Sguerzoni (Intrepid): top-level karting needs credibility

Columns: Interview
Mirko Sguerzoni needs no introduction: founder of Intrepid, chassis manufacturer and talent scout of many drivers who have landed in Formula 1 and professional motorsport in general, he talked to us about how high-level karting should be rethought from the ground up. The starting point in a concept that generates discussions even in the topmost board rooms: budget cap and a clear distinction between titled and non-titled races. (f.m.)

What do you think is the state of health of karting today, 2023?
«Let's start in order: the health status of karting is the health status of competition, primarily. I personally think that many of the dynamics of existing championships should be modified. On the one hand, to make it easier for new drivers to enter this world through "minor" championships, and on the other hand to guarantee that manufacturers can compete against each other at the highest technical and sporting levels in "titled championships." This basic distinction I think is fundamental; otherwise, there’s no way out: when I say "minor championships" I don’t mean to belittle anyone, let me be clear. It goes without saying, however, that it doesn't make sense that non-titled races - that is, those that are not a European Championship or a World Championship - have the same hyper-professional approach as FIA races, and more importantly similar costs, practically committing drivers and teams for 12 months of the year. There is only one World title: it is the one that should determine the pinnacle of this discipline - in my vision we should have an FIA Championship spread over 10/12 rounds accessed only by the official teams, the manufacturers' teams, and that’s it.
This would allow the constructors, both large and small, to do the technical development together with the "factory drivers," a figure that would begin – return, I’d say - to make sense again. In this way, we would avoid the paradox of official manufacturers, today, competing against highly professional teams that use their same materials roughly all the time at the same tracks, one Sunday after another: in essence, I, as a manufacturer, have to compete and defeat those who use my chassis in a continuous competition that in the long run becomes counterproductive as it raises costs disproportionately, costs which no longer have a limit and become unsustainable for many.»

And what do we do with the competitions you call 'minor'?
«As I said before, it's about reorganizing and giving each competition its due. As Intrepid we believe that today there are several 'non-institutional' championships and competitions - we know what I'm talking about, don't we? Then there are also, going down a level, branded trophies and championships created and run by the manufacturers themselves that to a good extent, they too, do not serve the interest of karting and drivers, but simply the organizing company. I personally believe that some single-brands constitute a distraction and often an erroneous "path" for those who intend to pursue a career in the sport but I still wouldn’t dwell on these, however, which have somehow achieved an equilibrium of their own for a certain audience. Going back to the 'non-titled' races, what I would like to clarify most is that their role should be to constitute a 'racing laboratory' where private teams compete against each other to promote the various brands on the market. Official teams should not be admitted to these races, and I think there should be direct supervision of the Federations, and to get back to the institutions: to reduce costs that are otherwise out of control: a sort of natural 'budget cap' would be created, because in this type of races the rules should provide for limits to pre-race testing days (and we all know instead that the drivers have already been on the track since Wednesday or before...), to the use of a maximum number of engines, chassis, and tires, etc... I think that the solutions are within reach and not even too difficult to put in place; we have been talking about them for how many years? But too often they find obstacles in the conflicts of interest of a private nature that characterize our sport.»

What do you think of Minikarts?
«Here again, I feel I’m going quite against the grain, I don't think it is absolute evil; on the contrary. Minikart is fundamental to ensure a future for motorsport, the propaedeutic category par excellence now needs to be safeguarded and here too: it should be conferred international titling, and only from this passage will the class for the large number of children first approaching the track really become that formative category that it aims to be; no longer so many minor races, but Championships under FIA supervision. Were it up to me, this program should be supported by external, independent teams, perhaps directly linked to the parent company.»




 

Created by: fmarangon2 - 05/01/23

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