Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) was established in 1904 at the initiative of 13 European and American motor clubs. Today, it brings together more than 230 national motor clubs and associations from 130 countries, and counts over 100 million car enthusiasts.
Jean Todt has been serving as FIA President since 2009. The Federation is known for managing and organising auto racing events. It is in charge of the licensing and sanctioning of Formula One, World Rally Championship and other racing events.
On December 3, the FIA General Assembly opened in St Petersburg. It is the first time Russia hosts an event of this kind.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Thank you for coming. We are delighted to have this opportunity to take stock of the development of motor sport in Russia.
Let me emphasise that Formula 1 is not our only undertaking. We are moving forward. You may already know that we are building a big and advanced motor centre near St Petersburg.
I would like you to visit this place and share your views and recommendations on how we could develop this venue.
President of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile Jean Todt: It is a privilege to see you and I am sorry to bother you at this time of the night.
I know you have quite a busy schedule coming from Argentina and all you have been doing but I appreciate it.
In fact, with my friend, Viktor Kiryanov, on Saturday we are going to see the facilities you were just talking about.
We arrived here on Monday because for the entire week we have been working with the General Assembly of the FIA and different motor councils. Tomorrow morning we are holding the General Assembly.
And tomorrow evening there will be a Prize Piving and all the champions of Formula 1, Formula 2, Formula 3, Rally, Endurance Championship, Formula E – all will be awarded here in the library. Everybody was very happy to be hosted in St Petersburg.
Vladimir Putin: I hope that it is not their last visit.
Jean Todt: I had the opportunity to come to Sochi several times for Formula 1. I came also for Formula E in Moscow. Twenty-five years ago I came here for the Rally and at the time I was not the President of the FIA. I was running the Citroen team and I came for the Paris-Moscow-Beijing Rally.
Vladimir Putin: I hope that you will visit us more often.
Jean Todt: Thank you. I have a few friends who love to come here. I think you know them, for example, Jean-Claude Killy. He showed me a nice photo with you, him and tigers.
Vladimir Putin: He is like a tiger himself.
Jean Todt: He was very proud to show that to me.
I also want to thank you for your support because I am President of the FIA but also the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety. And the Russian Federation has always been a very good support to me in my activity. It is always a great pleasure to work with my friend, Viktor Kiryanov, who is also the President of the Russian Automobile Federation.
I wanted to give you this helmet specially made for you.
Vladimir Putin: I can see that. Thank you very much.
Jean Todt: It has been signed by different racers. Here is Michael Schumacher.
Vladimir Putin: Please thank all of them for this.
Jean Todt: This is also a present for you.
Vladimir Putin: I do not know what to say. I do not have a souvenir for you. I feel rather uneasy. Thank you again.
Jean Todt: To meet you is the best souvenir.