After calling time on a 14-year Formula 1 career, Felipe Massa is set for a new challenge. Last week he was named as the new president for the Comission Internationale de Karting (CIK). Massa takes over from Shaikh Abdulla Bin Isa Al Khalifa, who held the position from 2011.
Massa takes over after some exciting times in the Karting world. The introduction of the OK engines in 2016 brought a new level of competition in the sport. It took karting back to its direct drive roots while also lowering the costs to compete. The news also comes off the back of the news that RCMMG will be the new promoter for the CIK European Championship. The company has been responsible for the Iame and Rotax euro series over the past few seasons, and takes over from WSK who made history as the first private promoter of the series in 2013.
The last 6 seasons haven’t been without controversy. The 2015 introduction of the drop-down noses initially posed a safety concern, as they had a tendency to drop under the kart, making them impossible to steer. In the UK, there have also been cases of driver being penalised for knocking the bumper on a kerb, despite being nowhere near another kart.
Massa himself is no stranger to karting, having started his racing career at aged 8 in Brazil. He was also well known for organising a charity race in his home country from 2005-2014. The event saw names such as Fernando Alonso, Rubens Barrichello and even Michael Schumacher on the entry list. Schumacher is also the only driver to have won the event twice.
Massa will serve alongside Vice president Kees Van De Grint, another former Formula 1 man. Kees was an Bridgestone tyre engineer assigned to Ferrari during the Schumacher days. Kees has been in the position since 2011, so will be more than capable of helping Massa in his new role.
Words: Tom Gibson @WA10Tom
Image: Formula 1