Interview: Dino Chiesa

from CIK-FIA

Born in 1967, Dino Chiesa is one of the most respected and iconic team managers in the paddock.

His career started as a driver in 1980, then quickly as a technician from 1984, where he supported the victorious karting careers of drivers like Alessandro Zanardi, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Nyck De Vries, Lance Stroll and many others.

He has reached yet another dimension by starting to win with its own chassis brand KR. This new machine is already a champion, which is also to the credit of everyone around him throughout the season and who have been faithful to him for a long time already.

Dino Chiesa of Kart Republic (pic – CIK/FIA)

YOU HAVE ATTACKED A SECOND YEAR WITH KART REPUBLIC AND THE KR CHASSIS, WHICH WERE HOMOLOGATED BY THE CIK-FIA ON 1ST JANUARY, 2018. WHAT FIRST ASSESSMENT HAVE YOU MADE FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE ADVENTURE?

Honestly, I am very happy, the current situation exceeds my most optimistic forecasts. Creating a team with my own brand of chassis was a project I had had in mind for some time already. Since last year, it has become a reality and I do not regret it.

DID YOU EXPECT SUCH RESULTS IN THE FIRST SEASON OF KART REPUBLIC IN 2018?

The FIA Karting World and European Champion in OK was something incredible. Of course, I thought I could do the best in this category. For the previous two years, I was team manager at CRG when Pedro Hilbrand became World Champion, then I held the same position at Zanardi when Danny Keirle took the world crown. I am also fortunate to have a strong partnership with the IAME factory, which provides me with high performance engines.

IS THE GOAL NOW TO WIN AS MUCH IN OTHER CATEGORIES?

The teams that race with our chassis have allowed us to win many victories in the Mini categories and in the brand challenges. We also have had great satisfaction in OK-Junior and KZ2. In 2018, Rick Dreezen became FIA Karting World Vice-Champion in KZ with a KR-IAME package. This is encouraging because the engine is still under development. The Pex brothers now use our chassis, so it will be interesting to see how the rest of their season will unfold, using TM Racing engines.

KART REPUBLIC IS CURRENTLY A LARGE TEAM. YOU HAVE ALSO FORMED PARTNERSHIPS WITH OTHER ENTITIES. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT IT?

Thomas Braumüller’s TB Racing Team was among the first to trust us and he managed to take Hannes Janker to the title of European Champion in OK in 2018. Hannes also finished as Vice World Champion. Last year, Nico Rosberg wanted to get involved in karting and he turned to me to take care of the technical part of the Rosberg Racing Academy. Together, we put Lorenzo Travisanutto on the road to the world title.

Since the start of the season, Sauber Racing Team has wanted to be present at all stages of motorsport, from Karting to F1. We are in charge of the two karting drivers, Dexter Patterson and Joshua Dufek.  Rickard Kaell, who has been working with me for a number of years, manages this pair. As another team involved in both karting and cars, there is CV Performance Group, which runs Lorenzo Travisanutto in 2019, with several victories already!  The KR brand can also count on other private teams.  It’s true that all of this is a lot of responsibility. The day-to-day management remains difficult, but it’s also very exciting.

WHAT IS THE STRENGTH OF KR TODAY?

Apart from the equipment, I can count on excellent technicians, whom I trust, because we have known each other for many years. Some have been there since I launched the DC-one brand in 2003. At that time, I had not managed to build enough structure to work in the long term. From now on, everything has changed! This is proof that the human factor is of great importance at all levels. We must manage very young drivers, but also their supporters, as parameters to take into account. Today, I have more time to think about technical and strategic choices.  We have about 45 people working with our drivers.  Each of them spends more time at a track than with their own family!

VERY OFTEN YOUR DRIVERS MANAGE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE COMPARED TO THE COMPETITION. WHAT IS YOUR RECIPE?

First of all, it is essential to have a chassis that can come straight from the assembly line and be effey in all conditions, with as many different tyres as possible and with settings close to those recommended as standard by the manufacturer. This objective implies perfect tube quality and adapted parts: seat, stub axles, rear axle, etc. In this way, it’s possible to concentrate on the details, knowing that the most important thing during a race is the use of the tyres and the choice of their pressures. Making them work at the right temperature is crucial.

IN THE END, IS THE ROLE OF THE DRIVER STILL IMPORTANT?

Of course, I even think it’s essential to win. In OK or Junior for example, at least 80% of the finalists have the equipment to win. Only the best manage to reach the podium. 

Please share!