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Indian Grand Prix
25 August 2011
Formula 1, the name itself is enough to cause an adrenalin rush for any motor sport fanatic. Formula 1 races are among the most popular, most viewed, and most engaging sport spectacles we have today, and yes, a ‘spectacle’ is what they really are. They have become so popular and important that countries are lining up to grab a spot on the F1 racing calendar. F1 races give a huge boost to a country’s international stature, and bring in a lot of tourism. India is the latest country to get a place on this esteemed racing calendar. Here is our take on what the Indian Grand Prix has to offer.
Indian Grand Prix is a Formula 1 race, which is to be held at the Buddh International Circuit in New Delhi, India. The first Indian Grand Prix event is scheduled to be held on the weekend from 28th to 30th October 2011, and would be the third to last race in the F1 season. The venue for the race, the Buddh International Circuit (BIC), is almost complete and is waiting for approval from the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile). The homologation of BIC is scheduled to take place on 01 September 2011.
The huge success of F1 races in other Asian countries like Malaysia, Singapore, and Korea, has accelerated inclusion of the Indian Grand Prix in the F1 race calendar. With the growing popularity of motor sports in India, the Indian Grand Prix, which promises to be a world-class event, should rival the energy and entertainment levels of any other F1 race. Metallica, one of the most popular rock bands in the world will also be performing at the opening weekend.
The addition of Indian Grand Prix in the F1 racing calendar is no big surprise as India had been vying for this place for a long time. Calcutta was the first city in India to try for an F1 racetrack way back in 1997. After that, there were racetracks in Chennai and Mumbai, which hoped to become a part of the F1 calendar. Hyderabad joined in the race as well around 2004. However, all these projects were eventually shelved.
In spite of the disappointments, the will to host an F1 race was still strong. India’s aspirations to host Formula 1 racing received a huge boost when the F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone said that he expected India to host a race within three years. Around 2007, five possible racing locations were listed for this – one in Gurgaon, other in Mumbai, a street circuit in New Delhi, a permanent track near New Delhi, and a track in Lucknow. Develops of circuits sped up in 2007 as India’s participation in the near future was likely.
Vijay Mallya, a business tycoon and chairperson of the United Breweries group, bought Spyker F1 team and renamed it to Force India. An announcement was then made that the first ever Indian F1 Grand Prix will take place in greater Noida in 2010. As the factors and time frame involved were reconsidered, the race was shifted to the 2011 season.
The construction of the circuit had a few hiccups and one of these was an issue involving farmers. To obtain the required construction area for the race circuit, land was bought from around 300 farmers. The farmers had wanted the land to be used for industrial purposes and had expressed their discontent over the land being used for sporting events. However, the issue has been taken care of and the construction of the track is almost complete.
Circuit Name and Logo
Buddh International Circuit aims to be one of the best racing venues across the globe. It was originally called the Jaypee International Race Circuit or Jaypee Group Race Circuit after the owners of the circuit. However, in April 2011, the circuit was officially named as Buddh International Circuit. The name Buddh is a derivative of the word Buddha, which signifies peace and tranquillity. It also refers to the district of Gautam Buddha Nagar, where the circuit is situated.
The logo of BIC is a stylized heart-shaped B, which refers to the name of the circuit and also to Bharat. The logo has the letter colored in saffron and green enclosing a white area. These colours represent the tricolour or the Indian national flag.
The track is a component of the circuit, which can make or break a race. A good racetrack provides ample overtaking opportunities while ensuring safety of the drivers. The BIC is being built with all these details in mind. The FIA commissioned world-renowned circuit designer Hermann Tilke for this project.
The entire circuit is a part of the much larger Jaypee Group project called the Jaypee Greens Sports City. This city will also have a cricket stadium with a seating capacity of 100,000, an eighteen-hole golf course, a sports academy, and a hockey stadium. The entire city plan is spread over an area of 2500 acres, of which the F1 circuit occupies about 900 acres. The BIC, which is at a distance of about 50 km from the nations capital, was built at a cost of about Rs 15 billion ($330 million approx. ). This track will not only be used for the F1 race but also for a Moto GP race and other smaller racing events including kart races and drift races.
Here are some of the features of this track:
Inspired by other tracks: Before the track construction began, the layout was tested in various simulators. Hermann Tilke ran the design through a lot of F1 teams and changes were made according to the feedback obtained. The design of the track takes inspiration from other famous circuits around the world, such as the double apex banked corner from Turkey’s circuit and sweeping high-speed curves inspired by the old Hockenheim circuit.
Great seating capacity and fast lap time: The track is approximately 5.14 km (3.18 miles) in length and has a seating capacity of about 150,000. The seating capacity would be increased to 200,000 in the future. The circuit consists of 16 corners, two straights and an elevation change of about 14m. The track has been designed so that it is one of the fastest on the F1 calendar. The race will last for 60 laps with an expected lap time of around 1 minute 20 seconds.
