On 1 August 2017, the 19th Congress of Americas for Mobility and Sport started in Toronto, Ontario, with representatives from Members Clubs throughout the Americas present.
FIA President Jean Todt opened the Congress by highlighting the importance of the event: “The annual congress is fundamental. I especially appreciate the opportunity it provides for me to meet you and to hear about the news and progress of your clubs, as well as the opportunity it gives us to think together about the future of motorsport and mobility.”
Mr. Todt thanked the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), and Mr. Tim Shearman, President of the CAA, also FIA President of Region III, for hosting the Congress of the Americas this year. He also thanked Mr. Jorge Tomasi, FIA President of Region IV; Mr. José Abed, FIA Vice-President for Sport and President of FIA Americas and OMDAI; and Mr. Carlos Garcia Remohi, President of CODASUR, for their work to promote motor sport and mobility in the Americas. Mr. Todt acknowledged the presence of Mr. Graham Stoker, FIA Deputy President for Sport, and Mr. Nick Craw, President of the FIA Senate, and thanked Mr. Hugo Mersan, President of TACPy and FIA Vice-President for Sport, for the successful experience of the Congress in Paraguay last year.
Mr. Todt then laid out the agenda for the sport and mobility portions of the Congress.
On the sport side, Mr. Todt spoke about the significant progress the region made in the development of motor sport: “I am proud to say that the region welcomes 10 World Championships events including four Formula One events; 2 FIA World Endurance Championship events; two FIA World Rally Championship events; one FIA World Touring Car Championship event and one FIA World Rallycross Championship event which is going to be held in Canada after this Congress. In the FIA Formula E Championship, the region is also impressively active with four events this year”. Mr. Todt emphasized that the FIA team is available to provide support to promote the growth of motor sport in the region, and also spoke about the importance of road safety in motor sport. He also encouraged Clubs from the Americas to apply for more grant funding opportunities via the FIA Sport Grant Programme.
Speaking about the mobility section, Mr. Todt highlighted 3 key topics for the congress. These included: strengthening club development through the FIA University Programme, promoting the road safety agenda to meet the ambitious 2020 targets set out by the UN SDGs, and advancing the agenda of sustainable mobility. Mr. Todt then announced the appointment of Mr. Tim Shearman, FIA President of Region III and Alfredo Albornoz, Director General from TACC, Colombia, to the FIA University Governance board to represent their respective regions. He also announced a new Senior Executive Programme, designed in partnership with Columbia University in New York, which will be held on 1-3 November 2017.
On the topic of Road Safety, Mr. Todt highlighted the ongoing initiatives of the FIA High Level Panel for Road Safety, and invited FIA Regional Presidents to join the next meeting of the Panel on 20 September 2017. He also congratulated the Clubs on their current road safety initiatives and reasserted the key role they have to play that field: “I am proud of the outstanding work done by the Clubs and regions on the ground since the inception of the FIA Road Safety Grant Programme. As you know, I strongly believe, and I am sure you will agree, that motor sport, mobility and road safety walk together.”
Mr. Todt then spoke about the FIA Smart Cities Forum, held alongside the FIA Formula E Championship. “Meeting the challenge of urbanisation is of central importance to FIA Clubs and this platform is a good opportunity for us to promote our agenda on safe, sustainable and accessible mobility in cities”, he stated.
The Congress, which will last until 3 August 2017, is an opportunity for the creation of joint initiatives between Clubs. It will end with a Karting Slalom event for children who are 10 years of age or higher, an event that highlights the importance the FIA places on attracting new talent to motor sport at a young age.
The next edition of the FIA Congress of Americas for Mobility and Sport will be held on 22-24 July 2018 in Montevideo, Uruguay, just prior to the FIA Mobility Conference on 24-27 July 2018.