“For everything to work properly, it is important to ensure a pleasant working atmosphere and perfect understanding between all the stewards.”
The three technical “musketeers”
Supervised by Karl Janda, the technical delegate, Michel Borgeaud, Hans-Jürgen Dangers and Marcello Somera form a close-knit team of technical stewards at each FIA Karting event. Passionate words…
Michel Borgeaud (Swiss, 58 years old)
“After some experience in karting, including racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1987, I decided to become an official. I am a trained mechanic and electrician. This is my 30th season as a technical commissioner. I joined the FIA Karting team in 2016, the year the OK engines arrived. At competitions, my role is to take fuel samples, distribute tyres in collaboration with the manufacturer and check the front fairings. I am also part of the technical working group at the CIK-FIA.
“This international experience is useful when I work at national and regional level, in Switzerland or in France in the Rhône-Alpes region. I take advantage of it to teach my colleagues certain things, to explain the specificities of the regulations or to guide them towards proven working methods at international level. We have to be rigorous, while at the same time educating when necessary. However, it is imperative to sanction when the limits are exceeded. Our job is also to work on future regulations. This is a great responsibility, as they then have to be implemented in the ASNs.”
Hans-Jürgen Dangers (German, 62)
“My first contact with karting was in 1965. My father was president of a motorbike club, which also organised a kart race in my town. It was only in 1989 that I obtained my technical control licence. After being involved at regional level, I discovered the German Championship about 15 years ago, before getting involved with the CIK-FIA in 2014. I am dedicated to the control of equipment in general, and more specifically engines. We have a precise schedule to follow, but sometimes we dwell on certain points of the regulations, changing our investigations at each race. I check the leaders as well as other drivers in a random way, by looking at the fastest laps of each one. As soon as a competitor stands out with an unusual performance, we check them completely to avoid rumours. Some technicians try to interpret the rules in their own way, or even find subterfuges to get around the rules. We are there to intervene. Over the years, I have learned to distrust some more than others. In the end, we notice that there are very few disqualifications during the technical controls. The teams know that we are rigorous. They avoid taking risks, because their reputation is at stake. Finally, we have realised that it is easier to officiate at the big international events, because we are dealing with professionals who know their job.”
Marcello Somera (Italian, 65)
“My job was to work on diesel engines for cars, trucks, industrial vehicles and boats. I had to leave the company due to a redundancy plan in 2015. Since then, I have devoted myself 100% to karting with the CIK-FIA and the Italian Federation. I have never been in a competition kart, but I know the discipline well as I have been a Technical Commissioner since 1980. It was only in the 2000s that I became interested in the international scene, around the time of the transition between Ernest Buser and Yvon Léon. I had the opportunity to cover races in Macau, Suzuka and Australia. I am often present at tests with brands that want to homologate engines and I also take care of the homologation of circuits. I like what I do, it’s very interesting and I hope to continue for several years.
“I try to foster good relations with my technical colleagues. We have to avoid tension between us, by talking to each other and trying to solve problems. It’s a team effort. I hope that younger people than the current ones will step in to take over. At the circuits I try to inform the competitors when the rules change, but I also think I have a keen eye for checks, to see what might be deceptive.”
Karl Janda (German, 55)
“I got interested in motorsport early on by hanging out in the paddocks with my father, a former driver. My training as a mechanical engineer led me to work in the world of motocross and mountain biking, developing innovative suspension systems. Selling parts and data acquisition for motorsports were also part of my experience. I even had the opportunity to work for a German karting magazine, where I was in charge of the technical section. I took part in the development of the Rotax Max engine, before moving away from this field for about ten years to work in another area.
“My return to karting was with the Rexon brand, which homologated OK and OK-Junior engines in 2016. For example, I was responsible for the introduction of the decompression system, in order to make starting easier following the CIK’s decision to remove the electric starter and clutch. A little later, in June 2017, I joined the CIK-FIA as technical coordinator. I am responsible for the decisions taken concerning the technical aspects of karting. On the circuits, I hold the role of Technical Delegate. In recent years, I have sought to improve the organisation of the work of the Technical Stewards. I have set up control protocols and I solve all the problems that may arise during a meeting. The work done on the circuits then allows us to modify and improve the regulations accordingly.”
2021 FIA Karting Best-of / Photo © KSP