(29/10/2013) RALLY Australia’s achievement as the world’s first motor sport event to earn the top environmental award from the Federation de l’Automobile (FIA) Institute has won praise from one of Formula 1’s most prominent leaders, McLaren Group Chief Executive Officer and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team principal Martin Whitmarsh.
The rally, staged last month on the New South Wales Coffs Coast, was awarded the Achievement of Excellence by the FIA Institute, the highest of three levels in the organisation’s Environmental Certification Framework.
It became not only the first event to be awarded but also only the second organisation of any kind in the motor sport industry, after McLaren won its certification last February.
“I would like to congratulate Rally Australia on becoming only the second organisation in the world to win the prestigious FIA Institute award for environmental excellence,” Mr Whitmarsh said.
“As the inaugural winners, we at McLaren know just how rigorous the process of inspection is and just how challenging it is to meet all the environmental standards required.
“Rally Australia has shown great global leadership in achieving those standards and I would encourage other motor sport stakeholders to follow suit.
“But succeeding in that endeavour will be all about people and it’s vitally important that the people who work in all forms of motor sport now spur one another on to demonstrate that it’s possible to improve and optimise sustainability while also continuing to deliver high-speed, high-excitement, high-drama sporting spectacle,” the McLaren chief concluded.
Rally Australia’s award was announced last week by the FIA Institute, an international not-for-profit organisation established by the FIA – the world motor sport governing body – and the FIA Foundation to develop and improve motor sport safety and sustainability.
Organisers of the 12-15 September round of the FIA World Rally Championship developed a comprehensive environmental policy plus management and assessment tools. Community members, spectators and competitors were encouraged to follow environmentally-friendly practices.
These measures ensured there were no environmental incidents. A programme is in place to achieve total carbon neutrality by the end of this year.
Rally Australia Chairman Ben Rainsford thanked Mr Whitmarsh for his comments.
“We’re honoured to receive congratulations from Martin Whitmarsh on behalf of McLaren, an organisation with a magnificent history of innovation, technology and community responsibility,” Mr Rainsford said.
“Rally Australia will return to the Coffs Coast on 11-14 September next year, when we’ll be taking every step possible to maintain and enhance our environmental performance and encouraging all our supporters and partners to do the same.”
The Award of Excellence is the highest level attainable within the FIA Institute Sustainability Programme, which aims to help National Sporting Authorities, teams, circuits, manufacturers and event organisers to improve their environmental management.
More information about the FIA’s sustainability program is available at www.fiainstitute.com. Comprehensive information on Rally Australia’s Environmental and Sustainability Program is available at www.rallyaustralia.com.au/environment.