Words (of wisdom)?

Columns: Opinion
The FIA wants to expand the foundations of the motorsport pyramid and chooses karting – fine and good. The challenge of deciding how to do so is, however, difficult. (f.m. photo ksp)

"Mass Inclusion Initiative". Doesn't just the thought frighten you? Seriously, the words of the FIA ​​regarding the promotional drive that it intends to implement for our sport at the “regional” level (therefore local, at the level of individual countries on the basis of common protocols) create great expectations. Why do they reach this point, in the middle of a quiet and flat (boring?) racing season, a pandemic and an economic crisis whose end is not yet clearly in sight and alas, in a moment of relative "stasis" of promotional activities, inevitably slowed down - in some cases zeroed - by the health emergency of the last 18 months? 

Because if on the one hand we raced, sold, billed and everything seems to have continued without major jolts (ask the manufacturers and the karting BIGs), on the other hand it was impossible not to ascertain that the crisis had occurred, and how!, that many tracks are suffering a major crisis, not to mention the whole Rental sector and the major contraction found in the world of amateurs and aficionados. So maybe it's not karting's “best moment ever”, but rather a key moment to understand what this sport wants to do when it “grows up”. As things are, it's now always either one way (the “glam” karting of the 25 karts under the awning and the swish of F1 talent scouts in the paddock looking for drivers with pacifiers in their mouths to sign a contract for the F1 of 2035) or in the other, namely, the desolation of a sport that no longer has a true and proper base, mass or pool of practitioners. 

Such a wide or profound gap between the apex and the base - which as mentioned by now is no longer even clearly identifiable - cannot be a starting condition, because any solution one thinks of proposing has no margin of success, as it would be a matter of putting hands on too precarious balances or equilibrium. 

When we talk about running OK “in accordance with the ASNs” what are we talking about, exactly? 
Let's think about our situation, because Italy, in addition to being the country we love, is the country we race in: in what context is the FIA “dropping the bomb”? Let's be honest: who are the drivers of this elusive one-design class supposed to be? Where are they now? How old are they? 

Because it must be said that today, in Italy, to run a season in a single-brand series - a single-brand series!!! - one spends sums like a house mortgage (ask Hamilton's dad)  and at the end of each year we see the flowering of the World Champions of “Grandfather's Cups” - as we have already got tired of saying a thousand times.
So in the hypothesis of a "monotype or single-brand/type kart" approved by the ASN, which obviously would be motorized OK, what do you do with the Brand Trophies? Who tells what to those involved in categories who'd made their own goose that lays them golden eggs? 

One. If we want to take another stab, deeper, let's think of another aspect: it is prefigured in the Mini-OKJ-OK framework, which in fact "forces" drivers to start a hypothetical path that starts from the Mini and that starts from the ages of 7-8 years: for various reasons that we have dealt with many times here, it is not always said that "the sooner you start, the better"; on the contrary, many parents have experienced firsthand exactly the opposite and in any case we cannot speak of inclusion where for a child of 11-12 it is already "too late" to get on a go-kart. If we are really looking for "talents" and if we really want to fish in the "pool" we must (they must) decide where to do it and at this point one must feel comfortable starting a journey in karting even beyond the ages of 10/12 years.
If the FIA really wants to rebalance motorsport starting from karting and if it wants to do it seriously, and if it wants to do so by mentioning concepts such as inclusion, one must also and above all work on the apex of the pyramid, where you make your debut in F1 at the age of 17 and you find yourself unemployed because you're “not winning a World Championship” at 21, with 15 years of racing behind them. 

Created by: cggiuliano - 27/07/21

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