India Shines as F1 Host
A festive atmosphere prevailed at India’s new Buddh International Circuit for the inaugural Formula One race held there on Sunday. Drivers were lavish in in their praise for the smooth and fast new course, and random interviews among the crowd confirmed the day to be a total success. With a crowd of more than 90,000 spectators giving the track their undivided attention, Sebastian Vettel of Team Red Bull took the checkered flag – once again. As his 11th win of the 2011 Formula One season, his 35th podium finish and 21st career Formula One win, it seems that nothing can stop the celebrated German driver as he claimed all the first of the day – pole position, fastest lap, lap leader and first place.
With the Buddh International Circuit meeting the stringent requirements set out by the FIS, offering world-class facilities for competitors and spectators, organizers, Jaypee Group, are looking to the future and promoting auto racing as a sport in India. They will also be looking at other options to monetize the new sports venue. One of the options in the pipeline for the Buddh International Circuit is a Mercedes-sponsored academy to train potential F1 drivers. Mercedes will also be considering co-hosting auto racing events on a revenue-sharing basis with Jaypee Sports. Mercedes completed the Indian Grand Prix in fifth and sixth places, expressing their satisfaction with the result. Michael Schumacher moved from eleventh on the grid to finish one spot ahead of his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, who had started the rate from seventh on the grid.
Jaypee also hopes to attract the wealthy class in India, many of whom have more than a passing interest in sports cars, by offering special memberships at the Buddh International Circuit. Auto racing fans who become members of this exclusive club will have secure parking at the track for their racing cars. Riding high on the success of the inaugural Formula One race, the organizers plan to recoup their costs of building the circuit, and break even within three years.
Race winner, Sebastian Vettel, made no secret of the fact that he was very impressed with India, not only as hosts of the prestigious race, but as a country and a nation, noting that he found the time he spent in the country to be inspiring. Judging from the success of the event, India is likely to be a permanent fixture on future Formula One Championship calendars.