- The Inside Line
A defining week in MunichKate Walker June 23, 2014
Since the prosecution of Gerhard Gribkowsky in the summer of 2012, Munich's Formula One connection has had something of a legal flavour. But next week - for one week only - that is set to change courtesy of the FIA, who have chosen the German city as the location of the 2014 Sport Conference Week.
Before the sporting week gets underway, there will be a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council at which it is presumed that all of those hot topics that kept the paddock chattering over the course of the Austrian Grand Prix weekend - standing safety car restarts, a relaxed approach to racing incidents, and the continued use of tyre blankets, to name but a few - will be ratified and passed into 2015 regulation.
What is unlikely to become law in the short week we have remaining before the June 30 deadline for regulatory change is the notion of a cost cap or any cost controls likely to have a significant impact on the balance books of the grid's smaller teams.
But to focus on that is to focus on the negative, and summertime is no time at all for doom and gloom.
Inside the confines of the F1 paddock it is easy to forget that we - the undoubted flagship sport of the Federation - are only a small part of that body's responsibilities. The FIA's far bigger task is the coordination of its member clubs to promote sustainable motoring, road safety, grassroots motorsport, and many more besides.
While the FIA Sport Conference Week focuses on the Federation's sporting goals (the clue is in the name, after all), it is an event designed to ensure that motorsport as a whole has a long and bright future ahead of it. To that end, the week will not be F1 focussed, although recognisable paddock faces will be in attendance, contributing to the seminars and plenary sessions on offer. As will equally recognisable faces from the World Endurance Championship, Formula E, and a number of major automotive firms involved in various categories of motorsport.
Active drivers will take part in sessions on developing motorsport from inside the cockpit, while power players from the automotive world will talk about how to forge a stronger relationship between sport and industry from a boardroom perspective. Also on the agenda will be the growing role of social media, breaking into new motorsport markets, and attracting a new generation of fans.
A welcome panellist - and a timely one, given Luca di Montezemolo's recent comments about inviting major internet players to give their input into Formula One - is Alex Trickett, who may not be a household name but who is head of sport at Twitter UK.
For all those who have doubted that the FIA are being proactive with their championships, the very existence of Sport Conference Week - and the relevance of the agenda - should be proof that the Federation are not resting on their laurels, even if much of their best work takes place away from the public eye.