Danny Sullivan, Red Bull and the
entire American Racing fraternity!
The "Red Bull F1 Driver Search Initiative" is an idea whose time has finally
come, however there are a few things that I hope that you/we are all going
to keep in mind!
First, where do you/they start?
That's almost as important as anything else they intend to do! Why you ask?
Well, then ask why American drivers are rarely ever considered for top
racing teams vacancy's in ANY country!
Certainly, it is not that American drivers aren't as potentially gifted as
drivers from all over the World! In fact, American drivers and riders have
made a huge impact on all kinds of racing endeavors from motocross to GP
bikes to success in many American based series. The problem is that most
American drivers never expose themselves to the European or International
teams because they do not "come up through the ranks" of European feeder
series system. The various feeder series in Europe are fierce and even may
be "brutally competitive"!
Whereas in most any American racing series, drivers are required to be
"gentlemen" or face penalties or expulsion. That is not to say "red neck
racing" should be endorsed, but rather intense racing should be provided!
More on this...
It is true that bringing up proper racing car drivers should start with
"karting"! No doubt there and few will question that comment. Where the
problem lies is with what type of karting should we be providing American
drivers? The "more for business than sport" approach is to provide "shifter
kart" racing series as the place to be to get to the next step, but is that
In Europe, "direct drive 100cc" karts are the way to
learn real intense racing amongst a large pack of competitors!
Without the benefit of either a gearbox or a clutch, these kart
racers have to learn how to extract extreme speed out of their
machines without scrubbing off too much speed in any turn or they
will be eaten alive by all of the other competitors! Flat out racing
in large packs three abreast into most any turn and it is indeed a
gladiator sport, but it raises the bar of competitiveness to where
the strongest and best talent survive! This is where the training of
our next or future F1 racers will come out of! The mental tenacity
learned here alone is probably worth it.
Gearbox karts are cool and everything, and the long standing
American method of "wet clutches" both allow too much of a crutch
compared to direct drive machines! It's "learn to be lightning
quick" or there are ten other karts ready to take away your race
position! With a clutch kart or a gearbox, the driver does not have
to push so hard constantly. No, I am not saying that shifters aren't
real race cars, because they are! What I am saying is that we need
these direct drive classes here in America and we need then NOW!
These lightning fast karts are the closest thing to F1 than any
small formula car! That is why newer talent like Rakkinen and Button
have made the jump so soon!
We also need to send an American Team to compete in the Formula
Super A World Championship in Europe every year. This is the elite
"cream of the crop" 100cc series that separates the men from the
boys! American interests should financially back a good effort that
is racing at this level! This is where Schumacher, Trulli, Button,
Fisichella and Rakkinen have all recently competed! Yes, World
Champion Michael Schumacher went there last year to compete!
Patrick Long. Phillip Giebler, Joey Hand, Alex Barron, George Mack,
Memo Gidley, Michael Valiente, Richie Hearn and a select few others
have experienced the similar Formula A rotary valve direct drive
class that has from time to time in the past been offered by either
the WKA or the IKF as National classes.
American series like NAKA "Stars of Tomorrow" , WKA/SCCA
"Constructor's Cup" or especially SKUSA "Pro Series" are mainly
concerned about shifters and seem to ignore the ever important
"Junior International A" class that has over twelve or so European
manufacturers providing piston port 100cc engines.
Instead, WKA/SCCA are providing a class later this
year for a fictional "Junior Mondial" class that has no real motor!
NAKA is waiting until next year to bring this class around.
Certainly our shifter drivers need a break, and the new ICC class is
pumping up the blood, but so does the Juniors! That is where we will
begin to develop the "killer instinct" that is going to be required
to get American drivers considered at all! Europe is even
where the Brazilian fathers send their sons go to train! That is
where Senna went to compete with the legendary Parrilla brothers and
begin his road to stardom! Senna competed in 100cc direct
drive and finished second, but never won it!
Sponsorship has always been another problem! Japanese companies that
support teams usually require Japanese drivers to be considered for
at least one seat of any two car team! English, Brazilian and other
European companies usually require the same thing! Mainly, it is
required that one driver on that team be of that companies own
countrymen! When large American companies sponsor F1 or other major
International series efforts, they NEVER require an American driver
be concerned strongly! This should change as well! If everybody's
doing that, then American companies should too!
In conclusion, I feel that we need European classes of karting here
in America, especially "direct drive" classes and we need to form an
American team to contest the karting World Championships in Formula
Super A! I could go on for hours, but this should get the point
Here's to ICA, JICA and ICC!
Danny, Red Bull, America, put Memo in F3000 or F3 for a season and
then get him into F1! Help support Patrick Long and Phillip
Giebler who are already over there as frontiersmen and are trying to
blaze a trail the correct way!
Kwik Kart Racing