Tag Archives: Formula 1

#madeofgreat Narain Karthikeyan and my boss

nk

There comes a time in your life when you would say yes without looking at any rational things like how far will it hold and will this help you in your career, etc. That moment was when I was offered to join Narain Karthikeyan as his Manager way back in 2004.

Those people who noticed the Formula 1 calendar were considered a bit elitist. This was a sport which is one of super human endurance to say the least. I remember the ode by a Hindu columnist when Narain started his first race at Melbourne Australia. You get to see the bit of the eyes thorough the visor, his head nodding through the corners as if he is enjoying a song on the car at speeds that you can only imagine but cant live in reality.

But this is not about the Narain that we know once he started racing in F1 circa 2005. But well it about those traits that made him scale that peak of being the first F1 driver ever from a billion Indians, truly #madeofgreat.

There is a saying that some are born great and some make themselves great, quite a rarity that these two go together. Born in a family of noble men / dewans if you know there are no titles these days, Narain comes from a family which has a legacy of textile mills, an education conglomerate and ofcourse a champion rally driver as dad. As if these were not enough Coimbatore was also the motorsports capital of the country.

The road to the legacy or history was not an easy one. There is a saying that an overnight success is a result of years of hardwork and dedication to the goal that one is attached to.

Coming back to my learnings, there were many aspects but I will restrict it to few awesome qualities that will hold us to greatness.

Focus

There is a story in Mahabharatha. The guru Dronacharya is among his pupils, he has set a target for his wards in archery. So he asks everyone to take an aim. One by one the students take aim and when Drona asks them what do they see, he gets different answers, like there is a tree, there is a branch, there is a parrot and it is green in colour and the like. It was the turn of Arjuna, when asked what did he see, he answered ‘Gruruji, the eyes of the parrot.’

That was knowing what you are upto, being precise and I have seen this focus on mission mode in Narain, the lifetime ambition burning bright, to be in Formula 1. I saw it clear and loud, whenever someone asked him what is he upto. Probably no one had an iota of belief that it would be possible at some time in the distant future. He knew he wanted to be there and as specific as to be in the Formula 1 where his role models Ayrton Senna and Micheal Schumacher raced. The best part he was happy to be racing alongside Micheal Schumacher that year when he made the debut. The icing was Schumi was in his rear view mirror when Narain made the best of the rain hit qualifying and well if you know Narain was always a master racer in the rain. No rain could stop Narain!

Self Confidence

Quite often in life, its with the measure of what others say that we decide our lives, not with what we are or what we could be. I learnt this lesson straight from him. Well there is a a borderline difference about self confidence and over confidence though. It more about not letting others let influence you on your path of success. If you were to be led by others in the country then I am sure we would not have had the first F1 driver in India. You know what you are doing and that’s the most important part of your life. Be very clear on that and well you are confidence personified. The best part is that you cannot put on confidence, and that will show badly. So every time when people almost wrote off he would bounce back with a show of best results to be on podium in the racing series he was on. Never allow any one to affect your self confidence. It has to be intact and it has to be boosted with every step that gets you back.

And when you are confident I am sure the world will conspire to get it done and make it happen. It was the confidence in Narain that saw him go through all the years of hardwork from testing with Jaguar, Honda and Minardi and landing up at Midland F1. It was quite a long way literally if you know he tested for Jaguar in 2001 its so long ago in F1 terms.

Excellence

Excellence is never an accident and it holds true to the way Narain made it happen. You know you need to be the best in the trade you are at. If you yearned to be a racer you got be racing at the pinnacle of motorsport F1. Nothing less would do. And its an art of fine tuning oneself to reach the goal. Its nearly impossible for Bolt to do what he does on the Olympic arena coming out of bed. It was all hard work and sheer tenacity that holds you there. So too was Narain’s path loaded with hard work and keeping him fit and not losing sight of what he wants to do and where he wants to go. One of those things that surely will #makeyougreat.

