French Formula 1 driver from 1990 to 2001, and active in motorsport until a short while ago, Jean Alesi has been at his son Giuliano's kart races since 2013.
With his experience, but also because their father / son relationship is more relaxed than average, he provides an insight on karting today.
Jean, how did your get into karting?
Karting is the essential gateway into motorsport. This is where young people learn the basics of driving, technique and race management. Giuliano has always been immersed in the racing atmosphere and logically he wanted to compete. I admit that I delayed his starting as much as possible. Not out of fear for him, but because I am convinced that we must let children enjoy their carefree youth. Competition requires a minimum level of seriousness and commitment, it is a very tough environment.
Do you think that young people start too soon?
I am not in favour of starting early. I regret that the federations have yielded to pressure from manufacturers and teams to decrease the age for moving to cars. In my day, you had to have a driving license, so over 18 years old, to drive a racing car. This made sense. Being able to take the wheel of a car that goes well beyond 200 km / h before the age of 16 seems unnatural.
Still, experiencing racing alongside your child is a great adventure?
Of course, these are special times. Personally, I am not too stressed or too intrusive about Giuliano. I am there, but I especially take care to get him to bed early and give him a good diet. The rest is for him to learn by himself. I never give him driving tips!
What did you think of karting on arrival in the international paddocks?
How different to races of my time ... Now everything is very professional. The standard is extremely high, both for the drivers and technically. It is a beautiful sport. In contrast, I was shocked by the failure to comply with certain safety rules such as slowing under yellow flags and contact, sometimes violent, between the karts. We really need to change attitudes. I was talking about lot of it with Michael Schumacher who also followed his son in karting and we were both in agreement on this point. Michael had also worked on the introduction of the new front fairing fasteners to reduce contact. In cars, there is no question of contact with others, as their design does not allow it.