|21 December 2016|
The CIK-FIA has published more 'Best Of 2016' interviews, this time Giancarlo Tinini (CRG) and Ricky Flynn (RFM).
Flynn in particular makes some interesting and valid comments, saying there has been a general decline in the quality of drivers and that rather than decrease the age for karting classes, there should be an increase in the minimum age to go car racing.
The President of CRG SpA and Tinini Group SpA, Giancarlo Tinini is an influential personality in Karting. CRG, one of the most successful brands in the history of karting, achieved many successes in 2016. In addition to the world title for Paolo De Conto in KZ, Pedro Hiltbrand became European Champion in OK and established itself in the International Super Cup for KZ2, while Fabian Federer clinched a new European crown in KZ2. Victories for the brand from Desenzano were also numerous across the world.
I think thatracing has experienced a radical transformation, mainly due to the emergence of brand challenges. This has created some confusion in the marketplace. A resurgence of the federal categories would be good to make the sport more understandable.
The figures show a fairly similar situation in the last 7 to 8 years. But factories like ours have had to adapt to the evolution of Karting, diversifying our offerings to meet diversified demand, which is not always easy to manage. I am convinced that sport should come first in the long-term concerns of everyone, because the period just past divided the energies in our industry.
Like the other historic brands in Karting CRG has a great reputation in the world of racing. Therefore, winning is our prime objective. It is always difficult to quantify the benefits of success, but it is certain that it has a significant impact in terms of image. A potential buyer needs to know that the equipment he has chosen will give him the best chance of aiming for victory. This motivates our incessant research and development work where our products are constantly improved.
There is no doubt that a professional Driver is needed to improve our products daily. This is essential in KZ, and also in the other categories. A "top-driver" is always able to operate his equipment at 100% and can provide all of the precise information to advance the chassis. They are also an indispensable asset in aiming for victory.
Honestly, I'm pleasantly surprised. At first I was a little sceptical, but I must say that these categories are very attractive. The OK engine has plenty of power. Of course, the weight reduction has helped to achieve this level of performance. The minimum weight in OK may still cause problems for some drivers. At the end of their first season, I think these categories are positive for the future of karting.
Continuously at the pinnacle of International Competition since 2013, with its two European titles and three world titles in KF and KF-Junior, the British team RFM negotiated the arrival of new OK categories without difficulty in 2016, in particular taking theEuropean Championshipin OK-Junior with Finlay Kenneally.
The introduction of new OK engines has not fundamentally changed our work or our performance. It got easier with the removal of unnecessary elements like the clutch, starter motor and electrics, which is a good decision for everyone, including financially. The technical developments, based on proven engines, are minor and reliability is not an issue. The OK-Junior has benefited from the maturity of the KF-Junior to attract a large number of participants in the first year. OK must prove itself more to attract a wider range, with the downside, in my view, of a very low minimum weight that eliminates Drivers over a certain size.
The season has been more difficult regarding tyres. Obviously the tyres provided were not always of the same quality and this caused performance variations. It is not easy to explain to a young Driver that is not necessarily him responsible for a sudden drop in competitiveness. We worked on our chassis to reduce the discrepancies, but it was impossible to compensate entirely. The lack of consistency of the tyres in 2016 was a real problem.
The best solution would have been to raise the age for cars because it is the main problem. I favour a points system similar to that of the Super Licence. If a young driver wants to go to cars at 16, he should previously have been proven in the European and World Karting Championships. I am very concerned about the risks that are taken and some young Drivers are not experienced enough for cars. I cannot imagine the consequences of a severe accident. Lowering the age to access the Junior and Senior categories by a year improves the situation somewhat by allowing young people to learn for another year in OK for example, but this is a stopgap.
It must be recognised that there is a relative decline in the general standard of Drivers, whether in Karting, Junior and Senior, or in cars in F4 to F3, GP3, GP2. If you look ten years back, you realise that there were then about 30 good drivers on the starting grid while there are now only about 10 with real capabilities. This is clearly the result of learning in less advanced Karting because of being too young to go into cars..