20 Jan 08
Michel Boeri, President, ACM: Don't worry: it will be very short. I just say welcome to this Club, it is our club. It has been here since 1911. My wish is that you write a new page for the magnificent new season. I wish a lot of victories and a season with a lot of suspense. Now I would like to welcome Marco Piccinini to say some clever things.
Marco Piccinini, Deputy President, FIA: Simon has just mentioned a sport in transition and we very much agree with him. We are confident that the Championship is going in the right direction and we have already seen the signs which offer a strong sense of optimism. The partnership with Pirelli is an obvious example, with such a prestigious brand joining the Championship. Also North One Television, a major player in the media world, to have NorthOne investing in the Championship as they have is very good news - and, of course, we have a new manufacturer this season: Suzuki.
All of our stakeholders recognise the need for change and to learn lessons from the past. We will take a new approach with the Calendar: the two-year cycle. This will allow the Championship to visit every corner of the World. In the years to come Group N and Super 2000 will form a base for the sport encouraging strong local participation when we reach those further corners of the world. Rallying is very different to Formula One and has to preserve its own character and traditions. When rallying visits these new countries it will be the competitive meeting point for the top drivers and the local semi-professional drivers to enter into a sport which welcomes them both. The FIA will play its part in legislating for this very important technical change.