Challenges for the drivers: Tilke has designed the track to make sure that it is challenging for the drivers, which adds interesting elements to handicapping this F1 race. The first three corners alone experience an elevation change of almost 14m, which provides for a blind curve and bumps up the difficulty level for the driver. The participating teams have already been forwarded all the details of the circuit, like the length of the straights and the radii of the corners.
Tailored to please the audience: The track has been very cleverly designed by Tilke. He has ensured that all the sections, which might have overtaking opportunities, and have high-speed corners, are visible to the audience. Turns 10 and 11 are a perfect example of this shrewd design. These turns are supposed to be high-speed turns with cars expected to take these turns at about 220 kmph. They are situated on the far side of the circuit and are situated next to a grand stand having a capacity of 13,000 to allow spectators to see the action at these high-speed curves.
Team suggestions taken into account: Tilke made efforts to make the race more enjoyable for the audience, and also made sure that the participating teams would be completely happy. He took their feedback and made the appropriate changes. There was a hairpin turn planned for turn 7, but it was decided not to include it after the feedback from the teams. It was also decided to increase the width of turn 3 to allow drivers to take different racing lines.
Fast straights: The straight between turn 3 and 4 is quite long, and it is expected that Formula 1 cars will reach speeds in excess of 320 kmph – one of the fastest amongst all the circuits on the calendar.
Safety measures: Tracks designed by Hermann Tilke are known for their safety measures. This track is no different. Sufficient run off area is provided in places where drivers are prone to committing an error. Medical facilities provided are also world class, and high-speed corners have been banked to increase safety for the drivers.
Why Indian Grand Prix is Such an Important Event
There are both long- term and immediate benefits associated with hosting an F1 race. Here are some of these benefits.
- The international exposure, which the country gets, is very important. This exposure is not there for a short period. Once you are able to host the fastest and the most technically advanced cars on your circuit, you prove your credibility.
- It opens up the door for a lot of other motor sporting events like the Moto GP and other prominent kart races. Not only that, a successful race will also ensure a long-term stay for the Indian Grand Prix on the F1 calendar.
- F1 is not only one of the most popular sporting events around the world but it is one of the most glamorous as well. The advertising opportunities that come with the sport are endless.
- It is also quite clear that tourism industry will get a massive boost from this event. It is expected that the race will generate around Rs 7.5 billion ($170 million) in revenue and will provide over 10000 employment opportunities.
Ticket prices and booking
Since the track is set to undergo the final inspection on 1 September, tickets for the event are not up for sale yet. The rate of tickets has been a matter of concern for a lot of people as Formula 1 tickets are usually quite expensive, and may not suit the budget of all F1 fans in India. In most of the international circuits, the price of tickets depends upon the section you wish to be in. There are picnic spots, and then there are the various grandstand tickets. The expected price of the picnic spot tickets for the Indian grand Prix is around Rs. 2500. The cheapest ticket for grand stands would cost around Rs 5000 and the most expensive ones will cost about Rs 30000. These are just speculations and you will have to wait till the circuit gets FIA clearance.
Jaypee Sports International (JPSI), the organizer of the event, has Bookmyshow.com as its ticketing partner for the event. Call centers would also be set up to help fans with ticketing issues. It is expected that the price slab will be improvised in such a way that the tickets can be purchased by majority of the people. For the impatient fans, you can leave your email id with Bookmyshow and you will be notified as soon as the bookings are open.
Why go to the Indian Grand Prix?
For someone who is not an F1 buff, the entire thought of going to Noida and spending a lot of money to watch a race can be quite discouraging. However, a race is not the only thing, which the city of New Delhi has to offer. There are lots of other reasons for you to attend this amazing motor sport event.
Transportation will never be a problem for you as the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) has recently been upgraded to a world-class level and is capable of handling 35 million passengers a year. The circuit is very well connected to all parts of the city via buses, metro trains, and cabs. It is about an hour away from the airport and approximately 45 minutes from the city centre.
You do not have to worry about accommodations as well. There are many hotels spread throughout the city, which cater to everyone’s budget. The Indian government has also started a friendly family program to help people coming from abroad. Also, there are numerous places of historical and cultural importance that you can visit on your trip to Delhi.
Delhi is also famous for its street food, the best of which can be tasted at Chandni Chowk, Jama Masjid, and Dilli Haat. It would be advisable for anyone visiting the city for the first time to be a bit cautious about their food choices. If you are not, then you might find yourself tackling with the famous Delhi belly.
Formula 1 is one of the most watched sporting events all over the world and is sure to attract a lot of people from across the globe to the BIC. Apart from the amazing race, which BIC is promising to offer, you can use this trip to Delhi for enjoying what the city has to offer.
26 September 2011 – The Indian Grand Prix is confirmed for the 2012 F1 Schedule.