Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, also known as FIA, was founded in 1904 in an effort to represent the interests of the users of motor cars and their organizations. Based in Paris, FIA now operates in 120 countries and has more than 200 national member organizations. FIA is most well known as the organization that is in control of the arbitration and licensing of World Rally Championship and Formula One racing all around the world. This means that any changes to the rules, safety procedures or any other element of either of these organizations needs to be voted on and approved by FIA. If an individual attempts to break a current land speed record, these attempts must be certified by FIA in order to be considered a legitimate world record, assuming the previous record is broken. FIA has been officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee since 2011.
The auto racing explosion
When FIA was first formed, overseeing any type of auto racing was not one of its primary functions. However, as the years went by, auto racing became more popular in many countries. Because of this, these races needed to be regulated and a governing body was needed to oversee the management of the various events. Once Formula One started to rise in popularity, FIA’s responsibility grew tremendously. FIA now had to create safety regulations and develop a list of rules involving the weight of the cars, the power of the engines and the type of tires that were permitted to be used in races.
The Max Mosley effect
Mosley’s influence on the sport of Formula One racing can’t be overstated. He wielded enormous power as the head of FIA. He used this power in a way that is generally believed to have been beneficial to the sport as a whole. The safety standards he instituted immediately following the fatal crashes of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994 were seen as much needed and long overdo for a sport that had turned a blind eye to unsafe track conditions for far too long.
Not a typical bureaucracy
With FIA overseeing Formula One, the sport has overcome many obstacles that were holding it back for many decades. FIA has received much positive press for being a large organization that is not slow to act. When changes in the sport need to be made, that are quickly implemented.