The Formula One fraternity heads to India for the first time this week, keenly anticipating the nations first Grand Prix event. The race will be sure to boost India’s passion and image within the sport, as well as allowing people within F1 the chance to experience a new culture. The event will be particularly special for Lotus reserve driver, Karun Chandhok, whose father has been instrumental in bringing the race to India and building the track.
Although the Indian driver has only competed in one race this season, he had high hopes that he would have the chance to contest in his inaugural home Grand Prix. However, with Team Lotus’ ambitions concentrated on 10th place in the Constructors’ Championship and an eye on next years car, CEO Tony Fernandes decided to keep the driver line-up unchanged. “I am sure there will be fans in India who want to see Karun race for us on Sunday we had to make the best decision for the future of the team,” he said. Although Chandhok will be disappointed to miss out on a race seat he will still have the opportunity to soak up the excitement of the new track during FP1 on Friday.
The first Indian Grand Prix is the result of a growing economy and determination from the nations’ Government, public and Formula One itself. Since the arrival of Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok the fan base in the country has grown rapidly. The induction of Force India in 2008 has also added much more interest to the sport, and their recent partnership with the Sahara Group, which saw the Indian conglomerate buy 42.5% of shares in the team for around $100 million, illustrated India’s enthusiasm for Formula One.
The north India circuit may seem a world away from the regular European races, but as Formula One heads into unchartered territory this weekend, they can be sure that their hosts will put on an event to remember.