Perseverance

As you might be aware this sport of F1 is exacting one when it comes to physical fitness. And I have seen him in action when he had his own national racing teams his affinity to physical fitness was there for all to see. You need to be at the gym / workout everyday. You can skip a day or take time off. Your dream or vision needs to be like that. You know if there is a drop the average of your performance take a hit so much so that you need to work twice that effort to make it average your result.

Never let it go, I have never seen him miss his gym session and when people ask me why is he not stopping from racing some series or other, it helps you be in the thick or thin, except the format is different but you need to be fit in the rightest way if I may put it. Keep doing it till we achieve the result, making it worthwhile.

Humility

There is a saying that the moment you think you are humble it gone for a six, well the last part going for six is my contribution, its gone thats it. Be humble at all times I don’t have to narrate any incident because he is one, whatever the achievement, it was like that equilibrium of that lotus leaves that waves cannot override.

I know I can write on many of the traits of Narain say charity and the like, but these have had me in good stead and helped me overcome my personal challenges quite often. That everlasting impact is what I have been able to pass it on to those who I have come in contact, so the life becomes better for the future.

It been a nice way of looking back and thanks so much to this hashtag #madeofgreat. Do check out more here http://madeofgreat.tatamotors.com/

I leave you with this video too!

Senthilkumar

PS: its no sheer coincidence that TATA Motors was his principal sponsor that day when he made over 1.2 billion Indians proud, probably only TATA Motors could identify someone #madeofgreat.

My reply to Firstpost.com article on Narain!

Here’s my answer to the article titled So Narain, why are you in Formula One?

Dear Ashish,

I couldn’t stop myself from replying to this, most of the readers have already made their views felt. I am sorry I dont know how much you know F1 or for that matter, the financials and how it all works.

If you know how Narain performed on the A1 GP or even the F3 alongside Button, you would have stopped yourself from continuing to trash.

Yes the 107% rule did forbid the team from participating, but you have to know the reasons behind this. The teams at the top for want of running a few seconds faster on a lap spend almost 10 x the money this lower rung teams spend. They get the best of the R&D to support them while these lower rung teams help the wannabe drivers to test and help themselves establish.

Unfortunately there are only 24 drivers today and to be a part of that it makes it absolutely a great achievement. Look at the grid before you write, 6 champions and a whole lot of veterans and then you got to look at the teams. By your logic teams like Williams and even Renault would have to hang up their boots and look for alternatives.

Sportsmen go through some ups and downs but just because you have been out of a race you dont need to take a stand like this.

I dont understand your logic with respect to Pedro de La Rosa, why do you think Narain is inferior to Pedro? Narain hasnt had the luxury of even having 2 full season under his belt. You would not have known why he had to drop put last time? or he had a chance to drive a Minardi long time back.

Or take the case of Adrian Sutil, where is he now after so long a stint with the Force India now Sahara Force India, chances are Narain could have done a better job, its all in the long drives that you do.

And for all those asking why Narain couldn’t make it better than his team mate, let me tell you probably he is/was only one of the driver who had to drive, do the sponsorship bit and do everything on his own unlike the counterparts he has had in other countries. And sometimes even have to read such articles.

The paddock knows Narain for his drive albeit a wild driver with instincts that are fully of those a race driver. But see how Jenson Button was an unsung hero for over 150 GP starts and now he is celebrated. I am sure none of the British Journos would have derided Button after say just one full season and a part season after long.

The most laughable part you have mentioned is about the advertisement. Unfortunately drivers of the low rung teams dont have the luxury of pocketing the money. Especially when we should raise 5 crore to a million in Indian Rupees, while its just a million for others in the world and it helps if you are in Europe to do a Euro transaction.

Nobody has ever told him he is Micheal Schumacher that is a ROFL statement you have made to make you unworthy of what you are writing. Comparing Schumi’ years of experience and just a season needs some humorous instinct.

