At the end of the year the International Automobile Federation will have a new president since its current head, the French Jean Todt, resigns in December after twelve years in management. Someone who has already launched his candidacy to be the new benchmark of the FIA is the former Emirati pilot Mohammed Ben Sulayem.
The multiple champion rally in the Middle East (achieved 14 titles) presented its electoral platform, which is called FIA for Members and who wants Ben Sulayem to become the first non-European president of the entity since its founding in 1904.
A fundamental part of the campaign is a powerful plan that has the objective of increase diversity and inclusion in motorsport globally. This project is based on research conducted in Africa and the Middle East.
Ben Sulayem believes that a program of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (IDI) executed with partners in the F1 and other FIA championships can lead to quick results, even doubling participation in motorsport.
“The FIA is off to a good start under current President Jean Todt in promoting women and drivers with disabilities. But we want to take this much further and create opportunities for everyone regardless of geography, income, gender, culture, age, race or ability. "said Ben Sulayem.
Motorsport is a worldwide phenomenon followed by millions of people on television, radio and social media. However, the majority of the pilots and highly qualified personnel found on the racetracks, in dozens of countries; they are mostly European and male. There are hundreds of jobs for technicians and engineers that are not yet open to young people in developing countries..
“This year Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and, for the first time, Saudi Arabia, will host F.1 World Championship Grand Prix and yet we do not have any drivers, engineers or team managers from the region in between. This must change: diversity and inclusion will make motorsport stronger. This change in thinking and attitude must be led by the FIA as the governing body of the sport. If we are elected, we will launch scholarships for developing countries, which in turn will strengthen capacity ”, added the former pilot.
Robert Reid, a candidate for Vice Presidency of Sports on Ben Sulayem's team, emphasized the need to provide a fast track for talent from developing regions of motorsport. "More than 90% of the Federations surveyed considered that a talent acceleration scheme would increase the attractiveness of motorsport for young people in their countries", explained Reid, who was a navigator of the remembered Richard Burns.
In this context, he added that the study emphasizes the need to develop role models in motorsport such as Lewis Hamilton in the United Kingdom. “The report also shows that role models and local heroes are critical. Currently there is no such scheme and we plan to implement it in our first year in office ", Agregó.
To achieve the objective, a Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager to drive this agenda centrally. "It is important that IDI is part of our strategy and is at the center of decision making, rather than each individual, diverse group trying to fight in their own corner, often as an afterthought.", Assured.
Ben Sulayem also believes that major championships have a critical role to play, especially Formula 1: “They are a key partner and, in fact, they have already allocated funds. But only a program led by the FIA can offer an effective talent development plan in the regions. This, in turn, will generate more fans, TV and sponsors in the developing world. "
"It's crazy that the WRC has never had a non-European champion, and F.1 has had little representation from Africa, the Middle East and Asia."Reid added. "We can fix this, and this will give the sport a much larger gene pool to work with and create opportunities for all nationalities to get involved, whether as drivers, technicians, engineers and fans."