Founded in 1994 by Albino Parolin, the Parolin Racing Kart brand is based in northern Italy, in the Veneto region. The chassis produced in its Bassano del Grappa factory are regularly at the forefront of international competition. In addition to its racing team, Parolin Racing Kart is also involved in promotional formulae and rental karting. In charge of marketing for the family business, Marco Parolin discusses the situation of karting in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
How are you experiencing the current situation?
Personally, I have to admit that I'm lucky, because both my family and our employees are doing well. Of course, we are all looking forward to the time when we can get back to our normal routine, even though we understand that it can't be done overnight. The health issue is still ongoing, and it will probably take some time to resolve definitively. Despite the critical situation, I want to maintain a positive attitude.
How do you think the resumption of racing could go?
It's difficult to predict when we'll be able to resume international competition at the moment. Our karting community is global, and the logistical aspect is now one of the biggest obstacles. We still don't know how each country will regulate travel and public events, so we just have to wait and try to outline possible scenarios, which the organisers are already doing. Specific hygiene measures and social distancing may be necessary at the first events. I hope that at least national karting will take less time to get back on the grid, of course with all the necessary precautions.
What are the current priorities for international karting?
In these uncertain times, stability of technical rules is an important factor in containing costs. As a chassis manufacturer, I appreciated the decision by the CIK-FIA to extend the validity of the current chassis homologation until 2021. We need to assess whether this can be applied to engine homologations for the following year, in order to protect the value of the equipment that customers have already purchased and to avoid additional development expenditure for manufacturers. Now is not the time to prepare new products, this is not the main concern of users and teams.
We must not underestimate the economic impact that this epidemic could have on karting. We must adopt a flexible attitude with regard to what the future holds. It is very likely that travel will remain much more complicated in the near future. The development of timetables must take this new constraint into account. The race format could also be a subject of reflection for the difficult times ahead.
What consequences can you imagine for karting in the years to come?
In the short term, I think that some people will be more careful in managing their budgets. I think this could have a negative impact on the arrival of new drivers to the world of racing. The karting community will probably have to be more reassuring, attractive and easier to access. These are things that we are quite capable of doing.
Despite an understandable concern about travel, I am sure all the drivers are looking forward to getting back on the track. As karting is an individual sport without physical contact, the purity of the competition will not be directly affected by the health protection measures needed. The relaunch of the races may force us to face some difficulties at first, but I remain completely optimistic for the years to come, because I believe in the value of karting and the passion it arouses.