As for the tag line, the fastest Indian in the world, it was given by the British Press and I still think no one has taken it away from him at least as of now. If there are people who shall do it then of course he can claim that title to be his but that doesn’t change the facts.

Wrong comparisons does more damage than really making critical insights, please back up with what you are writing. Its easy to key in because you hold a view but also be sure that if its held to a mirror you should be able to stand to it.

It is also a matter of jumping the gun, especially in F1 the cars are never equal and the treatment too is never equal even within a team. WIth such a background it would have made better if you had called for Narain in Sahara Force India than this since its Kingfisher’s advertising expense which runs the team in a way.

And if you think you can win races with HRT then I can see you comparing Maruti 800 and a Honda Civic. Only parameter Maruti wins is the price.

My last request to FP please refrain from these style of reporting or ideations, it does no one any good.

The return of Narain Karthikeyan!

That was a very pleasantly surprising news, when HRT announced the lineup with Pedro De La Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan for the year 2012. I am not going into the specifics of sponsorships especially when even the last year HRT ran with TATA as the main sponsor. A season aborted last year and making a historic appearance during the Indian GP, I remember his exact lines.

Driving in front of the home crowd cheering [me] on is going to be a surreal experience, a once in a lifetime experience and I feel extremely fortunate.

That he could make it irrespective of the competition so hard speaks volume about the confidence in the way he can pull it off. I am not talking about the monetary part, I have had the opportunity to see him at close quarters and let me admit that he has this confidence of pulling it off when people almost have written him off.

I remember even the first season, it was a great debut going by what he has been through, and sponsorship issues which stopped him from racing with the erstwhile Minardi for a couple of races in 2004. It was always his optimistic outlook which saw him in good stead even when the critics wrote him off and that included some of the reporters who were reporting F1 for the first time.

His presence augurs well for F1 in India and most importantly the Indian GP. This will also boost the fortunes of the young drivers especially the likes of Armaan Ebrahim and Aditya Patel and others. Karun ofcourse will be a reserve driver.

In his Q&A on the sidelines of the HRT announcement Narain says F1 is a continued dream…

For me, Formula 1 is a continued dream, it is always ultra-competitive and competing at the pinnacle of the sport is what I love. So I am very happy to have the opportunity to continue living my dream and I have every intention to make the best out of it.

As for the sponsors they will be able to leverage the last year one off sponsorships to a more sustainable year long affair. I am happy to see an Indian on the track who is a cynosure of all eyes in the paddock. In one of my conversations with a F1 driver, he saw Narain as a natural & gifted driver and lets not forget what his team mate at Carlin Motorsports the present day Mc Laren driver Jenson Button had to say. He was in praise of him infact he had beaten Jenson in British F3.

Talking about Carlin Motorsports, I am reminded how close Trevor Carlin was to owning an F1 team and that would have changed Narain’s career in F1 and also the Indian connection would have had far reaching effects. Having said that, lets resign to the fact like what Narain said all’s well that ends well.

With India solidly a part of the F1 calendar we can only hope for the best to happen and wish it had happened a little earlier it would have been far better and more robust Narain with better experience and far better team to contend with.

Lets hope for some real stellar drive from the fastest Indian! This season gives another opportunity for the Indian F1 fan to root for another car apart from the Sahara Force India F1 team.

Now the most important thing which made me blog this post was this part of the Q & A:

Q: How would you define yourself as a driver?

NK: One thing’s for sure – I never give up. I’m here, against all odds and expectations, which wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. I have worked incredibly hard, I believe in my ability and know that I am as quick as anyone else out there.

Here’s wishing him all the best and salutation to his never say die attitude which  has got him back to where he rightfully belongs.

R Senthilkumar

Welcome 2012! Will it be Red Bull’s run this time too?

(Thats Me with Daniel Ricciardio at RBR Speed Street in Delhi!)

