1Thursday, 22 July: Raffaele Chiulli, President of the Union Internationale Motonautique (U.I.M.), the world governing body of marine motorsport, has vowed to spare no effort in unifying Class 1

Attending last weekend’s BMW Norwegian Grand Prix in Arendal to host a series of U.I.M.-led initiatives and seminars on safety, headed by Bob Wartinger, and on the environment in conjunction with representatives of the governing bodies of the world’s leading motorsports, the FIA, FIM, FAI and UNEP, Chiulli was clear that he will “not allow the sport to split apart”.

Commenting on the current situation in Class 1 and what can be done, he said “I think we are certainly in a transitional phase. Not only powerboating, not only Class 1, but I think many sports sectors and disciplines are right in the middle of the [economic] crisis which everybody knows about.

“So we, as the international powerboating federation, need to be very close to our national federations, to our teams, to our drivers, and to listen to them and to have an effective and constructive dialogue.

“Class 1 today is certainly suffering in terms of numbers of participants, in terms of venues which have to be cancelled at the last moment for various reasons, and also for the fact that – still being in this transitional phase – I think Class 1 is not yet as united as I would like it to be.”

Asked what he can do as head of the U.I.M. to reunite it [Class 1], Chiulli was very clear. “A very few and simple things,” he said. “I inherited a situation where I found an organisation which was dealing with Class 1 – this was the WPPA.

“Since I was elected, I have spared no effort to reunify Class 1, reunify the sport, and I think I was able, with the full support of Saeed Hareb, with the full support of the WPPA and IOTA, to try to, rather than splitting apart, put together all the good things, all the main positive elements. This is not enough. I have very few but very clear ideas about what needs to be done to bring Class 1 to a different level.

“Firstly, we need to be more cost-conscious, more cost-aware, we need to engineer more cost-cutting measures.

“We need to discuss with our technical experts, with our local organisers, with the teams, the drivers - taking not just a top-down approach, but also a bottom-up approach - where we come out with a format that is cost affordable.

“Secondly, we need to broaden the participation base and I think by setting very clear, very simple, not subjective rules, we have to come back to the credibility level that will allow us to gather more nations, more participants, and we don’t need to fall into the trap of giving privilege to any of our nations, to any of our teams, and I have committed as President of the international powerboating federation, to making sure that there is going to be a fair and competitive environment.

When questioned about the rumours of a breakaway championship, in effect Class 1 in another jacket, Chiulli made his position clear. “My view again is very clear and very simple. First of all, I like to honour commitments, I like to honour contracts. There is a contract in place with a U.I.M.-contracted promoter which I will honour to the last moment of that contract.

“I am not interested in rumours I am not interested in talks. I am interested only in facts.

“The fact is that we are the organisation, the sole organisation, which can award intercontinental titles, and I am not after finding a promoter of the promoter or a promoter of the promoter who will assist another promoter. I want to slimline the chain, I want to slimline the bureaucracy, I want to reduce the number of unnecessary layers – why? Because we need to be very lean and clean, in terms of cost, in terms of structure and I think we need very clear rules and responsibilities.

“We have on one side the institution and on the other we need to have the promoter. What the institution has to be is clear. In our statute and our bye-laws we are transparent. The promoter has to deliver certain duties, certain tasks, and this is very clear. So I am not interested in any rumours or any talks, just facts. The fact is that I will honour until to the last day the existing contract.

“And I am not interested in finding a wealthy rich man or a government who is going to inject just purely money into this discipline, because this is not our goal.

“Our goal is to have a sustainable project for the future which is affordable, credible and reliable.”

And when asked if somebody were to approach the U.I.M. to run a parallel championship, in principle with the same boats, would the U.I.M. sanction it and did he think there was room for two championships or just the World Championship, he responded categorically in support of one championship. “There is no room at all for more than one championship. I want to protect all our contracted U.I.M. promoters.

“There is no room for a parallel championship. There is only room to unify the sport and not to split it apart.

“I will not allow this sport to split apart - this has to be clear.”