The new President of the CIK-FIA, Felipe Massa, made a point of honouring the launch of the 2018 European Championships with his presence in Italy. During the two days he spent at the Sarno circuit, Felipe Massa had the opportunity to observe the progress of the Competition closely and to talk with many players in international Karting.
MR. PRESIDENT, WHAT WAS YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE IN KARTING?
That’s where I learned the basics very young. I did not have the chance to race in Europe, where the best competitors are, but I gained a good experience in racing in Brazil until I was 16 years old. In hindsight, I became aware of the importance of this discipline in a driver’s career. Karting is certainly an indispensable step for a future Champion. By accepting the responsibility of the Presidency of the CIK-FIA, I wanted to return to the world of Karting a little of what it gave me.
WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER FROM YOUR VISIT TO SARNO?
The spirit of Karting is always present in these high level events. I want to say that the passion of the teams, the mechanics and of course the Drivers is always so strong, everyone gives their all to win. The racing is extremely tight and every detail counts. I am delighted to have seen exciting races. Certainly the environment has become professional and you need a solid budget to be competitive. But as I said, the sporting show is of high quality and the mentality is the same as in Motor Sport, so it is similar in relation to what I experienced in my career as a Driver.
HOW DO YOU ENVISAGE YOUR ROLE AS PRESIDENT OF THE CIK-FIA?
I accepted this responsibility with a lot of interest. My actions will not necessarily be delicate in the months to come. I need to fully understand all the parameters of the current Karting scene and meet the main players. But I am determined to fully commit to the good of the discipline by taking advantage of my experience in racing. It’s not really a job for me, it’s a fair exchange to to be able to contribute to the development of a sport that has given me a lot. I am planning go to the different events of the European Championship several times and of course to be present at the World Championship.
WHAT ARE THE FIRST DIRECTIONS YOU WANT TO TAKE WITH KARTING?
First of all, I think we need to work towards a simplification of Karting for both participants and the public. I would like it to be more easily accessible to many more enthusiasts and the CIK-FIA can give an impetus in this direction. For example I hope that we can contribute more harmonisation of regulations between different countries. The financial aspect of Karting is also a key point to think about. The efforts made in recent years in the running of meetings are very positive. The new categories of direct-drive karts have also been well thought out. We have good momentum and we can continue to move forward in other areas.
In the medium term, we will have to take into account the general trend towards electrical energy. Personally, I like the current engines these ultra-powerful internal combustion engines that remain fascinating, but we cannot ignore the evolution of the world around us. It is inevitable to prepare for the introduction of electric karts in racing. That said, it must be done safely, especially with regard to the weight of these future machines. Safety remains a priority for me, especially as the Drivers are younger and younger.