I am keeping a promise that I made to myself and this is a beginning of writing about the F1 Teams and the drivers regularly. This year the F1 circus is going to be really huge and we can start imagining that there will be a real contest on the cards. Unless of course that the guys at McLaren and Ferrari don’t take themselves seriously.

The way the seats got filled so early is a good pointer, there are at least a couple of seats undecided as I write this, nevertheless its a heave of sigh for quite a young set of people and of course quite an old set of people – read Pedro La Rosa it is now a settled affair.

The most important point here would be that its is becoming a sort of champions round akin to what we have in our National Racing Championship. All the champions are there when you have Kimi also joining in, it will be fun to watch. I am only sad that Adrian has not been confirmed yet and would be forced to comment if they came together at a corner or if any of them were to be racing together at some point in a race. I wish Webber and Massa also had a chance to be champions so almost half of the grid would be champions.

Now lets see how they stack up, Red Bull  remains the same team, and we should only be looking at their style and they can be a great team in the making, I am talking long term. If one team which has the potential to be a threat to Ferrari fan base in the long run without being in the motorsports business, trust me it could be only Red Bull. Not because I was the official blogger, but you should know the branding that Red Bull is capable of and how they were on top in both the forms of racing today – the circuit and the forests, I mean the racing and the rallying they have been there. They are building a loyal fan base, if you have doubt check out their Facebook page with 25 million likes and almost a million people talking about it.

Just check out this article which underlined how Red Bull has now really become the content and media in a way that they are doing a great job of most importantly selling the energy drink. I have been associated with the brand up close, and some of the branding association and the branding on ground is pretty close to the energy drink literally. Take the case of the Red Bull Racing Cans, the students get to make cars out of Red Bull cans and get to do a race like event with trials, qualifying and the race. For the first time when I watched, I didnt know they had a final with all the cars on the grid! In a way as one participant pointed out you had to control the remote very well and aerodynamics can wait, still it was fun to see the cars going all over and you know how they get stuck in a corner and et all. And there are appeals to the Marshals and Chief stewards after the results are announced.

Then the best one happened when I was with Team Red Bull Racing at Khardung La, running an F1 car at 18,380 feet above MSL to be precise is not everyone’s idea of owning an F1 team. Here’s how they make themselves heard and they are loud about that when they do it.

To top it all they had their Kart Fight this season in India. Its a nice way to be there, and I know for sure what they are capable of, setting the trend as they did a few weeks before the Inaugural GP blazing the road at the India Gate.

Once Yohann Setna in a conversation long ago had said, ‘You wont be surprised if you can see Red Bull on anything that moves, motorsports in particular, and most important they have only one product!’

If you can add up all these, they are slowly building up the momentum to be the franchise that everyone would want to associate with. And you can easily do it with so much of action on the ground and off the ground, at the races, rallies and even in the Himalayas!

On the other hand they have a formidable Young Drivers Program, and that’s getting really into the mode. Daniel Ricciardio who will drive for STR is a Red Bull prodigy in their terminology. You get to be the best under Red Bull.

Now back to the teams, Mc Laren and Ferrari  have so much at stake atleast start pretneding to be guys, and make a match, while 2011 was boring except a couple of races, we need to see some down to the last race happening this year in 2012. Would be interesting to see someone fail me in that aspect.

Button will continue in his form and Lewis will try a resurrection from the bad times he has had on track and his personal life. Fernando and Massa will be watched eagerly by all the F1 fans and that eventually means Ferrari fans at large.

Then there is Mercedes, with Schumi and Nico they are trying hard and probably they were the ones who tried hard last year. Lotus Renault, we can call them with full honours with the other Renault becoming Caterham, will love to see them challenge the guys on top. Will wait to see  how Kimi a part owner too, will play his part and make it happen, we are for sure in for some real fast entertainment. The Iceman is back as an owner/driver at Lotus Renault.

