In an increasingly uncertain and fast-moving world, it is necessary now more than ever to be
able to plan ahead and take the time to anticipate the future in order to have a better chance
of controlling it.
The FIA and its members are not exempt from this duty. And if we were in any doubt as to the
transformations that will impact our environment, the month of January that has just finished has
provided us with a timely reminder.
Beyond the political troubles currently afflicting several regions of the world, over the last few
weeks, from the CES in Las Vegas to the WEF in Davos, we have had numerous occasions to
take stock of the impact of technological and economic upheavals on sport, mobility and road
But the most important event for the FIA, with which I would like to begin this letter, came about
on 18 January at an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, which approved
the change of owner of the company controlling the commercial rights holder of the FIA Formula
One World Championship.
I am convinced that the arrival of Liberty Media will help to develop this championship, and the
FIA intends to collaborate with the new owners of the Formula One Group to move forward in
The FIA will have the opportunity to pay a special tribute to Bernie Ecclestone, who is leaving
his post following this operation. I would like here to hail his exceptional role in the commercial
development of this world championship. Through all these years he has helped to write the
history of our sport. I have wished Chase Carey, his replacement, every success and have
welcomed him into the FIA community.
However, this major change for our sport going forward was not the only time the future was
mentioned during that month.
In Las Vegas, during the Consumer Electronics Show, “e-sport” was in the spotlight. Along with
Alejandro Agag and some of the drivers entered in the Formula E Championship, I attended
a virtual race demonstration and then discussed the impact of these new technologies on
motorised sport. They must enable us to attract a new audience to our disciplines, younger and
more connected, and we need to have a better understanding of them in order to satisfy these
In Davos, at the World Economic Forum, outside the debates devoted to the economic situation
I was able to speak with a certain number of company heads, such as the CEOs of Orange,
Total and Allianz, about the road safety problems connected with their activities. This followed
on from the 16 January meeting of the members of the FIA’s High Level Panel. We were able to
take stock of the progress of the projects and in particular those of the UN fund for road safety
and the first mission of experts sent to Myanmar, who will recommend a series of measures to
reduce the number of road accident victims in that country.
During the same week in Geneva, with the directors of the UN agencies, I met on the one hand
António Guterres, the successor to Ban Ki-moon, and on the other hand the President of the
People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, on a visit to Europe.
Lastly, the question of the impact of technical innovations was at the heart of the debates during
the first meeting of the National Road Safety Council, in Paris on 23 January. At the invitation of
the Minister of the Interior, I have a seat on this committee, which brings together all the French
stakeholders as well as foreign experts concerned with this issue. One of the topics addressed
at this first assembly was how to take up the challenges that will be posed by the development
of connected cars and driverless cars with regard to the safety of road traffic.
In parallel with these major meetings, in the course of the last few weeks I also had the
opportunity of taking part in certain traditional awards ceremonies for the champions of the
2016 season. I was pleased to see Alan Gow in London for the MSA awards; to meet the
new president of the RFEDA, Manuel Aviñó, in Madrid to celebrate the Spanish drivers and
Akbar Ebrahim, President of the FMSCI in India; and, at the beginning of January, to attend
the FIA Americas Awards ceremony in Mexico City alongside José Abed and the presidents of
numerous clubs of America.
Also, with Michel Boeri, the president of the Automobile Club de Monaco, I attended the last
special stages of the Monte-Carlo Rally, won by the Ford Fiesta of Sébastien Ogier and Julien
Ingrassia. This provided the opportunity to remind all the spectators on these stages of the
measures taken by the FIA and the organisers of the rounds of the WRC to ensure their safety.
As we tragically saw, failing to respect the safety measures means putting oneself at grave risk,
and we can only regret the accident that occurred on the first day of the rally, when a spectator
Lastly, in Düsseldorf last Monday, with Nico Rosberg I attended the Spobis trade fair, the
“Sport Business Summit”, where we presented the first Keep Fighting Award to Vanessa Low, a
disabled athlete and medal-winner at the Paralympic Games in Rio. This initiative was created
by Michael Schumacher’s family and aims to spread the conviction that giving up is not an
option. The two of them will take part in our global campaign for road safety, which we shall
launch with JCDecaux on 10 March 2017.
President of the FIA