The Importance of Karting

Every driver on today's F1 grid will have participated in some form of karting, at one point in their life.

Karting is a brilliant way to learn car control, and how to carry speed into a corner, whilst also teaching you respect for other racers and the ability to go wheel to wheel without getting too nervous.

To find karting tracks near you, click the link to visit the British Karting website.

One of my favourite clips. It just shows how well karting built Lewis Hamilton's skills in overtaking, which he is now able to apply to F1. 

 Getting Involved

In the UK, there are loads of different karting types and series. You can go to your nearest club and ask them about their next tournament. You'll probably be eligible for it, provided that you own a kart - with the required specifications.

It really is that easy. Karting is a self-managed sport. You don't need a huge, rich team, or a large, dedicated PR division. You just need a means to transport your kart, and the money to maintain it - tyres, fuel, engine work, and the occasional upgrade to suspension/other parts of the kart, to make it more fun to drvie!

The Karting Championships are governed by a sub-division of the FIA, which is known as the CIK-FIA. (Commission Internationale de Karting.)

There are two main karting 'formulae' - 125cc, 2-stroke engines, and 250cc, 4-stroke engines.

The 125cc engines are used in the 'KF(x)' series - with KF1 being the top band, and then being followed by 2, 3 and 4.

The 250cc series is known as the 'Superkart' championship. A 250cc engine has a lot more power, and in that respect can be harder to drive, although both kart specs are great to learn on. They have competitive international championships for both.

If you would prefer to stay in the UK  for all your race meetings, there's a British championship, with many different levels, which are all part of the 'Super One' formula.

Why Kart?

As aforementioned, karting helps you to build the skills you need for racing in open top cars.

The keyword here is confidence.

You will learn how to have confidence when in a pack, as many people are spooked when they find out how close they must race to other karts. Remember, even 30mph feels like a lot in these!

You will become confident through the corners, both in your kart's ability, and in your own ability to carry a certain amount of speed into corners. This will be very important in Formula 1, as if you can qualify in a good position, with a faster lap, then you will be in a better position to take the win on race day.

You will also develop a driving style that suits you. You may end up setting cars up to match your driving style, so that you feel more comfortable. Having a certain driving style is important, because it is an example of the fact that you are starting to feel at home in the car.

Finally, karting successes, videos and certificates are a great way to persuade potential employers to sponsor you.

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