Down the order we have, Force India – Sahara Force India to be honest, only wondering if the Kingfisher’s problem should not rub off on to the team, its been an excellent progress to date for the team. Though I would have loved this team to have an Indian driver in Narain or Karun, I am sceptical of Mallya approving my idea. On that front, I think the erstwhile Lotus Renault did make us look bad when they didnt put Karun in for Indian race giving Mallya a big boost for his idea of Indian drivers not being upto the mark.

Then there is Williams, where are the glorious days Mr. SFW? But I have the highest regards for such an independent team on the grid, lets hope they get some pace and make themselves heard.

Sauber, our Amul’s Brand car if I may call it and then HRT, STR and Marussia to complete the list.

Personally sad to see Sir Richard Branson leave, he is my entrepreneurial hero away from the tech world.

Will write about the teams and the drivers in details in the posts to come.

Till then signing off!

R Senthilkumar

(Indian F1 fan)

Sporting Moments – F1 Indian Inaugural GP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first Indian Grand Prix had so much in stake for itself. The advertisement or the bad PR of Common Wealth has not been erased from the memory of the public. As the preparations were going on at a racy speed came the Supreme Court order that they move  25% of the ticket sales to a separate bank account till they decided if the sporting event needed a tax cut.

Cut to the party after the successful hosting of the Indian Grand Prix which was attended by the most venerated person Sachin Tendulkar, in a country where Cricket is a religion and God decided to witness the race, it was only fitting that he waived the chequered flag.

One of the most interesting takeaways of this whole exercise is that it has been able to showcase India as a wonderful tourist destination. !ncredible India was bang on as one driver after another went gaga about the Taj, the roads, the food, the pretty Indian women and ofcourse the rickshaw or the tuk-tuk.  Sebastian Vettel has vowed to learn the most important words in Hindi so that he would be able to impress a few charming godess as he put it the next time he is in Delhi.

It opened vistas for a lot of event management people albeit only for the month still it did give rise to hope for better days in the near future. The people who had sold their land in the meanwhile had made a killing and are living a luxurious life thanks to this F1 venture of Jaypee.

The success had its effect and it was not without reason. It was a show case par excellence in terms of private party holding an event of this magnitude. For all of us having to tend to disagree with what government working can be like this event with such mass gathering of over 1 lakh plus apart from the volunteers and the men working around the clock to ensure a great event was like raising hope over something’s that we normally don’t take for granted.

It also underlined that the public private partnerships, thought the government was  not directly involved, can work wonders for the sports. With the unveiling of the track we have already seen Mercedes open a training academy that’s the first here and third after Germany and China. So it would only spur the motorsports fraternity to test waters and make it a global hub.

It was also nice to see two support races in MRF Championship and JK Tyre Asia Series where all the future racers gave a shot to their dreams not withstanding the machinery they had was not that great, but the spirit was there for all to see. The next year the machine will be all the more bigger and better.

It has also opened up the newly christened iSeries on the lines of the IPL, which has already got enough of media attention and has lined up more almost all the franchise as I write this, the reason is very clear – the series has two of its races at Buddh International Circuit.

Also be rest assured that there will be a lot of Karting races happening and you can actually scout for some new venues which will come up in the days to come since that is the basic breeding ground for kids to enter racing early in their life. Force India already ran a One in a Billion in 7 cities and now Red Bull is doing a Kart Fight in 4 cities.

On a large level the economic benefits of this is yet to be realized to its full potential, while the racing weekend can rake in a lot of tourist and makes for a good tourist festival, the motorsports as an industry will only thrive with so many brand getting into the sponsorship arena.

Take the case of Amul, which partnered Sauber for a one off race sponsorship, gives ample scope for the brands to think global starting with such associations. The other brands like Vodafone and Renault already having tasted the success of being a part of F1 circus will increase their spend to better it the next time. But if you ask me the one brand which walked laughing all the way to the branding bank was Airtel. It made a kill with a branding by being the presenting  sponsor – Airtel Indian grand Prix and the rest was history. And I like it when you have two of the most competitive brands in Airtel and Vodafone vying for your  mindspace.

