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November 02, 2023 3 min read

Formula One's appeal has skyrocketed. Ever since the release of the Netflix documentary Drive to Survive, which focused on the sport.
Twelve races set all-time audience records, with the 2022 Miami Grand Prix being the most watched live Formula One broadcast in American history.

Many of these fans, meanwhile, may not be familiar with the inner workings of the sport because they are new to it. Let's examine how drivers begin their careers and assess the worth and significance of childhood karting.

Karting Explained:
Most Formula One fans are familiar with karting. They probably understand it, though, as a kind of entertainment or leisure that people can partake in on a free Saturday afternoon. The youth karting circuit has served as Formula One's talent pipeline for many years, as new fans will soon discover.

Although these are rigorous programs, there isn't any online sports betting available for these races. Drivers must pay to compete in the amateur sport of karting. That's where many, if not most, of your favorite Formula One drivers got their racing start.

Guys with a solid racing background, such as Max Verstappen, came into karting, but other drivers, such as Lewis Hamilton, are examples of gifted individuals who succeeded on their own.

How do drivers get involved in karting:
As mentioned, the majority of drivers begin alone. Hamilton has frequently discussed his upbringing, beginning when his father gave him a radio-controlled car when he was five years old. The following year, Lewis's father purchased him a kart and started participating in races when he placed second against adult opposition in a national British Radio Car Association championship.
This is how most drivers start off. They start racing after building or buying their kart. As they triumph, team managers notice them because they follow young karting and are searching for potential. When Hamilton first met Ron Dennis, the future head of McLaren's team, he introduced himself, asked for an autograph, and stated that he was hoping to compete for McLaren after winning the British cadet championship.

How do drivers take the next step?
After winning his first kart championship at the age of ten, bets began to be made on Hamilton to win a Formula One race by the time he was twelve. Many saw right once that he was an exceptional talent. Hamilton is perhaps the best Formula One driver of all time, but other drivers are not like him.

Most drivers in the young karting categories put in a lot of work with the hopes of becoming noticed by someone. Eventually, the aim is to secure a spot in a feeder series for Formula One. To assist drivers in making the transition from karting to Formula One, The Federation Internationale de L'Automobile launched the FIA Global Pathway from Karting to Formula One in 2014.

Based on this, Formula One teams created programs for developing drivers in order to identify talented kart drivers and provide them with financing or a position in their feeder series teams in order to help them advance. At the moment, Haas is the only team without a program like this.

Through these initiatives, teams can sign a contract with kart drivers. Although access to the team's facilities and seat opportunities in Formula 3, Formula 2, and IndyCar are provided by the contracts, an F1 seat is not guaranteed.

Why is karting still important? 
It could seem that karting is less important with the rise of these driver programs. Driver programs, however, are not perfect. Teams have come under fire from many for their poor pay and unjust long-term contracts, which make it difficult for drivers to leave when a spot opens up with another team. A real-time illustration of this is the drama involving Oscar Piastri and Alpine.

Unlike Formula One, where the weakest car on the grid could never hope to compete against the greatest, karting is a true measure of a driver's talent. To be sure, some karts are better than others, and drivers who can afford more often have access to better machinery. In karting, the differences are less significant, so that the best drivers can succeed.

The Future of Karting:
Karting is still the greatest way to enter into open-wheel racing despite systemic critiques since it strives to be more egalitarian to all drivers. Michael Schumacher and Hamilton are two instances of drivers that rose through the ranks purely on merit and without outside money.The most gifted drivers nearly invariably find their opportunities to compete at the highest levels of motorsport through karting.

 This is a summary of an articel written by Troy Francks, you can view the original here.

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