The top placings in FIA Karting’s international driver rankings are kids. Not 17 year old kids racing KZ or OK, but 11, 12, 13-year-olds racing Mini or Juniors.
Does that mean the rest of the world could perceive that top level karting is just about kids?
Vroom Karting Magazine recently published an interesting take on social media (copied below). Basically, the publication states it is rather unusual for a sport to have children as its top-tiered participants. Vroom makes the point that FIA Karting’s ranking of its competitors has Junior and Mini (ie, Cadet aged) drivers heading the sport. The first “senior” is in sixth.
As a point of note, there are currently (as at 8 June) two Australians in the top 100 of the IKR – William Calleja sits 40th and Sebastian Eskandari-Marandi is 78th. Both are Mini drivers.
- The full rankings are on the FIA Karting website HERE
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Vroom Karting Magazine:
Having introduced karting into the FIA supply chain has undoubtedly revolutionized the way in which this sport must be looked at. It is not at all common that the top tier of a sport’s ranking (whatever it is) is occupied by, in fact, children.
In almost all sports there are juniores categories, generally non-professional, and PROs, that’s it. Looking at the IKR (the FIA ranking of kart drivers at world level) all the first places are occupied by drivers of the Junior and Mini classes, creating the perception that the absolute highest level of the sport is expressed by drivers born in 2010.
It is difficult to think, or at least it would be anomalous that in any other classification or ranking (think of tennis, athletics, cycling …), the top was represented by athletes from 2010, and it is not a boomer’s retaliation. It is a reflection on what we expect and what level of credibility this sport at its highest level can have for the bulk of the world public, if this is in fact a sport for children.
Add to this the fact that the budget that sustains this sort of reverse professionalism is completely out of control and within the reach of very few people in the world – yes, very few in the world – the crisis of credibility is complete. It will be said that karting neither wants to nor should be credible, and that it is a preparatory phase of a much longer career: it is not really like that, in hindsight.
Karting, like any other preparatory sport, must or at least should be credible – in terms of access methods, in its ability to valorise athletes in a balanced way and suited to their age and instead we find ourselves in fact a professional sport for children managed by adults where the only intruders are perhaps the children…