OPEN LETTER TO THE CIK-FIA IN WHICH THE CHIESA CORSE TEAM EXPLAINS WHY IT WILL NOT TAKE PART IN THE 2012 KF1 WORLD KARTING CHAMPIONSHIP
After participating in several editions of the World Championship and winning the last two, it is with great regret that I hereby announce that Chiesa Corse will not take part in the next KF1 World Karting Championship.
There are various reasons for our difficult choice.
First of all, I am not at all convinced by the decision that will make it possible to intervene on engines only inside the parc fermé. Allocating engines based on random draw is one thing, but precluding mechanics from working with all the best tools their van can offer and confining them to the track’s parc fermé is a whole other story. The risk is ending up with situations at the limit of practical feasibility. Let’s suppose a Manufacturer has made a technical error and at the end of the first round of free practice all drivers using a specific model end up with a “gripped” engine. It is unthinkable that a single technician, inside the parc fermé, could possibly fix all damaged engines in time to allow all affected drivers to participate in the following round of free practice.
Secondly, there is the issue of costs: mechanics will not be able to offer their support to drivers, due to the excessive expenses of the system foreseen. According to the new regulations, in fact, even if following a single driver, every Manufacturer will have to supply 10 engines for each of the five scheduled rounds all around the world and will draw the engine to be used in a race from this lot. This decision risks of turning away all those Manufacturers who would not be able to absorb the considerable costs involved.
Another point regards the decision according to which a driver may be asked to change his engine and take up the one used by another participant, at any moment of a World Championship weekend. While we appreciate the desire to foster equal opportunities for everyone, this decision completely erases the professional ability of the single driver. The way an engine is used, how much it is put under stress, and taken to the limit by driver A, in fact, will differ compared to driver B; with the risk that driver A, perhaps more careful and more experienced in evaluating how an engine should be handled in different moments of a race weekend, might end up with an engine close to the point of breaking in decisive moments of the race. In addition, in as much as official drivers may accept the decision in keeping with their team’s choices, this is unlikely to be the case with private drivers who, paying out of pocket to race, will hardly agree that the high-performing engine they are using all of a sudden be taken away from them.
Another possible consequence of the new regulatory decisions, which could offset the entire work of a weekend, regards engine “accessories”. While engines are to remain in the parc fermé, the same does not apply to cabling systems, carburetors and mufflers; and yet, despite the difference in procedure, these elements will also be involved in the process of switching engines between drivers. And this means that the unchecked “accessories” of an engine may not meet regulatory requirements and thus end up compromising an important race.
I would also like to point out something else: I can understand the reason for wanting to “shuffle up the cards” over the course of a race weekend: engines being allotted by drawing, the Federation changing engines between drivers… However, I believe these kinds of rules are more suited for amateur races on rental karts, in which it is perfectly fine if participants, in the name of having fun, exchange karts (and maybe even grid positions) at the end of race 1, in view of race 2. Yet, I believe it is an entirely different story when it comes to a top-level world championship. In this case, the professional ability of teams, drivers, and mechanics should have precedence over everything else. The recent decisions taken by CIK-FIA regarding engines do not allow single participants to show their professional competence, since the race of any given participant could be compromised by the use of an engine received from another contestant with a different degree of professional expertise.
These are the reasons that motivate Chiesa Corse’s decision to not take part in a competition it has always held dear and in which it has recently played a key role. However, the 2012 championship does not present those base conditions that were defined, as CIK-FIA states, by long discussions between the major Manufacturers. At this point the obvious question is: if Manufacturers had truly desired these new regulatory requirements for the KF1, why didn’t they also adopt them for WSK Promotion series?
Last but not least: I remember a recent world Championship, the 2010 edition, that had a very high number of entries (over 100). It would have been sufficient to pick things up from there if the goal was to develop a winning formula for world karting. It would have been enough to add an extra day to the race schedule to allow for a greater number of heats, something lacking back then. In addition, to protect so-called “private” drivers, it would have been paramount to eliminate special tires and require instead the use of tires homologated by CIK-FIA, without having to resort to the current payment by “leasing” solution. And drivers should be guaranteed the possibility to find tires for the world championship at any retailer in the world.
Instead, the decision has been made to completely overturn the 2010 format (even raising the total number of matches to 5certainly does not help privates’ participation in the World series, on simple economic grounds) with the result that it has now become a serious problem to find enough drivers willing to race in the 2012 World Championship. We await to see how the new format, which according to the Federation aims at increasing private participations, will actually manage to attract new drivers who are not supported by official Teams.