So the race has already got cracking with the calendar for next year. With such economic benefits the brands will only be ready not to miss the ship this time.

Airtel Indian Grand Prix made history…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Red Bull Speed Street all set to go!!!

The sound of an F1 car is sound of music to an F1 fan. And if it happens to be his favorite team Red Bull the fan will be already on wings literally! Get ready to enjoy the roar of an F1 engine and get set to witness the spectacle of speed on one of the iconic and famous streets in India, the Rajpath.

The inaugural Indian GP will be a great tribute to the Indian motorsports fraternity and is a reflection of India’s preparedness to make itself heard on the world stage. This will no doubt usher in an era of development in various sectors which are directly or indirectly associated with the sport. The already popular sport will rope in more fans than ever before. Probably the right time with half of our country’s population under 30!

So as we prepare to hear lot of engines revving & roaring, see smoking tyres, and burnt rubber, its Delhi’s turn to entertain the F1 fans. Red Bull Speed Street is an event by RedBull, organized under the aegis of FICCI and the Ministry of Tourism – !ncredible India. The background setting is the classical and historic India Gate and stretching all the way on Rajpath. Just the thought of the car speeding is enough to raise the adrenaline!

The car will be driven by the current HRT F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo, who is a part of Red Bull driver Development Programme, and he is all set to entertain Delhiites with his machine!

As I write this the Red Bull Racing team had already landed in New Delhi and had a taste of Indian Architecture and a bit of history when they visited Red Fort today afternoon – a little time off awaiting the arrival of the some critical equipment! The Team was in its elements, thoroughly enjoying every moment at the Fort and had great fun, a trait which they have mastered it so well that it is becoming a habit to work effortlessly and win handsomely race after race!

Some pictures of Team Red Bull at the Red Fort!

 

Meet our Driver X in RedBull driver suit, who accompanied RBR Team around the Red Fort and he did get a lot of people to pose with him and click photographs. Already he has created a lot of buzz with his visits to colleges, malls, multiplex and have people stare at him like you see in the picture and some policemen asking him if he was going to do a stunt! Catch him in your camera and send us your pics!

So here are the updates, the Red Bull Speed Street is getting hotter with the car having been brought to Delhi and being assembled tomorrow at ITC Maurya Sheraton, Chanakyapuri in the morning and will be on for a practice. Saturday will be really a great day to watch out and don’t forget to bring your friends along!

Also be informed about the Travel / Traffic advisory from Delhi Police for the successful staging of the event. Be there to make it happen. You can also see the same here.

Join us on twitter and FB and update your timeline with this hastag #RBSpeedStreet

Lets get #RBSpeedStreet trending for Saturday! What say?

Follow me on Twitter @rsenthilkumar and get live updates to the event leading to the Rajpath Red Bull Speed Street!

And these updates will continue to the race weekend of our inaugural Indian GP during the last week of October!

R Senthilkumar (Indian F1 fan)

The Indian GP is finally here!

It’s been a long time since I blogged especially in the event of the official announcement of the Indian Grand Prix. Its Airtel which has bagged official rights to be the Presenting sponsor, there are other brands as well which will make it to the fore in the days to come. Vodafone will have its presence in the grid with McLaren Mercedes!

The ticket sales started on Saturday with two of the service providers in Bookmyshow.com and Jaypeesports.com and in a matter of hours they had sold over 10,000 tickets. A big number for Indian standards and this will only grow larger and the online tickets are set to get sold at the earliest opportunity.

While this has ushered in the required media frenzy and the much awaited factor are that of the Indian driver’s presence on the grid. Narain Karthikeyan has said he will do the first Indian GP in front of the Indian crowd, Karun was non committal and said he will be in for the date with destiny on the appointed day.

