The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (International Automobile Federation in English) or more readily known as the FIA, is the organising body of the FIA Formula E Championship. Originally founded in 1904 to protect the rights of French motorists, the FIA is currently the biggest organiser of international motorsport events, including Formula One and the World Endurance Championship.
The current head of the FIA, Jean Todt, pursued the creation of Formula E as key part of his election campaign, and enlisted Alejandro Agag to set up the series. Formula E Holdings run the marketing and day-to-day aspects of the Championship, while the FIA runs the ePrix and distributes the e-Licence to the drivers.
The FIA was originally founded as the 'Association Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus' (AIACR) on the 20th of June, 1904, as an organisation to protect the rights of motorists in France. A keen interest was also shown in international motorsport early on, with the FIA eventually becoming the largest organising body for motor racing in the World. The 'Commission Sportive Internationale' (CSI) was founded in 1922 by the FIA to establish the rules for Grand Prix racing, as the FIA faced competition from the ACO in the early 1920s.
Standardisation of rules for Grand Prix in 1946 ultimately led to the creation of Formula One in 1950, the FIA's most successful series. A World Sportscar Championship was also established in 1953, although that would eventually die out in 1992 through a lack of interest. Disputes between the FIA and Formula One's various teams associations have also generated publicity for the organisation, but the FIA and Formula One remain entwined to this day.
After an investigation by the European Commission in the 1990s, the FIA established several projects and charities to focus on road safety away from the race track, leading to several innovations. The FIA Foundation takes care of this side of the FIA, while the World Motor Sport Council takes control of the major international series decisions through a series of meetings across the world each season. The FIA itself is based in Paris, the city in which it was originally founded.
The creation of the FE Championship would be the first step amid a general move from the FIA, orchestrated by President Jean Todt, towards electrification of various FIA accredited series. In 2018 the FIA acknowledged the new E TCR series, an electric touring car formula based on the TCR ruleset which had been used by the World Touring Car Cup since 2018. This was followed on 21 April 2021 by the unveiling of the FIA Electric GT formula, which was to be based on the existing GT3 ruleset for GT racing.
With the FIA hoping to arrange an all electric based motor racing Championship from 2014 onwards, a meeting between President Todt and Alejandro Agag in Paris on the 1st of August 2012 made history. An agreement was signed to form the Formula E Championship, to be organised by the FIA and promoted by Formula E Holdings under Agag's leadership. After drafting Spark Racing Technologies to build a car for the Championship, the FIA Formula E Championship finally got to the track on the 13th of September 2014, with the 2014 Beijing ePrix signifying the start of the inaugural 2014/15 Championship.
The FIA sets out the rules of engagement for Formula E, organising the race calendar through the World Motor Sport Council, and deciding on the development of the Spark-Renault SRT_01E. The FIA opted to make the Championship a one-make series for its debut season, before allowing manufacturers to develop their own powertrains for season two. The intention is to gradually build a system similar to Formula One, whereby each team builds their own chassis and (preferably) own electrical system to aid the development of electric motor cars.
The e-Licence is another key factor for the FIA and its involvement in Formula E, holding the power to grant the licence to a driver whom fulfils their criteria. To obtain an e-Licence, a driver must attend an FIA run training session in electrical safety and rules in Formula E, and have scored 20 points according to the FIA Super Licence system. In return, the FIA grants a Super Licence to the winner of the Championship, enabling them to enter Formula One as a driver the following season.
For more info on the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, head to the official FIA website.
Videos and Images:
- 'New FIA Formula E Championship powered by electric energy', fiaformulae.com (FIA Formula E, 01/08/2012), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2012/august/new-fia-formula-e-championship-powered-by-electric-energy.aspx, (Accessed 20/07/2015)
- 'ORGANISATION', fia.com, (FIA, 2015), http://www.fia.com/organisation, (Accessed 20/07/2015)
- 'WSC LAUNCHES E TCR: A NEW CONCEPT FOR TOURING CARS', electric-tcr.com, (WSC Ltd., 02/03/2018), https://electric-tcr.com/en/newsetcr/item/wsc-launches-e-tcr-a-new-concept-for-touring-cars, (Accessed 08/07/2018)
- 'FIA ANNOUNCES GROUNDBREAKING ELECTRIC GT CATEGORY', fia.com, (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, 21/04/2021), https://www.fia.com/news/fia-announces-groundbreaking-electric-gt-category, (Accessed 22/04/2021)
- 'Rules & Regulations', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/guide/rules-and-regs.aspx, (Accessed 20/07/2015)
- 'Eight manufacturers to enter Formula E next season', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 23/02/2015), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/february/eight-manufacturers-to-enter-fia-formula-e-from-second-season.aspx, (Accessed 30/04/2015)
- 'Changes to e-Licence system', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 10/07/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/july/changes-made-to-e-licence-system.aspx, (Accessed 11/07/2015)
|FIA Formula E Partners|
|Formula E Holdings • Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile • ABB|
|BMW • DHL • Michelin • Qualcomm • Renault • TAG Heuer|
|Allianz • Antofagasta Minerals • Bosch • Enel • Heineken • Hugo Boss • Julius Bär • Modis • Saudia • Umicore|
|Spark Technical Partners|
|Spark Racing Technologies • Brembo • Dallara • Hankook • Hewland • McLaren • Williams|
|1st Round • CNBC • Rimac Automobili • voestalpine|