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Indian GP moves on from 2011

2012-10-27 13:21

BACK IN 2011: Ahead of its 2011 debut on the F1 race calendar, India's Buddh circuit was described as a dusty, scrappy track; the situation is much improved in 2012.

Alan Baldwin

GREATER NOIDA, India - The dog days are over and the dust has also settled for the Indian F1 GP on its second appearance on the Formula One calendar.

The 2011 inaugural race at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) was dogged by feral hounds on the dusty track during practice and teething problems in a paddock that was far from finished.

The race weekend was a success nonetheless, with 94 000 fans turning up, and organisers are confident 2012's race weekend will consolidate their efforts.

There is more landscaping, an unfinished 'Stairway to Heaven' has now been completed and enclosed and F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone gave the event a definite thumbs-up when he arrived.

The sport's most powerful man told reporters: "Superb. Big, big improvement in everything. Fantastic."

National motorsports federation chief Vicky Chandhok, father of Indian racing driver Narun, looked a relieved man.

He told reporters: "I took Charlie Whiting, FIA race director, around the circuit for an inspection. Normally he'll do three hours of inspection but he took one lap and said 'perfect'.

"He said the run-off area is so smooth that he could play golf on it, it's that good.

"F1 Management are so pleased that they won't be surprised if once again it's (adjudged) one of the best organised grands prix in the world. It has been a huge improvement from last year (2011)," Chandhok added.


There has so far been no repeat of last year's canine interruption.

"Every single intervention post has a gate now. We learnt from mistakes. It was very well controlled by the volunteers last year. There was no panic, it did not cause any accident.

"Everything is flowing now and everyone praised the circuit. Show me one driver among the 24 who doesn't love the track," Chandhok added.

The inaugural race winner Sebastian Vettel agreed: "I loved the track layout last year, but not just because I won the race.

"With an average speed of 235 km/h, the course is the second quickest of the year after Monza. There is a lot of elevation change around the lap which adds to the fun... it's like a roller coaster," said the German, eyeing his fourth straight victory.

"It really has emerged as one of the most challenging circuits on the calendar for the drivers."

Local driver Narain Karthikeyan, who races for tail-enders HRT, was also optimistic of the race's success.

He said: "We're coming off a hugely successful race in 2011, so expectations are high and I hope on Sunday we see a big crowd, a strong one."

The HRT driver, who will be racing in his second home GP, said: "What I always say, in India there is a lot of passion for F1 and comparative to our neighbouring countries, like China, the understanding of F1 is a lot better. It's going to be a good grand prix, I hope." 


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