In a letter to all FIA member clubs, councils and commissions, outgoing FIA President Max Mosley reflects upon his 16-year tenure at the helm of the governing body, musing over all of the 'controversy' of recent years – from 'Spygate' to Singapore...
Dear Presidents and members of the FIA bodies,
In the final days of my term as President, I have been reflecting on the last 16 years during which I have had the honour to lead the FIA.
In contrast to those who seek to criticise our Federation, the overwhelming impression I have is of an organisation that has made great progress and has much to be proud of.
Early in my Presidency in 1994, we lost Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger. Their deaths led to a fundamental re-evaluation of safety at all levels of motorsport. We established a research group charged with constant innovation and renewal of safety requirements.
The result has been improved head and neck protection, the HANS system, better harnesses, crash helmets, wheel tethers, survival cell systems and many other innovations, all of which have contributed to a huge improvement in safety.
The benefits can be seen every weekend in race meetings and rallies all over the world. Without this progress, the heavy crashes during the recent Formula One event at Suzuka might easily have led to another tragic weekend like Imola in 1994.
I have always been concerned, however, to try to make sure that improvements on the track are relevant to the road. Prompted by our post-Imola response, we became aware that road vehicle crash tests in Europe had not been updated since 1974. A major campaign was launched to change this. We succeeded in forcing legislative change in Europe to develop new front and side-impact crash tests.
We then launched the European New Car Assessment Programme (EuroNCAP), which I chaired for almost ten years. We also promoted so-called intelligent technologies like Electronic Stability Control and created the 'eSafety Forum'. These initiatives spread beyond Europe and have transformed the level of safety of modern road cars. Many thousands of deaths and injuries have been avoided. Lives continue to be saved every day. In 2001, we established the FIA Foundation with a gift of $300 million. The Foundation and the clubs have pushed FIA policies onto the international agenda so successfully that this year road safety will be the subject of a first-ever global Ministerial Conference in Moscow in November.
The Foundation is also leading a new global initiative to promote fuel economy and tackle climate change, and its resources have enabled a far greater engagement of FIA clubs in Asia, Africa and Latin America in road safety, environmental and mobility issues. The FIA has had a carbon sequestration programme since 1995.