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2011-10-27 10:13

SCRAMBLE TO FINISH: Last minute finishes are done at India's Buddh International Circuit, designed by Hermann Tilke.

Carsten Lappe

NEW DELHI, India - Formula 1 track architect Hermann Tilke is nervous, as usual, ahead of Sunday's inaugural Indian F1 GP and expects the return of the sport to Africa to make it fully global.

Tilke told the German Press Agency dpa he expects the maiden race in India outside New Delhi to take place without a hitch and that the country was justly on the F1 calendar now.

"Everything is fine. The track was accepted without any problems," said Tilke of the 5.141-km Buddh International Circuit.

"I hope that the main things work: the whole technology - for the teams, the journalists, for the visitors, for the drivers, for everyone. That is our main concern.

"Everything takes place on short notice so you can't do any testing. Little things do go wrong at a first Grand Prix, that's just a fact.

"You are always nervous, there is no routine."


Tilke, 56, a former touring car racing driver, has been responsible for the design of all of the latest F1 tracks. Upcoming projects include the track in Sochi for the first Russian GP in 2014. The Indian course has three fast straights and 16 turns of various degrees and speeds, plus gradient changes as well for a true test of driver's skill and equipment reliability.

"It's a combination of slow corners and high-speed straights which flow into each other. The altitude difference is extreme, rather like in Spa or Turkey, which will give the driving an additional element," said world champion Sebastian Vettel after simulator tests.

Vettel has compared the track to a roller-coaster ride. Tilke, by comparison, spoke of "quite a few turns."

"There is a very long righthand turn which will be very demanding. We will see what the tyres will say. There won't be a tyre problem but there will be a very big strain on the tyres," said Tilke.

He welcomed the ongoing expansion of the sport and that F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone was doing a good job at new markets.


"India is a very big country with a lot of fans and potential. It is only logical to go to India," he said. "It is a world championship so it should take place on every continent. Europe will probably continue to be a core area but because if the sponsors it is natural that F1 goes into new markets.

"Bernie Ecclestone is very good at judging the development. You always have to go further and think ahead."

Tilke said that sooner or later Africa will be represented as well in the race calendar. South Africa has hosted F1 races in the past, but the last one dates back to 1993.

"I can't say when, that is for other people to decide," he said, "These are political decisions but it does make sense to drive there as well sooner or later, if it is possible."


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