FIA SAFETY CHIEF TO DELIVER WATKINS LECTURE AT ASI
Mekies' previous experience in F1 serves him well in his FIA role- Photo: FIA
FIA safety chief Laurent Mekies is to deliver the Motorsport Safety Fund's Watkins Lecture at Autosport International, as the annual event, named after the late FIA Formula One Safety and Medical Delegate Professor Sid Watkins, completes its second decade.
Laurent Mekies manages the FIA's Safety Department and works on defining a global strategy for safety in motor sport. He is also General Manager for Research at the Global Institute for Motor Sport Safety, the Swiss-based corporation that undertakes research to improve motor sport safety worldwide at all levels. Laurent Mekies was born in Tours, the French town 100km south of Le Mans, in 1977. He studied at the École Supérieure des Techniques Aéronautiques et de Construction Automobile (ESTACA) in Paris, spending his final year at Loughborough University and graduating with a Masters degree in Automotive Engineering.
Laurent began his career in motorsport with the Asiatech Formula 3 team before joining the Arrows Formula 1 team in 2001. The following year, he joined the Faenza-based Minardi team as a race engineer, taking on the role of chief engineer in 2006 after Scuderia Toro Rosso acquired Minardi. Laurent became responsible for all track operations, from the construction of the car at the factory to the race team at the track, in addition to becoming responsible for the safety of on-track operations.
At the end of 2012, Laurent was given a much broader role with the team as Head of Vehicle Performance, managing six departments working on core car performance. Two years later, he left Scuderia Toro Rosso to join the FIA as Safety Director.
Earlier this year he took over as F1 Deputy Race Director from Herbie Blash. Following Laurent Mekies's appointment, FIA President Jean Todt said: "Laurent brings a wealth of Formula One experience, and has been responsible for driving the FIA's safety agenda since joining us.
"Combining his strong Formula One history and work as the FIA's Safety Director, I am confident that he will ensure that the FIA's flagship single-seater championship continues to set the benchmark for race management and safety – a status that his predecessor, Herbie, can take great pride in helping to nurture."
Laurent Mekies will deliver the 2017 Watkins Lecture at the Autosport International Show at the NEC in Birmingham, on Friday January 13. The Lecture will start promptly at 11.15 am (doors open at 11.00 am). Admission is free but by ticket only.