While I write this Bruno Senna has had a call to replace Heikki at Lotus which augurs well for Karun also.

The best news came today when Mercedes announced the starting of a F1 drivers Academy which is the third one of its kind outside Europe. Imagine being trained by God of the universe, Micheal Schumacher in some days at Indian Soil. This is one great step forward because it comes close on the heels of Force India F1’s Driver hunt titled One from a Billion. This shows the intensity of the brand to involved at the grass roots level of the sport in a country which is half younger than 40 years of age.

This event will usher in a lot of economic activity around the circuit and a lot of employment will be generated in events and sports management for sure. The grandeur of a formula 1 race and the high growth factor of the Indian economy will be a potent combination which can work wonders if streamlined in a proper way.

Its been a long wait for the Indian F1 fan and it looks worth the wait for the crowd what with 12 teams out there to showcase the prowess in a brand new circuit which is supposed to be extra wide at corners to encourage overtaking!
So get set for the most happening sporting extravaganza India has ever seen!

Indian F1 fan

A race to remember…the Canadian Grand Prix

For some time this Montreal race is going to be talked long after for all the reasons right from the rains to the crashes to the last lap finish by Jenson Button and ofcourse for being the longest race in f1 history in the recent past. Even before the cars arrived at Montreal, there was a lot of action off the track. While the FIA and Formula One seemed to have blinked without realizing the implications of interchanging the Indian dates with Bahrain, we at Indian were a little too happy with the grand finale being hosted here and ofcourse only problem was going to be the dew factor forget that this is not cricket.

F1 as a circus has this habit of making news even during weekdays and it remained successful in creating a lot of news with the reinstatement of Bahrain GP, while the organizers seemed to have got the financial numbers right, the teams saw red and were upset with an extra race and more so with the political atmosphere at Bahrain. Not many would have forgotten the way they packed up mid way the testing at Bahrain driving across the road sighting many a battle tank and people protesting in the streets.

Coming back to Montreal we always knew going by the weather man’s report that it would be little unpredictable, but no one actually predicted the rain the way it poured. Someone said it was monsoon raging over an hour before the scheduled start and everyone on twitter were reporting that it was not going to get any less as the time approached.

Karun actually tweeted what’s the odd that the race could start with the safety car and end with one. Well the race started with the safety car with Vettel leading a train of cars. IT was damp and ofcourse they would have to get the heat into the tyre and safety car went in at Lap 5. The things looked going fine, then in 8th lap, coming out of a corner there were a clash of McLarens, you guessed it Lewis Hamilton almost ended both their races, going into his team mate, prompting Button to ask on the radio – ‘what was he (Lewis) doing?’ Another safety car!

After that the Ferrari made rapid strides with Alonso on the fast lap and also Massa gaining places. It was the week they had looked forward to all along the season with a nice qualifying on a Saturday afternoon. They did not want to miss it and their prayers went unanswered when the heavens opened up and the drivers complained that the visibility was almost nil. Button had worked up the order too. The safety car was called and then race was red flagged after 24 laps with the cars at the grid line, Vettel leading the race and Kabuyashi was cynosure of all eyes he was behind in P2.

All the while the fans were treated to quite a few interesting pictures via the twitter, from Karun to Karthikeyan to James Allen to the press wire it was all agog with F1. Lewis was almost condemned in no uncertain terms even before the race was officially deemed over. We saw Karthikeyan having a sip of coffee in the middle of the race. Some grid girls were doing their home work from school, how cute!

Else where down in America the NASCAR was going full throttle and one Jeff was making a mark again. And ofcourse the weekend also saw LeMans 24 hours happening.

The heavens didn’t relent for almost for almost two hours, prompting someone to say if they had planned a soccer match they would have had both the first half and second half over by then. People were waiting, the reporters had missed the deadline, the European fans were getting late for their bed. Meanwhile the cars had been fitted with full wet tyres as ordered by Race Control and safety car again led the train of the cars.

