The "CIK-FIA Karting Awards" ceremony held in Paris was the opportunity for the President of the CIK-FIA, Sheikh Abdulla, and the Vice-Président, Mr Kees van de Grint, to review the many highlights of the 2011 season as well as to project towards the 2012 season by meeting several Drivers, Team representatives and Organisers.
Mr Vice-Président, in what light does the 2012 season of the CIK-FIA Championships appear?
Kees van de Grint: “Firstly, we have just closed a 2011 season which was positive in many respects and has consecrated very worthy Champions. On the whole, the CIK-FIA recorded more entries in its Championships, Cups and Trophies in 2011 than in 2010, which in this period of economic crisis is remarkable. This being said, 2011 is already in the past and we are naturally focusing all our efforts on 2012. There is still a promising interest for our competitions and we have every reason to believe that the engine lottery to be implemented within the framework of the World KF1 Championship will benefit everyone. At the prize-giving ceremony I was at the same table as the ‘U18’ World Champion, Matthew Graham, and I was pleased to hear that this young and promising Driver would compete in our two World Championships this year, ‘U18’ and KF1. His Team, Chiesa Corse, will also enter in KF1 an experienced Driver, Britain’s Gary Catt. At least four engine Manufacturers have undertaken to supply engines and already several official Teams such as OTK, Birel, Intrepid and probably PCR and Lotus Karts have confirmed their participation, sometimes with a large number of Drivers. Regular contacts with semi-private and private Teams also indicate that the engine lottery is an interesting way to promote equal opportunities. The CIK-FIA is currently working on the finalisation of the conditions of implementation of this lottery, and at the same time we are negotiating with partners thanks to whom it may be possible to ensure the television coverage of the events and to contribute to KF1 Drivers’ travelling expenses.”
2012 will also be a special year for the CIK-FIA as it will celebrate its 50 years.
Kees van de Grint: “Indeed, to be oriented to the future does not exclude the memory of history, and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the CIK-FIA we are scheduling at least two special events, at which demonstrations of historic karts will show all the richness of our sport. An initial event will take place at Jesolo, in Italy, which remains a Mecca for international Karting. Some fervent Italian collectors are reviving in historic form the famous "Coppa dei Campioni", which was long a major international Karting event. This year the CIK-FIA will be associated to this revival to celebrate its own anniversary, on the occasion of a festival which should present some 150 to 200 historic karts in action, including a few genuine collectors’ items, in the presence of some of yesterday’s heroes. The rendez-vous is set at 26, 27 and 28 May 2012. Later in the season we shall use the second round of the ‘U18’ World Championship and Academy Trophy scheduled for Angerville on 25 and 26 August to show to our younger kart recruits as well as to the public a sample of those precursors of modern karts. And it will not be just a static exhibition: the time-schedule of the meeting will be adapted to enable the historic karts to carry out demonstrations on the track.”
The reform of Article 18 of the FIA Sporting Code is amongst the currently most discussed points on the Karting scene. What about it?
Kees van de Grint: “This is indeed something new which was implemented as from 1st January 2012. I hasten to point out that this change to Article 18 is not the fruit of a late discussion. The CIK Commission, within which 32 countries are represented, unanimously pronounced itself in favour of a redefinition of national events in May 2011. The proposal was then discussed, assessed and unanimously approved by the World Council in June 2011. As it concerns the International Sporting Code, the reform was fully validated in December by the FIA General Assembly, on which all the ASNs members of the FIA sit. I can understand that the rule upsets certain habits taken over the last years and seems hard to some parents or teams but on at least four occasions their delegates had the opportunity to comment or alter the new rule; and as there were no constructive suggestions we were led to think that a large majority was in favour of the proposal. The new rule henceforth requires that in order to take part in any Karting race out of his country a Driver must hold an international licence. It therefore hardly affects Drivers over 13 years old, who can all apply for international licences. On the other hand it puts a limit for Drivers under 13 years old wishing to take part in races abroad. The initial reason to justify this rule is the legitimate concern to protect children’s schooling. In the last few years several national championships and series took a resolutely international character, in breach of the spirit of both the Code and the definition of national events; this is also blatantly to the detriment of the younger Drivers’ schooling. 8 or 10 year-old children must be able to go to school in a normal and regular way; they should not have to travel throughout the world to practise Karting. The progression scale of our sport gives them a sufficient number of opportunities to obtain international fulfilment as of their 13th birthday. The amendment to Article 18 is also a reminder that, while under certain conditions Drivers are entitled to participate in national events abroad, they cannot either score or "freeze" the general classification points of a championship or series. The interdiction to be classified in a national championship is however not new as it dates from the year 2008, when the Sporting Code had already been the subject of another reform.”