Over the seasons, the FIA Karting Federation has enhanced its race control solutions to ensure greater sporting fairness. Around 35 cameras have now been installed on and around the track, as well as technical cameras in strategic locations such as the pre-grid and the area.
As drivers head out to the track, several people work behind the scenes watching cameras and checking for any controversial actions, in constant communication with race directors, stewards, timekeepers and all other personnel involved. Joana de Souza Falcao is one of these officials, and she has made her mark with her calm and serious style.
Joanna Souza, can you introduce yourself?
“I am from Portugal and grew up on the circuits, where my father and uncle were involved in motorsport for many years. My uncle is Victor Souza, and he is regularly called upon by the FIA Karting Club as an international host for World Championship and European Championship events. My father is a national steward and follows competitions in Portugal, both in karting and other racing categories. I often accompanied him to the rinks and became interested in this activity. I started as a club controller on the Leiria circuit north of Lisbon. I then became secretary to the stewards and trained myself for that role.
When was your first FIA Karting meeting?
“At the end of 2021, at the OK and OK-Junior World Championships in Cambellos. Then I was asked to continue in 2022 and 2023.”
What qualities do you need to do this job?
“First of all, you have to have a good knowledge of karting, the way races are run, event management and regulations. I think I needed a lot of experience in the sport to be able to take on this role and take on the challenges.” You have to be able to react quickly And correctly, and to remain focused, neutral and fair in order to ideally analyze the situation, and then produce an accurate report so that the officials around me can process the information accurately.”
So you have an overview from the start from the pre-grid to the end through the scales when checking the weight. How is the development of the race control system missed?
“We have more than 35 high-definition cameras and several control screens, allowing us to analyze exactly what happened. Image freezing, zooming in and out, fine adjustments to the speed of image scrolling, etc. The FIA Karting Federation has developed modern equipment to perfectly monitor the race.” . I must say that I work in excellent conditions. Together with my other colleagues, we have to manage a huge flow of information. Race weekends are very intense and the days are long. For example, on Saturday at the World Championships in Franciacorta, we analyzed more than 100 racing incidents at the request of race directors, while monitoring our cameras to detect other possible actions. We can check whether the drivers expected the start, and it went out of their control. We can also ask the race directors to display a caution flag if necessary, and after completion, we monitor whether the driver tries to put the front end back on if it moves during the race. In this case, the penalty is clear: exclusion from the meeting.”
It’s a role that requires a lot of travel, right?
“If you add up all the events that I am asked to manage, such as FIA Karting and other events, that represents between 20 and 25 meetings, in addition to my regular work in Portugal. I often have to take days off in order to come to the circuits. I spend a lot It’s a weekend away from home, but it’s exciting and interesting.
Is it an advantage or a disadvantage to be a woman in this still male-dominated world?
“No. I think we all want to be the best officials, whether we are men or women. It makes no difference. I am the only woman on the track, but I get on well with my colleagues and the rest of the staff.” the team.”