Friday

Establishing Tradition: The India F1 way







Mention the track at Greater Noida and the first image that springs to mind is the vast expanse of land (very Shanghai-ish!). Huge expressways that zip you to Buddh International Circuit, a race track for us normal folks, if you will!:)

Manicured, landscaped edges, well-marked directions, massive car parking for every stand within the stadium – unadulterated joy.

The only two flaws, I can think of (1) lose sandy dust of Greater Noida - a horrendous nightmare post Sunday race, when 95000 people and perhaps another 30,000 cars exited the stadium. We were enveloped (literally, physically and mentally) by a thick haze of dust cloud all around us, making for zero visibility. I am no scientist but I'd say it’s a deathly combination - mix of dust, pollution and vehicle smog, so tough to breathe.

(2) The pit exit. Far too dangerous, must be changed for 2012. It may get a bit hairy during the race

Some memories of the race track, the stadium, the stands, the paddock - the track is far steeper than it looks on tv. I can only empathise with the people who sat in the North Stand for instance who had a steep climb to make to reach their seats! Fortunately, for us our parking was very close to our stand and I didn't have to walk up much. I did, however, while on my exploration on Friday, walk about, from a level below the paddock to a level above the pitlane. That was steep. Huffed and puffed all the way! But had to simply do it for the thrill of it

Friday afternoon was unadulterated pride and joy. ‘Pride’, for witnessing, an epic international gigantic stadium, with India debut-ing in the World of Motorsports.

‘Joy’ for seeing Massa’s scorching pace of 1:25.706 the fastest lap in P1. Massa not only left his arch rival Lewis and Red Bull champ Seb behind, he had his own team mate Alonso eat dust when he hit the chequered flag! Such a promise Friday held out for Sunday, for a Ferrari fan like me…I was clearly expecting a repeat on Saturday and on Race Day, 30th Oct 2011

In the midst of the races on Sunday a follower on twitter, asked me about DRS, while I did explain in the short time before the Race began, I do want to touch upon the Drag Reduction System

DRS was designed to facilitate overtaking, because no matter what the rule makers have tried, it seems that once the car gets within a second of the car it is chasing then it is impossible to overtake them. The fans have been crying out for more overtaking for years and last year;s dry races were not exactly thrilling to watch.

There are the purists who say that this is all bad for the sport and that F1 is pandering to the masses while ignoring the hard core fans. But how could they have enjoyed the races how they used to be? I find it mystifying myself - as far as I am concerned, in 2011 we have great racing, good strategy and interesting stories after each race.

We didn't have these dry races before. Wet races were/are exciting. Feel strongly the need for more overtaking and fixing the dirty air problem. We now have a formula that works great and has fixed all this, yet there seems to be a lot of people still unhappy. Maybe F1 has had too many drastic rule changes over the years that it now has an identity crisis- maybe people's perceptions of F1 is governed by when they started watching it?

I personally think DRS and other rule changes for this year are going to make for great racing and the best season in years! I just hope the FIA continue to tweak it so that we get more races like China and none like the dreadful Abu Dhabi finale last year.

Seb claimed his 13th pole of 2011 F1 season in Delhi on Sunday Oct 30th 2011. It was also Red Bulls 16th pole victory. What a record!! Well done!

McLaren's Lewis was 2nd quickest in practice sessions but started out 5th as was given a 3 place penalty (for being black-is the accusation?) dropping him behind Webber, Alonso and team mate Button. A pity really.

This race proved nervy for Button, suffering from poor grip thru this season. Button had used up all 3 sets of soft, opting for a single run in Q3, his quick lap was initially under fire as he sped thru yellow flags while Massa was busy going off! As this incident was unfolding, Buttong avoided the penalty by the sheer skin of his teeth

For Massa of course, the race season hasn't boded well. Don't know what's the planetary alignment for him and Lewis and why the 2 gravitate so towards each ther ( Massa and Hamilton could well be driving in the desert and they would find a way to crash into each other) such is their magnetic pull for the other! Massa from Friday, had been pounding kerb 9, and every-time he flew into the kerb, I was ready with my camera! O the dust he left in his wake definitely posed a bother for the oncoming traffic ...who surely would have cursed him:)

I don’t have much to say about Fernando Alonso. He has Schumi’s ambition and hunger, he is driving like a maniac possessed. I maintain what I tweeted, no TV camera can even get close to showing the extent of Alonso’s ambition, his ability to stretch possibilities with every single point. You can hate Alonso as much as you will, we at #Ferrari love him! He is definitely our ace for the next season!

