Media support – key ingredientin grassroots motorsports success
THE STARTER - Lord Seno (The Freeman) - June 11, 2018 - 12:00am

Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the world governing body of motorsports,held a successful Sport Conference in the Philippines last week, the first ever held in an Asian country.

Our local Automotive Association, the Automobile Association of the Philippines, an affiliate of the FIA, spearheaded the event with the help of the racing community of the Philippines and the sponsors of the event.

The Sport Conference lined up several interactive sessions and workshops during the three-day event not only for the promotion of motorsports, but also to highlight road safety.

The event also centered on the improvement of grassroots motor racing activities in the region, touching on the general promotion of the sport through the introduction of more affordable forms of motorsports.The aim of the AAP, with the aid of its governing body, the FIA, is to develop grassroots-level motorsports like karting, rallying, and circuit racing. FIA also wants E-Karting promoted to jive with the environmentally conscious changing times.

The event identified factors that make a good and healthy motorsports community.   The presence of passionate ex-racers, who have stepped up to the role of being leaders and promoters in the community is a plus factor.  These spear headers will cater to the demand, guiding the young and passionate racers to channel their talents to a proper venue.  This will somehow create a domino effect, steering the sport into a good direction where proper purpose built facilities will be made.  Facilities that will require well- trained marshals and personnel.  This is how motorsports grew in the first world. This is how it should grow in this region.

But Jean Todt, the president of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), thinks there is more to it than just a good community of racers and a good venue. He says the media support has a big role in the development of grassroots motorsports.  He said it has always been that one missing element.

Todt emphasized that the support from the other sectors of the society is essential especially the media sector. "We need to create more awareness on motorsports," Todt said, referring to the role of the media. By spreading awareness, Todt is positive that support from other sectors of the society will pour in for motorsports.

Todt is convinced that the Philippines has a lot of talented race drivers, well-trained mechanics, and even race marshals who participate in regular racing events in the different parts of the country. But all of these need more public exposure.

The president of the Association of Automobiles in the Philippines (AAP), Gus Lagman, agreed with the sentiments of Todt. He said Philippine motorsports is very much alive and kicking. "But we need the support of media. It is very important," he pointed out, adding that exposure will eventually draw interest from private sponsors.

The Philippines has yet to produce an international Formula One caliber driver.  There were some signs of potential in the upper echelons of the sport with Stefano Marcelo and Marlon Stockinger but somehow it fell short mainly because of so many factors that make the sport highly competitive. But our Asian counterparts like Malaysia, China and Japan, have already produced Formula 1 drivers.  We hope Vios Cup Champion and current Formula Renault Asia driver, Daniel Miranda will climb the ladder soon as the Philippines has yet to see one of its countrymen excel in the international motorsports scene.

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