FIA President delivers on election promises in first annual report
Mohammed Ben Sulayem addressed the FIA General Assembly to produce his first annual report as President highlighting election initiatives already in place and plans for 2023
- FIA will take part in COP28 in the UAE next year to highlight its pledge to be Net Zero by 2030
- FIA has reduced its carbon footprint by 6%, eclipsing the annual target in the Paris Agreement
- FIA has re-launched its University to tackle climate change, online abuse and diversity.
- New manufacturers confirmed for Formula E, WEC Hypercar in 2023 and Audi in F1 from 2026
Dubai, 13 December 2022- Concluding his first year as President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the governing body of world motorsport, Mohammed Ben Sulayem addressed the Member clubs at the FIA Annual General Assembly in Bologna to deliver the results of his first year in office. Topics included new initiatives in place to tackle diversity and inclusion, carbon emissions targets, social media harassment plans and growth in motorsport at both regional and international levels.
After winning the election as the first non-European and first Arab president of the 120-year old Federation, Ben Sulayem promised a raft of changes in his first year in office to transform its operating model with world class governance, introduced added transparency and promised to improve its diversity and inclusion across all Member clubs.
The FIA President said: “When I was first elected, I promised to report on our progress. We were elected on an ambitious plan and we have been working hard all year to deliver it.”
“I’m pleased to say that we have got the FIA back on track and are becoming a knowledge-led federation, delivering for our members. Now our challenge is to sustain that change.”
Internally, the Federation has strengthened its structure with the appointment of its first ever CEO, commissioned independent audits of its finances and governance and created the new position of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Adviser to help grow the sport by attracting new people from different backgrounds.
“I believe in diversity because it is essential to our future. Throughout my career as a driver and my previous roles in the FIA, I have always been passionate about diversity, so this is not a tool of governance, rather it’s a tool for development,” he said.
To help tackle vital issues including climate change, online abuse and diversity, the Federation is re-launching its FIA University program, partnering with organisations and companies to deliver valuable learning for members in mobility and motorsport. With this also comes a new Motorsport Engineering Scholarship to give talented youth the opportunity to start a career in motorsport.
“We have delivered our first FIA Immersion programme with six young people from various countries who have returned to their home clubs to share their new-found knowledge among their peers.”
One of the key goals of Ben Sulayem’s first year in office has been to work with other sporting organisations to curb the rise in social media bullying across all sports and the FIA has achieved a noticeable decrease in toxicity since it installed artificial intelligence to clean up social media.
Since it began operation in October, A.I. technology has blocked 2,400 severely toxic messages from appearing and with the FIA playing a leading role in its development, it’s now being showcased to other sporting bodies, the EU and social media companies. Ben Sulayem told the delegates that it is the FIA’s goal to convene a summit in order to make firm commitments to stop online hate.
In its efforts to reduce carbon emissions and improve the sustainability of motorsport, the FIA will officially take part in COP28 for the first time next year. To be held in the United Arab Emirates, COP28 is the ideal platform to show the FIA’s commitment to reach Net Zero by 2030.
“By attending COP28, we are backing our Net Zero 2030 intention with action. This year we introduced regulations into Formula 1 that requires all cars to race with sustainable fuels by 2026 and four years later every motorsport championship will be powered by sustainable energies.
“This year alone, the FIA has reduced its carbon footprint by six percent which surpasses the annual target laid out in the Paris Agreement. Our Member clubs have also worked hard on this and since 2019 we have tripled the number of clubs which have achieved environmental accreditation which we expect will double again next year.”
In recognition of this, the FIA recently won the prestigious IOC Carbon Action Award.
These initiatives have been welcomed by several automotive manufacturers who have pledged their support to enter various forms of motor racing in the coming years including five new OEM’s joining Formula E in 2023, six manufacturers committed to entering the World Endurance Championship for Hypercars and Germany’s Audi has confirmed its entry into Formula 1 from 2026 when the new regulations take effect.
“I’m proud to say we have three FIA World Championships powered by sustainable energies and we should celebrate the growth in our championships as a result.”
The FIA’s never-ending quest to improve road safety took another step forward in 2022 with the introduction of the first ever FIA Road Safety Index and the new Delft Road Safety Courses, along with a new President’s Award which celebrates the very best examples of innovation in safety, sustainability and diversity from its Member clubs.
“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 and our simple mission is to empower the regions.
After global consultation involving every region, commission and club, the FIA developed a new mobility strategy which resulted in regional growth plans that culminated in a 63 percent growth in CPD sales compared to pre-covid levels.
Together with the Federation’s new One Road programme, it is also expanding its Sustainable Mobility plan to help individual clubs with their initiatives.
“By working together and with the clubs, we have tailored our grant funding to their needs, including delivering a programme to help our friends in Ukraine.”
Mohammed Ben Sulayem concluded his inaugural annual address by re-assuring the Member clubs that after his first year in Office, the FIA is now more transparent, with a clearer path and vision as it aims to improve sustainability, reduce its carbon footprint and opens up to people of every background through greater diversity and inclusion.
“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 and we have set up the new FIA ASN Accessible Motor Sport Task Force to improve our diversity and inclusion.
“We realise that one size does not fit all, which is why Member clubs and regional input is vital and by working with our regions, we have initiated new growth plans and are reviewing sport zones to increase member value and improve the overall organisation,” he said.