Jean Todt is coming…look busy!

FIA president, Jean Todt, made a Central America tour that included Cuba, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia. Along with José Abed (Vice-President for Sport), Jorge Tomasi (President of FIA Region IV) and Carlos Garcia Remohi (President of the CODASUR), Todt visited member clubs in these countries to discuss road safety and one has to wonder if he didn’t learn a wicked slider or off-speed pitch while he was there.

The discussions were centered on road safety and children as nations such as Ecuador have the highest rate of road casualties on the continent. Central America and the surrounding area have a lot of work to do to improve road safety and this is, or at least was, the primary goal of the FIA for decades. Todt reaffirmed his dedication to the initiative through his visit. No word on if they spent more time discussing social responsibility, green initiatives or how the member clubs might use turbo hybrids and blown diffusers in an effort to assist with road safety or even road relevancy. I’m not quite sure if they spent time discussing the allure of a 1.8 liter V6 engine or how Central America could reduce fuel flow using this one weird trick.

In Cuba, Todt met with representatives from the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of External Relations. He was presented the Child Declaration of the “Save Kids Lives” campaign by a local performing arts school. One has to assume Todt lunched on Cuban Sandwiches and medianoche so long as he took his acid reflux pill that morning.

With warming relations with the US and perhaps more economic interest in the area, Ernesto Dobarganes and his teams at FAKC spoke of developing a Karting series in Cuba. If there ever has been a Cuban F1 driver, I am at a loss of recalling who that may have been. Perhaps this karting series might find purchase in Cuba? Surely they can build some super cool karts given their proclivity to keep those Yank Tanks going all these years?

Cuba used to host a grand prix from 1957 to 1960 and there were some very memorable events during these including the kidnapping of F1 champion Juan Manuel Fangio by Fidel Castro in 1958. Thankfully Fangio was released unharmed. I like to think Fangio lulled them all into a daze by talking about the art of driving and rolling speed, apex and braking zones. He probably talked about hybrid technology coming soon and how to use movable aero devices to lower drag. The communist regime probably had enough of his pie hole and let him go. Well played Fangio, you were the man!!

In Ecuador, Todt was made a Distinguished Guest of the city of Quito. Government officials assured Todt that steps were being taken to improve road conditions and safety—tick that box, everything is good here. Before you leave, be sure to sign up to be considered as a possible F1 race steward. Besides not beaing able to breath at 9,350ft in Quito, you’ll be impressed to know that Todt took his life in his own hands as the city is being taunted and menaced by the volcano, Pichincha. The Tale of Brave Sir Todt…”he’s buggered off!”

Peru—and what truly can be said of Peru other than it is the 5th most populous country in South America—Todt had a full day of meetings. José Gallardo Ku, Minister of Transportation, said they’d try to do better on road safety. Ivan Dibos introduced Todt to Cambiemos de Actitud, a road safety initiative focused on children. No news of whether Todt was recruited by members of The Shining Path but suffice it to say, he would have negotiated with them and demanded they all wear NOMEX and a HANS device when kidnapping again.

Last but certainly not least, Todt went to Cartagena and met the Vice-President of Colombia, Mr. German Vargas Lleras. Mr. Lleras opined on his country’s efforts in road safety and even touted improvements in infrastructure and the establishment of a national road safety agency. While visiting, one wonders if Todt may have stopped by the boyood home of the awesome Juan Pablo Montoya or at least rounded up members of the FARC guerrillas and made them watch mandatory videos from the 1980’s on driver’s education with such titles as “blood on the pavement” and “Red Asphalt”—appealing, of course, to their more militant side.

You thought Todt would be on holiday with all the mega-yacht owners of F1 but you’d be wrong because Todt never sleeps. He’s a machine that keeps on pounding road safety issues into the nooks and crannies of the world until every road is safe with massive run-off areas and serrated curbs and white lines—which will offer penalties for any drivers who crosses them. When Todt walks, the earth shakes and sometimes people fall down.

Hat Tip: FIA

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Junipero Mariano

I can’t help but think of the Top Gear holiday special in Bolivia. Those are some roads that needs FIA safety innovations!