FIA safety chief Laurent Mekies delivered the Motorsport Safety Fund's Watkins Lecture at Autosport International in 2017, as the annual event, named after the late FIA Formula One Safety and Medical Delegate Professor Sid Watkins, completed 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.
In early 2016 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.
Admission is free but by ticket only.
Register for tickets here: https://www.motorsportsafetyfund.com/watkins-lecture.html