A beacon in the horizon
The chat with Vincent Caro, CIK-FIA Executive Secretary, was very instructive, direct with no palaver and useful to explain the guidelines of the federation’s strategy for the forthcoming future. Aware of his institutional role, but in a friendly manner, Vincent talked about decisions taken by the CIK-FIA, not least that of introducing a new KF4 World Championship.
by S. Murtas
Following the recent announcement of the introduction of a new KF4 World Championship in 2010, Vincent Caro explains the line of the CIK-FIA.
Karting has always been a breeding ground for drivers, a proper gymnasium for training future Formula 1 champions and for other motorsport disciplines. And according to the CIK-FIA this is the role that karting must continue to have! Don’t forget that drivers like Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Michael Schumacher and closer to our times Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton (all F1 World Champions) started their career in karting, when everyone could afford to practice it. Because, that’s the real point of the question: we have reached a point where costs are far too high.
The fact that the federation is aware of this is a good step forward! In fact, the way things stand today, a season of top level karting costs almost as much as a season in a single seater. Result: drivers leave karting far too early in their life, but there aren’t enough drivers to replace them because of the expense.
For a normal family it’s impossible to meet the expense of a season’s racing in an official team – says Vincent – and for private drivers it’s very difficult, when you have to fight against the giants of karting. No one enters for a sports event if they know they are going to lose!
And this is where we get to the idea of a KF4 championship…
Right. I’d like to underline that this is a project that the CIK-FIA has been working at since the start of the season, after the desire expressed by FIA President, Max Mosely and the CIK-FIA President Luigi Macaluso. We must take karting back to what its original role was, that is, a breeding ground for drivers among whom we can find the future champions. However, the best way is to have everyone at the same level, create a level playing field. To achieve this, there has to be the same engine for each driver – there will be a tender for this – no brand, closed so as to prevent people tampering with it. The engine will mount a dell’Orto type carburetor, and we’ve decided to have same make tyres – remembering the problems that were encountered with the special tyres in the past – chassis is free, but with limits.
What do you mean…
As for the chassis, we will ask all the manufacturers to present a standard model for this class. Standard meaning that there will be no choice in tubes, number of curves, accessories and so on. The model will be marked with a code for the chosen chassis, the driver will choose his chassis and on his entry form the chassis code must be specified - in order to prevent changing the chassis according to the circuit, which would increase costs. The driver will race three rounds – dates are yet to be decided, but they will all be held in Europe – and with the same chassis. These decisions are aimed to reduce costs; because the more choice you have the more one tends to spend.
So manufacturers are going to lose the role that they actually have on circuits…
They will simply have a different role. Their role will be to give their clients technical support. They must give a service, the best they can, respecting the rules. That’s why it has been decided to limit the paddock just to drivers with gazebos, the same for all of them, and have the trucks parked out of the paddock area, where among other things they can set up various “hospitalities” for presenting their products – ready to help out their clients. Everything has been planned to create interest for people drawing close to karting, and up till now they’ve always been a bit in awe – so to say – of the vehicles, staff and the technology that official teams show during titled events. Tell me, which father of a ‘normal’ family today can afford to let his/her child practice karting and line up on grid with an official team? From next season, there will be a championship for all those – and there are plenty - who would like to enter for international races but now can’t afford it.
So, CIK-FIA philosophy is to draw more youngsters to the sport.
Absolutely. The first obstacle for them today are costs, and with this new formula we have worked out the expenses for equipment should work out at about 3,000 euros for each of the three championship rounds. Furthermore, drivers will be offered formation with the “Karting Accademy”, which is very important as this is reserved for drivers under 18 years of age who, let’s say, haven’t had much experience at an international level.
But how can you prepare for this sort of class? Will there be any races set up at a national level?
That’s what we’re hoping for. We’ll work hard to get national federations to follow suit with us in their home country, organizing races for those drivers interested in this class, drivers that may come from KF2 and KF3. The important thing that has to be underlined is that we don’t want the KF4 to replace the previously mentioned two classes. KF2 and KF3 will remain the same for now as they draw many karters, while KF4 will be available for those who can’t afford to race at that level.