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'Dusty' Indian track praised

2011-10-28 07:56

READY TO GO: The Buddh International Circuit will play host to the inaugural Indian Grand Prix on Sunday.


NEW DELHI, India - Formula 1 drivers anticipate plenty of overtaking in this weekend's inaugural Indian F1 GP after their first view of the Buddh International Circuit on Thursday.

Wome drivers had concerns about the amount of dust and dirt on the surface before Friday's first practice session they were enthused about the good overtaking opportunities and intriguing undulating design.


The track was designed by Hermann Tilke, designer of most of the newer F1 tracks. It has wide entrances to curves which allow drivers to choose various lines, aiding overtaking.

"It is a new sort of philosophy with this overtaking, getting the circuits very wide at the entry," Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher said. "It offers a good tactical perspective for overtaking, for having a good show, and will I hope make the Indian fans enjoy F1 after this weekend."

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso said the Buddh circuit was similar to some of Tilke's other tracks - a long straight followed by a twisty middle section - but welcomed the use of a more flowing final sector.

"This one looks very interesting, especially the last sector," Alonso said. "It looks very quick. Reality is very different to the simulator - we will see on Friday."

McLaren driver Jenson Button compared the circuit to Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and Suzuka in Japan - high praise as they are often cited as the two tracks most relished by F1 drivers. He was especially enthusiastic about the blind entry to the Turn 3 hairpin, which is at the crest of a hill and so similar to the famous Eau Rouge turn at Spa.

"It looks really good, it is going to take a few laps, may be a couple of hours for the circuit to actually clean up driving about," Button said, "but the layout; they have done a really good job. It has a good design, the entry to corners looks good for overtaking."


Drivers were likely to be cautious in Friday's first practice due to the lack of rubber on the dusty surface, with consequent low tyre grip levels.

"It was still very dusty I should say," Force India driver Adrian Sutil said after his track inspection. "Still very dirty so we will have to see how it will be on Friday morning."

With the Drivers' and Constructors' championships decided in favour of Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull team, the final three races of the season have less at stake, and Alonso said this could benefit the spectacle as drivers may be "more aggressive" and "take a risk in qualifying."

Vettel has played down his quest to equal the records for most race wins in a season - he must win all three to equal Schumacher's 13 - and most pole positions - he needs two more to equal Nigel Mansell's 14 - but said history beckons in other ways.

"People say 'what is the motivation' but we are racing for the Grand Prix of India and it's the first time we are racing here," Vettel said.

F1 officials have confirmed there will be two DRS zones on the circuit rather than the standard one. The DRS - or Drag Reduction System - zones allow drivers to open the rear wings on their cars to catch up to the cars they are pursuing.

Stay with Wheels24 for the F1 weekend.

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