FIA President Jean Todt expressed his enthusiasm over the advent of technology in the world of sports and in motor sport in particular.
Todt was present in Las Vegas last weekend for the very first Formula E eRace which pitted professional drivers against SIM racers in a high profile event with a $1,000,000 purse.
Along with Formula E boss Alejandro Agag and McLaren executive Zak Brown, Todt was on a panel exploring the benefits and challenges technology poses for professional sports. The discussion was part of the three-day Sports Business Innovation Summit, part of the 50th annual CES.
The panelists agreed that the impact of technology on every part of modern life – notably sports – is undeniable.
"You go into a restaurant, you go just about anywhere, and you see everybody in their own world, using mobile devices," Todt observed.
"Clearly, this new technology is a new opening, a new way to access all sport. It can be motor racing, it can be tennis, it can be anything – it’s all part of the sport technology phenomenon.”
Todt said the FIA and Formula E were building the motor sport fan base with apps and other digital innovations that create connections between fans and their favorite drivers.
"It’s something new, it creates interest," he added.
Interestingly, all the panelists expressed confidence that technological innovations being made on behalf of sports will ultimately benefit all of society, pointing for instance to how Formula E is playing a role in familiarizing the public with electric vehicles and the impact this will have on the future of road safety.
"Clearly, it’s given [electric automobiles] a lot of visibility," he said.
"The new technology creates innovation as well. All of these new technologies are essential to saving lives all over the world," Todt said, pointing out that much of the world doesn’t enjoy the technological innovation featured at CES.
"Much of the world doesn’t have access to education, law enforcement, working infrastructure. In many countries, technology is still to come."