I could go and on and on about the races, such is my passion for this sport, but will conclude this post. A word must be put in for the Jaypee group guys! The much touted India Formula 1 GP success is indeed more for them, than for the Mayawati Govt or the Centre. Well done guys! The GP is not the sole sporting offering from Jaypee, soon they will be throwing their doors open to an international cricket stadium – and boy o boy! Cricket and F1 combine can’t go too wrong now, can it?:) Jaypee group made the inaugural F1 Grand Prix of India a cracking success. So from me, it's a heartfelt thank you for putting on a great show.

I can hope and wish fervently that the passion burns bright amongst the local population – motor racing is no fun when all you do is annoy the locals. So hoping all the land disputes are settled amicably, the locals well and productively employed and absorbed within mainline existence, while the rest of Indian fans throng to see the next year’s race.

A reality check - while the rest of the world has given up on the idea of making profits from any other sport (barring Inida on cricket) I have a fair sense that Jaypee Group may actually do a Harvard case study to demonstrate how they cracked the sports business model to deliver profits from the Indian Grand Prix!:)

India, take a bow, you have made yourself world proud! From a mound of earth, a great facility has been created. It'll get better from here!

14 comments:

RavneetSingh said...

Palpable energy. Very keen to see all the photos from the race. How was this one different from the others you've seen?

Shweta said...

The long awaited date finally culminated! And what an affair it was to remember!:)

john said...

I was so looking fwd to the this race in India, unfortunately Destiny took me away to Africa. I can feel your passion completely for Motorsports, Loved reading the post! You are understated abut your 'fanboy' status of Ferrari!:)

Anon said...

Brilliant post Mee! I am not too much into F1, but found your post educating, enlightening and entertaining! A great read! Liked the way your narration goes - especially the pace! And boy! - you know a lot about F1! Am impressed!

Ajoy V

Anon said...

Wasn't aware that you would be present at the race too.
It was an out of this world experience for me considering this was my first F1 race.

Brian

Anon said...

Nice!!

BTW, I've shifted, bag and baggage to Bombay. So, let's catch up one of these days.

VD

Anon said...

Oh My you certainly are into this sport!! :)

PP

Mee said...

@RS: Very different at many levels - for one, India sked needs to be placed on the calender in a cooler month- Oct end was simply not cool enuff!:( At another level< knowledge of crowds (as compared to the rest of the world) awfully poor in India...motorsports has a long way to go here. The track was awesome, very world class, not sure what can be done for the flying lose mud tho...

@Shweta - was good catching up with u at the circuit:)

@John - u missed an awesome opening and u missed the pride in real time:) Hahaaa my fanboy status is only for some to know:)

@Ajoy - If you talk to the pro's - my knowledge is way weaker in comparison:)

@Brian - sorry we cld'nt meet at the track, but good to know u had fun:)

@VD - will do!

@PP :):):)

sanjiv said...

Hey M! Lovely post!

Huge for and against lobby for F1 in India - while it is an edgy sport, many argue, does India have crying priorities to sort and settle in comparison to investing in a rich mans sport.

Never a dull moment in India, the action is here.

pony_123 said...

what a great blog.. inspired..truly.. F-1 rules.. india great job done.. chak de india
!

gita said...

Mee, u forgot to mention the utter complete benchmark of safety in Formula1.

Of course it will never be 100% safe because like anything in life, accidents do happen. The truth is, you n I have more confidence in those drivers being out on the track in their F1 car than out on the public roads on their bikes!

Thnk God for nomore accidents like the past

Anon said...

When i got your vacation reply i knew exactly where you were!
Oct's will now be in Delhi for you :)

luv
FM.xxx

Rajj said...

Hey u no fair living. We mortals slave day after day while you go happily travelling to all parts of the world :D

We caught the Singapore GP_ that was my 1st. We remembered u a lot thr. So India seems to have gone alrite too. Glad abt that

God Bless

Neeraj said...

India has done a great job with this track. It's really too bad they couldn't deliver when it was on World Stage during CWG!