C1 - IOTA CHAIRMAN TO STEER RELAUNCH OF CLASS 1

 Thursday, 6 May: IOTA’s newly appointed chairman, Mohammad Al Jaidah, has called for new rules which will enable fairer and less costly participation in the Class 1 Championship, with the aim of promoting the entry of new teams who can compete at the highest levels using a sustainable budget, a revision of the Class 1 rules to adapt raceboats and the racing format to new market requirements and the setting aside of any divisions and self-interest, as part of his plans for a relaunch of Class 1.

Speaking after chairing his first board meeting in Dubai last week, he said “First of all, I would like to thank you all for the trust that you have accorded me by appointing me as the chairman of IOTA for the next three years.

I am particularly honoured that the responsibility has been conferred upon me for guiding Class 1 towards a relaunch. This is especially necessary at this delicate moment in time that has seen a reduction in the number of participants in this, the most important powerboat series in the world, despite continued interest on the part of a number of prominent venues.

Another source of pride for me is the fact that, for the first time in this Association’s history, it has been decided to entrust the chairmanship to somebody who is not also the owner of one of the teams participating in the Championship and for this reason too, I will be bringing all my commitment and experience I have acquired in many areas and various specialist branches of powerboating, in order to repay the trust that has been invested in me.

As many of you will probably know, today my main activities in Qatar are related to environmental problems, which, together with those matters connected to safety, will definitely be the inspiration for my work in the service of Class 1.

This, my first message, as well as giving the thanks that are due, has the aim of advising you of what emerged during the course of the UIM Offshore Professional Committee (OPC) meetings in which I took part as a representative of Class 1 and of the IOTA Board of Directors. At these meetings, I, together with the two executive vice chairmen, Gianfranco Venturelli and Per Carsten Michelsen, confronted the various problems relating to the management and future prospects of Class 1.

To summarise, the following indications emerged from those meetings:
• The management of the sporting side of Class 1 was entrusted to the UIM, which gave full operational responsibility to the Offshore Professional Committee presided over by Ahmed Al Romaithi, which includes representatives from all areas of the sport. The Committee has been guaranteed complete autonomy in decision-making, with the decisions in any event to take account of the interests and roles of all parties concerned.

• The rules relating to safety, which had been prepared during the winter break by the WPPA technical officials and already circulated on the occasion of the first event of the season, were approved in essence and will come into force starting from the next event in Norway.

• The OPC welcomes any suggestions and proposals for new rules for the near future which enable fairer and less costly participation in the Class 1 Championship, with the aim of promoting the entry of new teams who can compete at the highest levels using a sustainable budget. Our Association must therefore give the necessary strategic indications which OPC will develop from the technical-sporting point of view.

• A further objective which was determined in the longer term, is that of revising the Class 1 rules so as to adapt the race boats and the racing format to the new market requirements. In this case, too, it is necessary for all ideas to be addressed to our Association in order that we can prepare a mutually agreed proposal.

• The IOTA Board analysed the difficult situation of the 2010 Championship and, given the willingness of the LOCs to proceed and the guarantees of participation on the part of the Victory, Welmax and Abu Dhabi teams, as well as the probable confirmation of the participation of other race boats, the Board decided to confirm the events already on the Calendar.

• Given the requests which have been made by several of the P1 teams to take part in some Class 1 events and in any event, given the need to offer the local organisers some compensation for the low number of boats participating in the Class 1 races, it was decided to give the Evolution P1 category the opportunity to hold their Championship at the venues on the Class 1 Calendar. We are waiting for the UIM to comment on this since, following the withdrawal of their promoter, they are running the Championship directly. We are hoping to receive a positive reply on the matter within the next few days.

• Again in consideration of the particular prevailing circumstances, the incentive monies in the amounts as guaranteed in recent seasons will, in any case, be allotted only to those teams which are in a position to guarantee their participation at all the remaining events of the 2010 season.

• The volition remains to entrust the promotion of the Class 1 Championship to a promoter who will handle the development of all commercial opportunities, with the aim of also providing financial support to those teams with more limited economic means, via a marketing and communications strategy aimed first at consolidating and then at developing the “Class 1 product” in all its component parts. In the next few days, once the projects which have been presented to us have been evaluated, the definitive choice will be made and, in any case, the promoter must start working immediately for this season.

I am fully convinced that these decisions – above all, those relating to the direction which Class 1 must take for the future – are what all those who intend to participate and invest in our Championship expect; I am, however, equally convinced that it is only by setting aside the divisions and self-interested conduct which have characterised the recent history of Class 1, and with the assistance and support of everybody, that we will be able to achieve those goals which we have set ourselves.

For my part, I am ready to put at your disposal all my enthusiasm and sporting experience for the good of Class 1.

I remain, in any event, receptive to any positive suggestion and, looking forward to seeing you soon, I send you my very best regards.”
06.05.2010