from FIA Karting
“I intend to be strongly involved in the CIK-FIA’s new project to develop the basis of our sport.”
Since 11th October 2021, Alban Martinet is the new Executive Secretary of the CIK-FIA. He replaces the German Kay Oberheide, who retired mid-season. A distinguished driver in the 1990s, the Frenchman has held various positions related to karting during his professional career.
CAN YOU RETRACE THE PATH THAT LED YOU TO THE POSITION OF CIK-FIA EXECUTIVE SECRETARY?
I started as a driver in 1991. Two years later, I finished runner-up in the European Intercontinental A Championship, in a class with over 130 drivers. Each driver competed in seven Qualifying Heats, then a Prefinal and a Final for the best, with only four tyres and one spare to manage from Qualifying to the Final!
The following year, I tried my luck in Formula Campus, the equivalent of F4. I finished second. I won at Le Mans on my debut in Formula Renault, but I had to stop due to a lack of budget. When I returned to karting in 1997, I finished runner-up in the European Formula A Championship. That year, I achieved pole position in the World Championship, but the success was not there. After that, I invested in my professional career.
WHICH COMPANIES DID YOU WORK FOR?
I first joined the team at the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy. This position led me to work on the organisation of numerous events, including the Karting Masters, which were linked to the CIK-FIA. Then I was recruited by Tag-Heuer, before joining Sodikart to develop the Rotax Challenge in France, the Bridgestone Cup and to launch the Sodi World Series for example.
The ACO was then part of my career. I took part in the organisation of several international events, including the World Championship in 2015, two European Championships, and the FIA Karting Endurance Championship as part of the 24 Hours of Karting.
HAVE YOU FOLLOWED THE MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS IN INTERNATIONAL KARTING IN RECENT YEARS?
Of course I have! I was able to appreciate the arrival of OK and OK-Junior engines. When I went around the paddock, I saw how much the drivers and professionals liked them. I hope that we will be able to extend the influence of this type of engine in the world. The appointment of a promoter to improve the attractiveness and visibility of karting and the desire to increase sporting fairness with the introduction of front fairing fixing kits were among the changes that had a positive impact on the sport. In this respect, all the work carried out over the last few years is to be commended. The FIA Karting events present grids of quality and quantity grids, we have to be delighted.
A FEW DAYS AFTER YOU JOINED THE CIK-FIA, YOU WENT TO THE FIA KARTING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP IN CAMPILLOS, SPAIN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Beyond the sporting aspect and the race which crowned two promising young Champions, the quality of the organisation of this event must be underlined. I took the opportunity to meet many people in the paddock. I also noticed that my predecessor left behind a close-knit team of officials and I am delighted to have started working with them. For me, the quality of human relations is paramount, both in the field and in our offices in Geneva.
AT THE BEGINNING OF JULY, THE FIA WORLD COUNCIL APPROVED A GLOBAL STRATEGY TO PROMOTE THE DEVELOPMENT OF KARTING. WORKING ON THIS SUBJECT PROMISES TO BE EXCITING…
The international top level plays its role perfectly as a showcase for karting, but it is essential today to increase the number of drivers from the grassroots and to create bridges to attract them to competition.