Well, the inaugural Airtel Indian GP was a run away success by any international standards. It has been in the waiting for almost three years and we were still unsure of how it was going to unfold given the niceties that we encounter with a popular government issuing diktats to the organizers everytime something big was going to happen.
Ask Narain Karthikeyan who was all smiles after his completing the full race without any hitch, it was surreal as he had quoted. It was always a ‘will this ever happen in India’ question for people like him. They had their reasons, Narain the pioneer in F1 in India broke many a shackles when he became the first F1 driver in 2005 with Jordan F1. It was a result of his commitment, unwavering confidence that led him to his seat, not to miss the sponsors who saw the potential in his abilities.
Things had changed fast after that, the Indian GP dream was unfolding and it was almost three years of waiting for the calendar to be finalized and what we saw when it was unveiled was really the best of infrastructure and a track the country could be proud of. It was a great moment for us when the country stood for the National Anthem before the race started.
It was also a great moment when we saw Narain Karthikeyan race for HRT though it was one off race. The car had Hero (Hero Motocorp) written on the rear wing, and Narain was the Hero in fact of this show. Karun who was also expected to race had a disappointment at the last moment and it was really tough for the Indian fans to miss another Indian on the grid. F1 has been a business driven sport and it can hand harsh and stricter business decisions like this one.
Micheal Schumacher and Narain won the crowd as one commentator said Vettel too deserved the applause and the standing that Schumacher and Narain rightly deserved.
So the Friday we could see that the place was dusty and the rack was dirty when the first MRF Championship support race started, Hormadz Sorabjee tweeted saying its so dirty and the cars are all over the track.
So this being a new track and like someone in my stand said, this has been a [addy field so you are bound to see lot of dust.
The big moment was the first practice and literally a dog had its day when it forced a red flag. Welcome to Indian GP and the first red flag was due to a stray dog on the track and it took almost five minutes to actually drive it off the track.
As the laughter subsided there were talks about how even Turkey had its dog moment. But in Indian context this was not a big deal if you ask me. Its not uncommon that we find animals in the roads on a lighter note.
The drivers said the same thing, its like very tough and very dirty and you had to take the racing line and you miss it the track will punish you for that. But over all they had praise for the track and new challenge for them and it was a proud moment for the Jaypee Group and thye had definitely put India on the world sporting map. Some lessons for the govt how a private enterprise can pull off such a big event given the much needed logistic support. You will fail if you don’t praise the road leading to the track I am sure the people who drove would have touched easily the max on their car without any problem, this road Yamuna Expressway was a track for the driver in you. The road signs had the people drive in perfectly to the destination.
Ofcourse the final day and the second day the traffic woes did remain a matter of concern since all roads were leading to the track. These are early days and the organisers will ofcourse look into the issues in the long term.
As the Friday practice concluded there was a big sigh of relief for everything went well no hccups no untoward incidents except ofcourse a Marussia Virgin car was involved in a crash when the rear suspension gave way.
The Qualifying was a good one with Red Bull team making it known that they were very much in the business after having collected both the trophies for themselves, the drivers and constructors championship. On the other hand the race for the second place in driver’s championship was going to be really competitive with Webber, Button and Alonso and Hamilton in the fray.
In the end Red Bull making it to the pole was sweetest moment for me as a Red Bull Official Blogger and ofcourse we did see the P1 stance from Sebastian Vettel. It is ofcourse a bit boring since nobody is challenging that anyways, still I did predict this quite long back. It was a matter of fact that the track would easily help the reigning champions.
As we would close the day, the Indian star Narain Karthikeyan would have a bit of disappointment when he was penalized for blocking Schumacher on his flying lap, Narain commented ‘there is just a single racing line, how will we give in?’ it didn’t earn him anything better and the race day he started last.
It was an anticlimax again when he started last from the grid. But on the drivers parade he led form the front and the crowd were all smiles and were cheering him as he strode gallantly in a classic vintage and the other drivers followed suit. It was great to see them in nice vintage cars. The loudest of cheers was reserved for guess who, Micheal Schumacher. I would love to put on record we grew up with F1 knowing his exploits on track and F1 for quite some time was Micheal Schumacher and now turning to be Sebastian Vettel, the common factor that they share being German nationals.
The race was a great starter akin in a dinner course, but it was going to be expected result when Sebastian Vettel went on to make the historic win for the inaugural Indian GP. It’s going to be in the history book of motorsports for ever. That’s what every driver looks to do and Sebastian was perfect that weekend. Narain finished 17th in what he could term as the historic moment for Indian motorsports in front of a home crowd and in front of his family to be precise. All his family had come to watch him race in India a moment we had all been waiting for.
The race winner Sebastian Vettel received the trophy from the Honourable Chief Minister Mayawati.
Absolutely perfect weekend no issues to ponder, on the track and kudos to Team Jaypee led by its CEO Sameer Kaur, and its mentor J P Kaur. The event had sealed its place for the coming years as an exciting destination for F1 circus.
All compliments are also due to the Uttar Pradesh Govt who joined Jaypee Group in making this a grand success.
Indian F1 Fan