Then when the race began it was Schumacher rising like a phoenix only to be overtaken in the next few laps, it almost had sparks of a Mercedes renaissance a short-lived one though with DRS helping Webber. Alonso retired and a few laps later Massa after having contact with Narain also retired making it a forgettable weekend for Ferrari. In all this Button was going fast and with just few laps to go there was a safety car necessitate by the Heidfeld – Kobayashi contact. Now Button was going all over the cars in front of him and the car responded the way he wanted. Button overtook Schumi, then Webber and was gaining almost over a second and it was the last lap even before he could finish it the fans were pretty sure he had it in his bag, and it happened exactly.

Button had won and what a special win this one was taking it in the last lap of an incident filled race. It was worth the wait for all those fans in front of the TV sets and at the race. It was a moment which was a big advertisement for F1 because the races were getting monotonous and yes there is this human factor when it mattered the most for Button also for Vettel who erred a little and what a big difference it made. Well if you thought to err is human then it is Championship stuff to force it.

In the process, RedBull finished P2 and P3. Webber was happy and Schumacher was just off and was fourth. Waiting has its rewards literally, in all my watching the races for some years now this was perhaps the best one and the longest one I reckon. So there is more to come in the next few races we have a strong McLaren and a Ferrari which could make it a triangular contest, unless ofcourse Vettel takes a deep breath and finds inner peace!

R Senthilkumar Indian F1 fan :)

Fisi: Drive of the year

Well, let me admit when I wrote the last post it was with a little less expectation at the podium because we had enough reason with KERS and more so with some real big players who can play spoilsport.

As the lights went out, I was little worried since there could an incident and was fervently praying that the first car should be out of it. No wonder that as if answering my prayer the second corner was made into the most valuable parking lot with three cars in collision at the back of the grid. Safety car followed and Fisi till this time was only under attack from the Red Ferrari with Kimi at the wheel. I think Kimi has mastered the art of using the KERS to full advantage at even the first corner. He did run wide but got back to the track with no damage.

I knew that Kimi was going to overtake Fisi as soon as the Safety car is in. It was true, but Kimi was made to work for that. My heart pumping fast, should there be a Kimi – Force India gate happen once more, you would have both their races ruined. Luckily the car cruised through with the button pushed and then the best thing happened. Fisi wanted to get back the place. I thought it was foolish of him to try that hard with only the thought that he drive carefully with Kimi around.

But the race was too good to be true, with Fisi almost attacking the back of Kimi at every given opportunity and making Kimi really work hard and yes it was a hard earned victory for Kimi.

Fisi drove a flawless race from the start to the end. It was such a delight to watch him drive along. He used all his experience to the max, and led to one of the most cherishing moment for his team. An entry into the point in such a grand fashion seemed only too deserving after all the wonderful performance the whole weekend.

I liked the way we saw it, the biggest budgeted team, and the lowest budgeted team fought a fierce battle to be on top of the podium. It was a delight when they said, look who’s spending so much and who is performing.

The man has never been so popular what with his team mate stealing the show and he has been a underrated driver though not necessarily from the teams’ point of view. This should give him some breather and sure will boost up his rating for the next year.

As such the team did a fantastic job and they were celebrating and it was a deserving celebration after all those long waits to be into the points. Let me also point out that this was one team whose motto was ‘Never say die’ and it was walking, talking and racing this philosophy. Even when they have had bitter results it had always been positive and has taken those incidents in its stride. Those patient days have borne fruit today.

I think we missed the playing of Indian National Anthem just because of KERS and well lot of people here are cursing the damn thing which FF1 does not have.

The drive also proved that yesterday’s pole was not a flash in the pan. It was hard work and a little bit of luck and well hard work does show and today it did.

Here’s wishing the entire crew of Force India F1 a Big Congrats!!! and hope to see more often this trend of the team the rest of the season.