Pushback bumpers: a never-ending story

Columns: Editorials
Before the rules and penalties, "it was" the bumper, first front and then rear, conceived to increase safety. Criticism of the much-discussed rule is often a real attack on a certain way of conceiving the kart’s protective structure. What is often overlooked or dismissed is that karting is a contact sport.

We have always liked to give expression to constructive criticism and never as in this moment, is there a need to look at this rule and its implications with a critical but realistic eye, proactive, and not as an end in itself. In the forthcoming issue of Vroom we have collected different opinions, so as to convey the idea that there are various points of view and most of them are valid, whether they support the rule or want to cancel it. Enforcing the rules is not easy, but writing them is even less so: it's not a job to be done on an emotional high and it's almost never "good at the first shot or tryst". We need everyone to have their say, with intellectual and sporting honesty, thinking not only about what this rule "took away" from them, but also about what it "gave us". The system is clearly improvable and some are working to make it more fair and reliable. There is still much to be done, but by taking all voices into account and not polarizing the debate, we are confident that this rule can be improved.

However, if we think about how the introduction of the rear bumper and the pushback bumper rule, seen by many as "the absolute evil", has at least "calmed" the aggressiveness in certain phases of the race, we would not be honest in not recognizing that the POSITIVES are clear, obvious. The starts in the past, especially in the junior or equivalent categories (at the time of the introduction of this element there was KF3 as a FIA youth category) were really very aggressive, with many drivers ending the race at the first corner. Today it happens less. On the other hand, and let's be clear that we are not talking about contacts here, but about how the driving style has changed during the race; karting has lost a lot of its spectacular aspect, or entertainment value, in tight battles, literally bumper-to-bumper. Today drivers are afraid of penalties and so a tight brawl, an overtake on the limit, become much more difficult.

As the path taken by SKUSA shows, the way to improve things is made of tests, experiments, analysis of results, adjustments and sometimes a few steps backwards, to then resume working in the right direction. However, by clearly identifying the reasons for a problem at its root - and many, thinking about the solution, have thought that this is more related to the work of the stewards during the race than to the removal or not of fairings from the karts (times have changed, it would not make sense) or to the blunt abolition of a rule - we are sure that a solution may be at hand.


 

Created by: scorradengo - 26/01/22

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