In Defense of Luca Corberi

Fifteen Year Ban From Racing

The FIA has effectively ended the aspiring racing career of 20 something year old Luca Corbieri. For the next decade an a half, he cannot compete in any FIA sanctioned events.

After getting crashed out of the karting world finals race at Lonato, Corberi threw his front bumper at a competitor. The public temper-tantrum could have severely injured his rival. The FIA considered a lifetime racing ban for Corberi, but at the International Tribunal in Paris, the FIA handed down a 15 year suspension instead. Corberi can compete again at age 38…it may as well be a lifetime ban.

Corberi’s disgraceful actions made international headlines, and he was caught in a wave of fury on social media. Racers around the world piled on the criticism of Luca’s actions, and he was ‘cancelled’ from karting. Bad guy defeated. The end.

Yet actions nearly as bad as Corberi’s happen each weekend at tracks around the world. In car racing, professionals are seen throwing gloves and even helmets at rivals cars, slowly passing by under yellow flag conditions. In karting, racers intentionally crash into competitors in retaliation for on-track transgressions.

The FIA made an example of Corberi. But the real problem is a lack of respect for competitors, for their safety, all in the blind pursuit of racing glory. This problem is bigger than one racer, and that wasn’t addressed by the FIA. The culture of racing needs an attitude adjustment.

Luca Corberi is the Darth Vader of international karting. The good guy is always the hero and has no character arc. But the bad guy has the chance to see the mistakes he’s made in the past and become a force for change. Corberi deserves the opportunity to atone for his sins, and be a catalyst for change. By engaging with young racers, coming up through his family’s Lonato track, Corberi could help teach that dealing with frustration and mental stress is a core skill of a good racer. That conduct on and off the track is critical to success, especially these days when everything is being photographed or recorded. Luca could be on the road to redemption, by teaching racers not succumb to the dark side.

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