Interview at Genk with Felipe Massa, President of CIK-FIA
CIK-FIA President Felipe Massa is keeping his promise to be as active as possible on the ground. He attended the FIA Karting World Championship – KZ at Genk (BEL) and will travel to Sweden soon for the OK and OK-Junior categories. Always very available to the public, he also takes the opportunity to conduct many discussions with members of the international karting community, Drivers, professionals, organisers and officials.
Mr. President, how are the first months of your mandate going?
– My goal is to develop karting at a global level. I observe, listen and analyse all aspects of the sport, which remains the school of motor sport, in order to be able to make the best choices for the future. Karting is a complex discipline with many different categories and races. When I became interested in karting again a few years ago, I could not find my way between all the categories. It is too complicated, we need to gradually move towards greater simplicity.
The work done by the CIK-FIA on the OK categories is going in the right direction. OK and OK-Junior must have their place in all countries to make the championships more attractive and facilitate the arrival of new Drivers.
How do you see the implementation of a common definition of the Mini category?
– It was a lot of work to harmonise this crucial category worldwide for the future of karting, while keeping the costs of use within reasonable limits. It is difficult in some countries like Brazil where taxes are very high for importing foreign products. This is a real problem that deserves all our attention.
Do you have a preference between KZ and OK?
– For me, it’s OK that represents the future of karting. I am not criticising KZ, where we see the best Drivers, true karting professionals. Their presence is very rewarding in terms of the success of a Competition and to keep the passion alight, because they are the real experts. It is also the category in which I prefer to drive myself because it is the one that comes closest to Formula 1. However, young Drivers embody the future of motor sport. In OK-Junior and OK we see future champions evolving, in all disciplines, including F1. For a brand, winning the World Championship with a new Driver who may be able to become the Lewis Hamilton of the future is very important.
How is the integration of the CIK-FIA into the FIA going?
– The FIA can bring a lot to karting. I think it is important that it be more integrated within the International Federation. With its power, the FIA can help to ensure that international categories are more widespread around the world and that the rules in force here, in terms of equipment and safety, are adhered to.
The hard work carried out by the FIA to organise and simplify the different categories of single seater, from F4 to F1, is an example to follow. Applied to karting, this approach would allow us to develop our sport more quickly. The idea is to make the CIK categories into the reference worldwide. In the next five years, it would be good for all countries to follow this trend. I know it will not be easy, that there are a lot of issues to settle, but that’s my plan. We definitely need more help from the FIA, it will make us stronger.
Did you participate in the development of the 2019 calendar?
– The choices were already well advanced for next season’s events when I took office and I think I will have more influence in the future. I will try to bring the World Championship to Brazil for 2020. Karting is not only Europe. For me, a World Competition must visit other horizons. It must be a special event, felt by all to be the most important of the season and it involves intercontinental travel to contribute to the revitalisation of karting in every country.
What are your relationships with the RGMMC Promoter?
– I’m in constant contact with James Geidel, we get along very well. He is very motivated, he is a good person who always tries to do better. Since the first event, we can see many improvements. This weekend, in Genk, the organisation was excellent thanks to good collaboration with the owners of the circuit, the Lemmens family, who did an exceptional job in preparing for the competition.
Have you been paying attention to the Historic Super Cup at Genk?
– Absolutely! I love the history of karting and I am very interested in historic karts. This is a very good show for the fans and it allows everyone to appreciate the incredible evolution of the machines since the time of the pioneers. We were spoiled by the selection in Genk. The demo format is perfectly adapted to the history, it is not necessary to organise races to entertain the public.