Responsible for the race track as well as for the Prokart Raceland rental karting centre in Wackersdorf, Bavaria, a distributor of karts and competition equipment, organiser of numerous national and international Competitions, Stephan Fritsch is also a former driver and now a driver's father. That means he has a complete vision of all the issues facing karting at the end of April 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic is raising many questions.
What is life like in the current situation?
The current situation is demanding for all of us, everywhere in the world. In Germany, we have been stuck for six weeks. We are usually very busy at this time of the year when both rental and racing are in full swing. But now nothing's happening, everything's frozen.
On the other hand, the privacy is not so bad. This strange period allows us to be less stressed and to spend more time with our families. In Germany, we don't have very strict constraints during confinement. For example, we can do sports outside and schools are already reopening.
From the company's point of view, it's different! During the shutdown period, we have to use our financial reserves to continue paying our staff and also pay all other fixed costs. Our company is 23 years old now, with many ups and some downs as well, but our concept is solid and we are thinking positively about the future.
We are currently working hard on the track to make some improvements and embellishments! We have reinforced the electrical connection in the paddock to have more than enough power. We are also building sanitary facilities with showers for the paddock. We always try to stay on top!
How do you see the resumption of competition?
We don't know how the epidemic will develop in the future. But one thing's for sure, we're going to have big problems this year. We still don't know what travel restrictions there will be in each country and for how long. We are in close contact with our government and we have already drawn up health protocols so that we can reopen our site. Our government prohibits major events until the end of August, but we don't even know what exactly a major event is. Therefore, unfortunately, we have to wait until these things are clarified. We hope that we will be able to open for training and small national races at the end of May and for international races at the end of August. There will undoubtedly be specific restrictions that will have to be taken into account.
What are the current priorities for international karting?
The entire karting community must work together to overcome this difficult period. If teams, drivers, tracks, manufacturers, organisers and the whole industry get involved together to defend the interests of our sport, we will succeed. Of course there will be efforts to be made, especially in terms of costs, but we will survive this crisis and better days will come for this beautiful and professional sport.
How do you see the future of karting?
It is difficult to predict what the consequences will be for the next few years. We will probably have fewer drivers and teams at international level. I think that the national series will benefit at first, and then many of them will come back on the international scene. We will all work together with passion!