Vinayak feels that what is touted as the first step to single-seat racing is increasingly out of place in Indian motorsport...
Whether it is in the MMSC MRF National Racing Championship or the JK Tyre National Racing Championship, I have found the arguments to keep the LGB 1300 or the LGB F4 series going very unconvincing. At least as it exists now.
The cars have, for a long time now, been pretty shoddily built machines that have gone through problems of bits falling off them during a race after the slightest contact to engines being oddly placed. There have even been instances of short circuiting of the wiring during rain affected races or cars simply unable to handle prolonged periods of running on full throttle.
Pretty much the only things the cars have going for them is the format in which they are raced, where individual teams run them – rather than being centrally controlled – which allows for freedom in driver selection.
Older drivers and those with not as much access to resources find it easy to put budgets together but those drivers deserve better than what they are getting. I am convinced of this no matter how many close races I see with these cars. Not to mention the safety provided by these cars is highly suspect, even more so than the safety of a circuit like the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore.
Drivers themselves are, all too often, eager to just get their foot in the door somehow when it comes to racing and tend to overlook these drawbacks. But surely there are better ways to spend Rs. 6.5 lakhs (the approximate budget for an LGB F4) season.
So far, those responsible for making these cars have claimed that they don’t receive the kind of funding necessary to build a car that actually have some relevance to drivers out of karting. If that is the case, then JK Tyre or the MMSC-MRF partnership would be well advised to loosen the purse strings. Either that or take inspiration from a country that doesn’t even have an FIA Grade 1 circuit and has never hosted a Formula 1 Grand Prix.
I am talking about Finland here, a country so serious about the discipline of karting, that they have levels within karting that start from the junior level to that where drivers race karts capable of over 200 km/h.
And it’s not just for show or for the heck of it either. Karting is considered as the basic step for anyone truly serious about getting behind the wheel, be it on a circuit or a rally stage. Given the state of the LGB F4s and 1300s it is not even too extreme to suggest doing away with them entirely and instead focus on building a proper karting infrastructure that goes all the way from the scouting level to that of professionals.
Mira Erda is an example of how karting from a young age can help in higher categories and it is very likely that Shahan Ali Mohsin will benefit from a solid foundation in karting as well. And for further proof, of course, one need look no further than Jehan Daruvala who was discovered in the JK Tyre National Karting Championship – something that the company does not sponsor anymore, claiming that it has gotten more expensive than some forms of car racing.
Well, when karting puts a driver on a path to success in proper single seat racing, then it is a no brainer for their families to invest so much in it. If there was actually some benefit for a driver to race in LGB F4 and 1300 – beyond fleeting publicity – then India’s first GP3 and FIA European F3 winners would have taken a stab at it after karting as well.