in line with the epidemic. We must therefore show solidarity, join forces and share our expertise to face the future, as we discussed together a short time ago at the CEZ Sport Congress on 29 and 30 January.

We are embarking on another year of challenges. Rest assured that we will do everything in our power to support you. More than ever, the FIA’s teams are at your service: do not hesitate to contact them, our various bodies, and the representatives of your Regions, whether concerning Sport or Mobility.

For the sake of our health and the return to our activity, I hope that all of the national authorities will make vaccines available to as many people as possible.

In the meantime, take care and look after yourselves.

Warm regards,

Jean Todt
FIA President