What can still be done in the kart-F1 duo?

Columns: Editorials
When the press room of a kart track is crammed with journalists, we can only be pleased. It is our job, it is our sport, it is our world that is about to be told. But being the center of attention does not necessarily allow you to get the right message acros (f.m.)

If we stop at the photo of Lando Norris surrounded by festive kids in the paddock, we are perhaps missing a piece of history. Let's take a step back – and here in this magazine, we have already dealt with it when we talked about “signed” frames - and let’s be clear: this presence is undoubtedly positive.

Even just two photos of a Formula 1 star in a national newspaper or in the regional news can only be good for karting and somehow foster its promotion and popularity. However, let’s reflect on 1) what the "fruits" of this promotion in the medium-to-long term are; 2) in what ways could these presences be maximized in terms of the final result.
We have seen it in other sports such as football [soccer] where it caused a sensation that individual teams (now real companies often listed on the stock exchange ..) on a "collision course" with institutional bodies for trying to create their own Super League, so as to promote one's own product and show, or entertainment value, in a more profitable and independent way from the Federations and from a certain way, considered obsolete, of managing sporting events and promotion.

Coming to our world, it is no mystery that sometimes - see midsummer disputes on the World Cup in Brazil - manufacturers, call them "big brands" if you like, are in disagreement with the federal bodies so much that they acquire and stand at opposing and unshakable positions, if and when you don't get a true and proper fighting match. What, then, is the point: that between the two, manufacturers and the Federation, it seems that we have never really understood how to really promote this sport: we only talk about it on those sporadic occasions when some famous driver (or Team Principal: read Wolff and Vasseur ..) comes out declaring that "the costs of karting are insane".

The usual indignation, a couple of vitriolic interviews released by ex-this-or that to fuel the dispute, but then nothing, if not total silence or worse still, the ritual of declarations made for the occasion by those who promise that he indeed has the future of this sport at heart. And the houses, manufacturers, what do they do?
They try to promote their product as best they can, and rightly so: they study new products, even just new liveries, but they place their bets, pitch a product, put something in the playing field: the faces of the drivers, for example, and that's already something. However, we have the impression that this is not enough, especially if at the press conference on the presentation of a new "kart", 90% of the questions to kart driver Norris, say, are from journalists who have never seen a live kart race, with questions focussing on the next F1 race, so as to shift attention almost immediately from the product (the kart) to the protagonist (the driver).

Well, we, and others in the sector, would like the kart and the driver to continue to be seen as a single reality, as part of a world that can and must still make everyone dream, not just the kids in the paddock of a World race, who already know what karting has been for at least 10 years very well, because perhaps in turn they are the children of a kart driver or someone who comes from the sector.
The kids at home, they’re ones we are interested in, that interest us: they are the ones who could ask their dad or moms to take them to a track to drive a go-kart because they have never seen one before!
True, there are few drivers who in the history of a niche sport - such as motorsports - have managed to really speak to the masses (Senna? Schumacher? Zanardi?) But we think that in the current generation of very young Formula 1 stars there is the germ of a great communicative capacity and it is a pity that there is no real support from the Federation for promotional events in karting, before even this or that brand. The companies have done their part, and the drivers don't mind putting their face or name on it, we understand this.

It is time  – maybe with a F1 calendar with a few less races (so as to have a few more weekends to dedicate to promotion) - for even the motorsport institutions to try thinking outside the box and dare promote karting with several tailor-made events. There is no shortage of organizational tools and technical material, for sure, and today, unlike the 80s/90s, practically 100% of the drivers racing come from high-level karting. Virtually nothing is missing, except for the "field days" of or with F1 drivers to become a little more frequent and a little more authentic (a contest or race at the end of the year with all the drivers? Are we asking too much?): We are sure that they’d more than happy to!

Created by: cggiuliano - 04/10/21

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