Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Inaugural Indian Grand Prix: Preview

As one of the fastest growing economies of the world and a sport-loving country, it is no surprise that India is the latest country to host a Formula 1 Grand Prix, the pinnacle of motorsport. There is already a huge amount of interest in Formula 1 in India; from the sale of Spyker to Force India (headed by Vijay Mallya of the Kingfisher Group), two Indian drivers (Karun Chandhok and Narain Karthikeyan) and an Indian-born Monisha Kaltenborn being the CEO of Sauber F1 team.

Preparations began for this momentous event began several years ago and there has been several promotional events to get the locals 'buzzing with excitement'. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) and Daniel Ricciardo (HRT/Toro Rosso) are two drivers who have recently participated in sponsor promo days in Banglalore and Delhi.

Ricciardo in India

Several Twitter accounts including @IndianGPF1 and @IndianGP have been updating fans of the event and regular photos have been posted by locals. Demo cars have been on display at Delhi airport for several weeks; the Force India car proving popular as it seems to have been 'harassed by fans' as this photo from @abrahamRohan shows it being held together by superglue!

F.India demo car stuck together with superglue
RedBull/Toro Rosso test driver Neel Jani (a Swiss of Indian descent) drove on the Buddh International Circuit a few days before the press and drivers arrived (see video below).

Video by NextgenAutoVideos

Track Preparations
Just 19 days ago, the track looked like this. The first wave of foreign visitors to the track have not been complimentary about the facilities, but teething problems are not uncommon on new tracks.

Video by PropertyWala

But the work is almost finished and @5LiveF1 posted these photos on Wednesday 26th October 2011.

Pit Lane (photo by @5LiveF1)
Safety Car Indian GP (photo by @5LiveF1)

Indian(s) on Track
Narain Karthikeyan (Indian driver) will replace Vitantonio Liuzzi for HRT, but unfortunately he'll be the only Indian on track during Sunday's race as Team Lotus decided NOT to let their Indian reserve driver and a big promoter of the Indian Grand Prix, Karun Chandhok race - to the dismay of several fans and F1 pundits. He will however participate in Friday's Practice session.

More details and photos to come soon.